Dunes Trail from Pinyon Flats

HARD 92 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.

Distance: 4.5 miles Elevation Gain: 954 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

camping

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

views

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.

hiking
14 days ago

I don’t think there is really an official trail up there, but I would recommend to find the highest longest ridge to follow otherwise you may have to wither back track or bear crawl up a super steep dune (which we did) ugh! I did carry a rented board to the top and my 10yo daughter, wife, and I had a blast going down!

hiking
no shade
26 days ago

As others have said, there's no real "trail" here, but that just made it all the more fun! We went counter-clockwise and it definitely took us away from the crowds (most people seem to be concentrated around High Dune). The dunes were no joke to hike on! The amount of sand that came out of my boots afterwards was hilarious. We hiked the whole thing in the afternoon, but came back to do a portion again at sunset. HIGHLY recommend! It was absolutely STUNNING watching the sun set over the dunes. The light is much softer and creates gorgeous shadows on the dunes during the golden hour. My husband and I actually hiked with our telescope to the top of one of the dunes to watch the sunset and stayed there until the stars came out. Brutal hike with that telescope but so so worth it. The stars here are unlike anything I've ever seen. Be careful if you're going to night hike - it is absolutely pitch black, so be sure to have headlamps, a fully charged phone to get back to camp and your ten essentials just in case. :)

hiking
no shade
off trail
27 days ago

Super fun and tougher than you’d expect! This takes you away from most of the footsteps of others so even though I did in the late afternoon it felt like I had the whole thing to myself.

hiking
off trail
1 month ago

We made our own trial to get to High Dune. It’s pretty difficult to follow any “set trails”. The sand moved and there is not any marking. Following other’s footsteps is a good way to ensure you don’t get lost if you don’t have GPS

hiking
2 months ago

This was amazing! The pups loved the dunes, and you can really take them anywhere in the sand. There’s no specific “trail,” but the common paths are a bit more packed down and easier to walk on. We decided to venture off the beaten path and make our own trail toward the tallest dune, Star Dune. We didn’t make it all 750 feet, but we did go up to a dune at about 600! The dogs loved it, and you will too. Otherworldly, very unique experience. Couple things to think about - very windy with blowing sand, no coverage from the sun unless the clouds love you, and the earlier the better...we got there just after the park opened and it was filling up fast. Totally worth it though to have some more privacy among the dunes, and you’ll get better photos without all of the day’s footprints!

recorded Recording - Jul 27, 09:31 AM

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful weather leaving at 7a from the piñon campgrounds. Sand was still firm from rain the day before.

hiking
no shade
2 months ago

4 months ago

Just wow. First time here & got lucky with an open campsite with a perfect view & a stones throw from this trail. Didnt make it the entire way, we started late and the temp dropped quickly on us, high sandy winds are rough

4 months ago

did the hike during the near full moon, fantastic hike

hiking
5 months ago

Ended up making our own trial but the dunes were a blast

11 months ago

Beautiful!

hiking
Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Awesome park!

Friday, July 06, 2018

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.

hiking
Thursday, July 05, 2018

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!

hiking
Saturday, June 16, 2018

Wow. 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.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Simply amazing and worth every step

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

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

hiking
Thursday, September 07, 2017

Great Park!

hiking
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!

hiking
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!

hiking
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.

hiking
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.

hiking
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.

hiking
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.

bird watching
Friday, September 11, 2015

Beautiful and always a fun day!

walking
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.

hiking
Friday, July 10, 2015

Amazing to see the sand dunes.

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