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
12 days 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
15 days ago

hiking
26 days ago

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

backpacking
29 days 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
1 month ago

backpacking
1 month 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
1 month ago

hiking
2 months ago

My very first fourteener! We hiked up the gorge which was extremely hard and came down the ridge. We needed up getting lost because of snow patches but it was totally worth it. Stunning views front the top! Very beautiful

backpacking
2 months ago

Climbed this peak in summer of 2010. Anticlimactic peak following great views of the Crestones. Be sure to take water!!!

on Humboldt Peak Trail

11 months ago

11 months ago

Friday, August 19, 2016