Explore the most popular dogs on leash trails in Great Sand Dunes National Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Really great trail but be prepared it’s a long one because of the incline and elevation. Took us about 6-7 hours and really is more of a hard as we clocked in around 11-12 miles because we went to the falls first. It was a little snowy in the basin, but the lake is halfway melted. Beautiful hike and view just be prepared!

The first half, walking along the creek, is easy and fun. The second half, walking back on the dunes, is challenging, but so worth it. Scaling up and across steep dunes made for excellent views and was definitely something to be proud of. It was a beautiful way to get the full experience!

Lots of camping spots along the way. Saw hardly anyone

hiking
1 month ago

Just went on this trail this morning! It was a decent hike but very anticlimactic ending. We took the nature loop on our way back down, which adds hardly any milage, and that was probably the best part of the whole trail. Coolviews of the dunes on this end.

Fantastic hike!

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful spring hike! It’s a long hike to the end, but the views throughout were awesome! We saw big horn sheep and a followed the creek throughout. Afterwards we hit the dunes. Made for a great day.

Simply amazing and worth every step

Beautiful hike! If you feel up to it, continue on up to the summits of Twin Peaks. The views of Blanca, Ellingwood, and Little Bear are amazing!

Did this hike in 2013. Mostly you pave your own way up the creek and circling back over the dunes. Great experience on one of the few true dunes in U.S. We also took sleds down the dunes. It was a fun trip with my boys.

Great trail! Some snow coverage but good traction.

Great Campground! The Sand Dunes with the surrounding Mountains is Incredible!

hiking
6 months ago

We hiked the whole trail to the end and back. It led you through forests, side of the mountain and eventually to a grassland area. We went in October and choose a sunny day in the 60's to hike. It was the perfect temp! There's a old car hidden in the woods off to the right if you came from the entrance near the sand dunes. Took about 4 and a half hours with breaks and a kiddo.

During my visit in July, I started the trail from its southern end at the intersection where the Montville Nature Trail loops back to the trailhead, and near where the Mosca Pass Trail continues into the mountains. The views begin almost immediately, and are mostly unobstructed by the hillside trees. The higher perspective provides a wonderful view of the dune field, the grasslands and the surrounding Sangre De Cristo Mountains. With limited time, I wasn’t able to complete the entire trail. But it was definitely worth it for the beautiful panorama.

hiking
8 months ago

Backpacked our way to the campsite right before treeline. Made it to Zapata lake the next day. Did this early june. Snow still present

Beautiful views during the setting sun. Makes for great dynamic contrast

hiking
8 months ago

Great hike

Great Park!

hiking
8 months ago

Beautiful trail through the woods and then meadows filled with wildflowers. The trail does follow the Creek, but there are only a few easy points to drop in so the pups can drink. We saw a bear across the creek early on but he ran off and we didn't see any wildlife after that. We started the hike at 7am and got back to the TH at 10 on the dot, and then included plenty of picture stops! Didn't see anyone until we were half way back down, so early is the way to go for privacy, not to mention nice cool temps and that gorgeous golden light streaming through the trees. Perfect hike!

Steeper than I expected but worth it.

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!

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
10 months ago

Beautiful trail.... well marked & well kept. You follow Mosca creek the entire way - very peaceful. The views of the sand dunes are also marvelous. The first 3/4 mile is definitely the most difficult with the elevation gain. We saw very few other hikers. Be prepared for a plethora of mosquitos (the only reason I ranked it 4 stars - I wasn't prepared) !!

Beautiful and family-friendly campground nestled in GSDNPP. The sites vary in size and are mixed use RV/Tent. We had a couple of pop ups and one luxury bus style RV nearby during our stay and didn't have any issue with noise or the like. Camped in Loop 2 Site 81 which was very accessible to the bathrooms, had a peekaboo view of the Dunes, and a small creek running along one side, mosquitoes were light to average amount. The kids loved playing in the creek and the mule deer that would wander down every evening sipping water and looking for scraps of food. The trees provided some light shade in our site but a few sites were more exposed along the far side of the Loop. I would recommend bringing a pop up canopy if it's going to be very hot/sunny during your stay. There is a small store for essentials (ice etc). The store has a rather impressive selection given how small a space they occupy and a very friendly proprietor. Bathrooms are flush toilets and sinks. The only drawback I can think of is that there are no showers anywhere in the park *except right at the edge of the Dunes and they have signs clearly posted forbidding soap and shampoo use so if you stay more than a day or two plan to pack baby wipes or your own solar shower. The Dunes were a blast to hike/sled and rentals from the Oasis shop just outside the park was a simple process. We lucked out in that Medano Creek was still flowing thanks to a couple of storms that rolled through. The kids loved splashing in the shallow water and playing in the wet sand. There were several excellent trails varying in degrees of difficulty. This particular trail was very easy at only a mile and with minimal elevation gain. Lots of wildflowers while we were there. Gorgeous views no matter where you go in the park. Make sure you swing through the Visitor Center to take a look around and pick up Junior Ranger booklets if camping with Tiny Humans. Overall two thumbs up. Would highly recommend for a family camping experience.

hiking
10 months ago

Made the round trip with a group of Boy Scouts ranging in ages 11 to 14. Tough on the way in with the elevation gain...well worth it! Nothing but smiles upon completion. Troop 524 recommends it!

I did this trail last year in very early June and we had to park our SUV and set up camp only a mile or two from the dunes as the Medano Pass primitive road was blocked because of high water. The next morning we began hiking up the road and several miles later we found the Little Medano Creek trail to take us up to Medano Lake. Once on that trail it was very beautiful especially through the large Aspen trees. Only a few miles into the trail it began getting steep and, very unfortunately, snow became a problem. We lost the trail, much swearing ensued, the predictable noon thunderstorm was threatening, and we decided we had to turn around. It was a very long walk back to our camp. Total roundtrip distance was 18.6 miles. Too long and too much snow! Go later in the year than June!

This trail is moderately difficult with the elevation gain at an already high altitude. It provides wonderful views of the dunes and ascends into a beautiful alpine meadow setting.

hiking
10 months ago

This is a fairly easy trail between near the visitor center and the campground. Although the views if the dunes are great, it is somewhat marred by the presence of roads and buildings in between. However, the dunes are really only accessible from the eastern side so this is understandable.

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