Dunes Trail from Pinyon Flats

HARD 57 reviews

Dunes Trail from Pinyon Flats is a 4.5 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Mosca, Colorado that offers scenic views and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

4.5 miles
954 feet

dogs on leash




nature trips



From Denver, Colorado Springs, or Pueblo, the most common route is south on I-25 to Walsenburg, west on US 160, north on State Highway 150. For a more mountainous drive from Denver (same mileage as the I-25 route), you may also take US 285 south, then State Highway 17 south, then County Lane 6 east from Mosca. From Albuquerque, drive north on I-25 to Santa Fe, then north on US 285 to Alamosa. From Alamosa, take either U.S. Highway 160 east and State Highway 150 north, or State Highway 17 north and County Lane 6 east from Mosca.

2 months ago


3 months ago

Awesome park!

6 months ago

Went on a windy, cloudy morning before a thunderstorm and it was a magical experience. Definitely follow the ridges where the sand is more firm. The wind was blowing the sand around, making beautiful eddies but blasting our legs. Wear pants on a windy day (easy to say when it was cloudy) and stay on the windward side of the ridges.

Tips aside, one of the coolest things I’ve ever done, 100% recommend!!! The beauty was otherworldly. If you go beyond the first high dune ridge, all that you can see for miles are dunes and mountains.

Update: we went again the morning after a steady rain, and the sand was solid and cool to walk on. Perfect conditions for hiking, and the patterns that showed up were breathtaking. I walked barefoot in the dunes for hours with plenty of sunscreen and plenty of water.

6 months ago

Beautiful hike, and though sandy, hot, and hard, it’s so worth it! We tried sliding down in a cardboard box, but it didn’t work very well for us and we ended up just tumbling down the dune. Overall, it was a wonderful trip!

7 months ago

Definitely worth the drive and $20 entry fee. Tough hike at times to get to the top. Gorgeous when you're there - sand dunes as far as you can see. Minus the temp, I felt like I could be in the Sahara.

Did this hike at sunset as another viewer suggested, and it was stunning. Bare feet the whole way. Had my two dogs with me and I'd suggest getting booties for those bringing theirs. The paths to and from the dunes were lined with small cactus. Also, even if the sand isn't hot, I suspect running on this was pushing their paw pads apart. Both started showing signs of paw irritation and ended up putting them on - they went from 0 to 100 real quick.

This was by far the most distinctive hike I've done. Very happy hiker here.

10 months ago

Simply amazing and worth every step

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

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

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Great Park!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

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!

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

a truly amazing view from the top!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Ooops! The review below was for High Dunes Trail!

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Amazing! Incredible! You can't comprehend how vast these Dunes are until you are actually there. Strenuous hike that took us about 2 hours round trip but well worth it, not only when you reach the top but also along the way when your in the middle of them. Definitely best to go earlier in the morning by 9:00 at the latest. This is a holiday weekend and on our way out we counted 175 cars in line to get in the park at 11:00 am!

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

One of my favorite places to hike. I've hiked along the dunes, Medano creek and in the forested areas to the East. The dunes were created due to high wind, so take that into consideration while packing your gear. This National Park is a gem and a must-visit location. Visit the interactive Ranger station and bring your camera for sunset shadows on the dunes.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

good: shallow river, giant dunes, camping, clean bathrooms.

bad: wind + sand will exfoliate you like a sand blaster , kids/elderly even worse. if you see the sand pick up in a cloud find cover fast.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

We hiked the dunes when there were 27 mph winds and it was pretty unpleasant most of the way. Once we got to the top, it was very rewarding, and it's really fun running down the dunes.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

I hiked to High Dune on December 31st. The sun came out briefly before snow flurries followed me the rest of the hike. It is truly a unique place, I uploaded pictures of the hike. I highly recommend it, great fun and stunning views.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Beautiful and always a fun day!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

We go at least once or twice a year. We love playing in the water, but I don't go unless there is water. You can check the creek conditions at the Sand Dunes web site.

we have done the junior ranger program and it can be really cool depending on who the ranger is when helping them.

If you hike to the top, like others have said, bring sunscreen, lightweight clothes, and shoes that can withstand heat and sand (no flip flops unless you plan on sitting down a lot to cool off your feet).

There is a camp ground there, but I haven't camped there since I was a kid. I remember lots of cactus-not very child friendly- maybe things have changed.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Amazing to see the sand dunes.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

We backpacked into the dunes to camp there overnight. Seeing the tent in the middle of the sand dunes illuminated only by the Moon was pretty surreal. Climbing sand dunes with packs was fairly strenuous. Don't climb straight up the dunes with a pack, but travel along zig-zag dune crests that link up the dunes. Bring plenty of water in order to have a safe and fun time.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Visited Labor Day Weekend (2014). Pretty awesome and unique. Avid hiker so hiking to top of highest dune was no problem - although for those less fit or inexperienced, it might be tough. In either case, be sure to get it done early in the morning and even then be sure to wear sun screen as exposure is 100% with no relief and bring water. AND if you have a dog, bring dog booties as sand will be hot for their paws.

Also be sure to check out the quick hike to Zapata Falls (not on the dunes).

Additional images of dunes at http://www.ohnophoto.com/royal-gorge-sand-dunes-national-park/

Friday, August 08, 2014

Very strenuous.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

My friends and I hiked for about an hour and did not make it to the top of the highest dune. It got dark on us, so we had to retreat. The place is otherworldly and I cannot wait to go back to hike more! Make sure to bring lots of water and take your time. Hiking in sand in high elevations uphill is quite tiring!

Monday, May 26, 2014

We visited the sand dunes with 70 5th graders on a field trip. We only went from parking lot to sand dunes, not a very far hike. The creek was running, the water was warm, and the kids had a great time. Definitely something to go see in CO! Probably much better to visit when the creek is running if you have kids. I hear it only runs a few weeks a year. Take bathing suits and utilize the changing rooms/outdoor showers so your pants aren't full of sand when you leave!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

My wife and I did the hike July of 2013 saw 2 mule deer

Monday, March 10, 2014

Very unique experience. Hiked the first week of March 2014 and got to sled sand and snow. Felt like hiking through Tattooine from Star Wars. Challenging, otherworldly, and exceptional.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

My family and I visited in August 2010. My wife had been there many times as a kid, but we had not been as a family. We arrived early in the morning to try and beat the heat. The views from the top of the Dunes are amazing. One of the most unique spots I have ever been to. I would like to return when the winter snowmelt fills Medano Creek.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

I have lived in Colorado most of my life and haw never been there till today! Simply amazing. Due to weather we did not get to do all we wanted to but I was completely shocked by the grandness that is the Sand Dunes. The river was pretty shallow (1/2 inch) but here was still plenty of it for lots of kids to play and build sandcastle. Admission is $3 an adult (over 16) and anyone under is free. Can't beat that for a day of fun! Will not hesitate to go again.

Tips: lots of water! Sunscreen a must! Prepare for hot, windy, rainy and cold. Temperature changed a lot while we were there and most of all have fun!

off road driving
Sunday, March 24, 2013

Amazing as to where all of that sand came from. Be sure to check out the alligator farm about 20 miles to the west.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Dune hiking is a totally differant challenge. You establish your own trail. Camping is allowed in the dunes and also is a rare experience. We also took sleds and sledded on the dunes. Great experience but demanding.

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