Dunes Among Diversity The tallest dunes in North America are the centerpiece in a diverse landscape of grasslands, wetlands, conifer and aspen forests, alpine lakes, and tundra. Experience this diversity through hiking, sand sledding, splashing in Medano Creek, wildlife watching, and more!

hiking
10 days ago

11 days ago

backpacking
16 days ago

Awesome hike up to the lake. I recommend camping below or near the lake then summit the following morning and you're nearly guaranteed to be the first one to the peak in the morning. Avoid summiting between 11am and 2pm as weather moves in fast and there are few places to hide above the saddle. You will get struck by lightning if you're up there in a storm. I personally got snowed on on July 4th. So either summit in the morning and be heading down around 10 am or wait till afternoon storms pass. Easy hike up to the switchbacks. Once up the saddle you have to navigate a couple thousand feet up a rock field. Make sure to stay to the right when ascending even though left looks to be the best way. While ascending you will think your almost there but no. Once you reach the false peak it's another 300 yards maybe. Bring a pencil to sign the geocache. Enjoy the view. Don't feed the marmot.

backpacking
19 days ago

Just got back today from an overnight camp trip. Great weather beautiful hike. Fish were every where could not catch one to save our butts. Recommend this hike to any one for a day and or a couple nights camping!

Mountain and lake views, beautiful area, hike was well worth it. Camping spots are limited and found the perfect spot, the site could hold 3 - 5 tents. The 27 Aug recorded track is the location of the campsite.

camping
29 days ago

"I love to sit on a mountain top and gaze. I don't think of anything but the people I care about and the view" - Julian Lennon

hiking
1 month ago

Because I didn't find much online about this trail, I wanted to write a thorough review. We completed this hike on August 6, which took us about 5 hours to do the whole hike (including two 20-min breaks). The trailhead is a half mile off of the Medano Pass 4-wheel drive road, and about a 2-hour drive from the Sand Dunes. When researching this hike, I found conflicting mileage and elevation gain stats. The sign at the trailhead says this hike is 4 miles one way, and my Fitbit said it was 1,963 elevation gain, which jived with the trailhead sign. The Rio Grande National Forest site lists this trail as medium usage, but it is very lightly used. The small parking lot only fits about 3-5 cars, and we only saw 7 people on the whole hike.
The first third of the hike is easy, and the last 1-1 1/2 miles are steep. The trail goes through a dense pine and aspen forest with a few clearings along the way. Many fallen trees are littered on the trail towards the beginning, so they make for lots of obstacles to step over. There are 5 official stream crossings that aren't bad with log bridges or fallen trees or rocks to cross over.
We got caught in two short hail storms on the way up, only lasting for a few minutes at a time. Lots of wildflowers, including a few beautiful fields of them. Very green, muddy, and wet, which was indicative of the recent very wet weather.
A good campsite in the trees is about a half mile or less before the lake with a good creek nearby for water filtering. A few backpackers that we saw had stayed at the campsite and said it was nice.
The lake was beautiful although the clouds and weather were pretty socked in, so we didn't get to see all the scenery. There aren't very many trees at the lake, and the ones that are there are very short and wind-blown. It started spitting rain on us at the lake, and we were caught in a big rain and thunder storm for about two thirds of our hike down. That was a bit scary, so we ran a good portion of the trail down and were completely soaked in our raincoats and ponchos. We can't imagine what happened to the couple we saw heading up to the lake after us; they had no gear or water! Our 6-year old did awesome, and this was the hardest hike he's done now.

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Got stuck in a hail storm all the way down, but the views are totally worth it.

backpacking
2 months ago

This area is everything we had hoped for! Beautiful scenery, wildlife, fishing. The hike wasn't too bad, beginning at the trailhead makes a big difference. Walking up the FS road would have taken a lot more time and energy. Saw a few other hikers but only one group camping near us. Great trip, we'll be back again! S Reeves, Paris TX

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

backpacking
2 months ago

Did this hike in late June. We were nervous about the snowpack around 11,000ft but there was hardly anything, just a few patche on the mountains surrounding the lake. Only few fishermen on the lake, otherwise we were alone. Trail starts pretty steep up onto Music Pass, then drops about 500ft into the valley. From there you can either head to Lower Sand Lake or continue on 1.7 miles to the upper lake. Had to cross sand creek twice but nothing to difficult and there are a ton of switchbacks, so the hike doesn't feel that rough, definitely a workout though. Would absolutely do it again, highly recommended.

hiking
2 months ago