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The tallest dunes in North America are up to 750 feet tall and neighbor grasslands, shrublands and wetlands. They were formed by sand deposits of the Rio Grande on the San Luis Valley, and the park also has alpine lakes, six 13,000-foot mountains, and ancient forests.

hiking
3 days ago

I didn't finish this hike all the way to the top of High Dune as we'd rented sand sleds from the Oasis store down the road and decided to run them on the lower slopes, but I don't regret not making it to the top. The sand gets to 140 degrees F in August and climbing up the dunes can be absolutely brutal. The views from the top sound great, but sand dune hiking can be more mentally challenging than it's worth (IMHO) and I would highly recommend sand sledding if you want a more fun experience in the dunes!

This hike is lightly trafficked and I would say slightly more challenging than moderate. It is steep most of the way, however it is very rewarding. The view of the lake and the 14ers that surround it are unbeatable. We brought our dog, he was off leash the entire time, and he did wonderful. I do recommend bringing plenty of water, maybe even a small filter and snacks. Start early, the clouds seem to always move in around noon. Enjoy this beautiful hike!

This hike is unlike anything else because you can rent a sand board or sled for $20 (at the Oasis store which you turn into from the main road before you enter the park proper) and slide down the dunes at up to 38 mph. The hike itself is strenuous only due to heat and sand. Sliding half a step backward with each step forward on the hot sand is simply discouraging; but if you keep at it, you'll be rewarded with stunning views of one of the most unique landscapes in the country.

hiking
7 days ago

Incredible view. Not as hard as I expected based on the reviews/difficulty ranking (that is not to say it isn't hard - it is. as others have said you basically take 2 steps back for every one step forward in sand. however, it's totally doable even for a novice like me. additionally, it doesn't require any sort of skill/maneuvering ). Follow the ridges and areas of packed/wet sand for an easier trip. You'll likely see the paths others took. Take as many breaks as you need. I started at 9:40AM. Very comfortable temperature wise. I wore sandals and packed socks and shoes in case the sand got too hot. I ended up going bare foot for the trip up. On my final journey down around 11:30AM/noon, the sand was getting a little too hot so I put on my sandals which sufficed. I packed 3L of water and only drank about 1L. I didn't have an issue with wind. It blew for a bit and pelted my ankles with sand, but my pants prevented any pain. I was in a tank top and my arms were fine. Highly recommend bringing a sand sled to get the most of it. Reward yourself by cooling off in the creek by the parking lot when you finish (contrary to what I was told to expect - the creek was lively today - August 11). I saw some people brought lawn chairs to sit in the creek. Nice idea.

One of the best views on this trail is at the trail head parking lot before you start. You can hear the river but seldom see it. The trail is very rocky with little to look at other than at an occasional clearing.

hiking
12 days ago

Go when it is cold out because you will still cook

hiking
19 days ago

Beautiful place. Silvia and I went on a Saturday afternoon. It was cloudy and had rained a couple of hours earlier. We went up the GSD trail and also cooled our feet on the stream at the base of the sand dunes.

hiking
19 days ago

hiking
21 days ago

hiking
21 days ago

hiking
21 days ago