Explore the most popular trail running 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.

hiking
27 days 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
1 month 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.

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!

Great trail! Some snow coverage but good traction.

hiking
5 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.

A short and easy loop mostly through the pretty hillside trees. There are a few nice views of the ridges above on the way up and out, as well as the dune field in the distance on the way back down. Definitely combine this with the Wellington Ditch Trail if possible for even better views of the amazing surrounding area.

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
7 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

hiking
7 months ago

Great hike

hiking
7 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.

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
9 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) !!

Took the 4WD road to the Sand Ramp trailhead, parked, backpacked to Little Medano backcountry campsite (0.7 miles, uphill, in the sand). There is a drought, so Little Medano Creek was dry, which was a shame; we ended up going back to the road and carrying water back. We set up camp and then hiked just past Aspen and back with lighter gear. As others mentioned, there seems to be a lot of unnecessary winding, but the views are beautiful. I'm surprised people rate this trail so low, but maybe it's the time of year that you go? We had a great overnight, and then packed up and hiked the dunes on Day 2.

hiking
9 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!

nice place...... wear shoes if you plan to hike the dunes..... the sand is hot........gets super packed in summer.

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.

on Mosca Pass Trail

hiking
10 months ago

A lovely, peaceful trail with great views of the sand dunes.

hiking
10 months ago

Very scenic trail. Several steep sections.

hiking
10 months ago

I absolutely loved this trail. It was beautiful! It took me, an asthmatic from Florida, just under 2 1/2 hours to get to the end (from the Great Sand Dunes NP). Frankly, I felt like the journey was far better than the destination.

If you're starting from the dune side, it's nearly entirely uphill. It is beside a creek (Mosca Creek, of course) the entire time--you always hear it. There are many places along the trail that allow you to get water from it (the best/safest spot is close to the end). The middle part (the most beautiful) is quite rocky, but easy to hike. There are beautiful meadows towards the end where you can camp with a permit. There are two flowing creek crossings without a bridge (and one with), but they're very shallow. The one nearest to the end is quite muddy.

There are opportunities for panoramas and photos at every turn. Expect to see people on the trail as the park is quite busy this time of the year. But this hike is simply worth it!

hiking
10 months ago

The trail starts off very wide and this section of the trail is heavily trafficked. About a half of a mile in you reach Zapata Falls, the trail to the lake breaks off to the right. From here on the trail is much narrower and less traveled, think any normal hiking trail. There are several hills but overall it is a moderate hike. There is snow near Zapata Lake. Pack snowshoes or plan to scramble for ~1/2 miles to reach the lake.

This hike is one of my all time favorites. zapata falls is gorgeous but you might get a little wet getting there. after the falls there is about a mile or so of pretty easy hiking and then it gets pretty difficult. there are several streams to cross and some steeper climbs but the lake was well worth it.

hiking
10 months ago

Great trail offering a lot of variety offering wooded areas, rocky trails and meadows. Beautiful views along the way. The trail followed a creek the whole way. Completed the hike in four hours which included a stop for lunch and then stop for a foot soaking in the creek. Great hike. Would do it again.

hiking
11 months ago

This is a harder hike than lead on to believe. Pack lots of water, snacks, and layers.

hiking
11 months ago

Beautiful Trail into the Mountains offering views of the dunes and some spectacular mountain meadows.

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