High Dune Trail

HARD 77 reviews

High Dune Trail is a 2.5 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Mosca, Colorado that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

DISTANCE
2.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
554 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

no dogs

High Dune trail a 3.4 mile out and back trac at the Great Sand Dunes National monument. It isn't a marked trail, you just spot it, the "high dune", and make your way there the best you can by following the ridges of the dunes on the way.

23 days ago

Really difficult climb. We did all of it completely barefoot, which had its pros and cons. You get more traction with hiking boots but barefoot is more fun and challenging. If it is a hot day, shoes are a must. In fact, I can't imagine going here in the middle of summer, it would be brutally hot. A perfect day is partly cloudy and mid 50s. Views are incredible!

hiking
23 days ago

I had so much fun exploring Medano Creek and the amazing dune field, slowly working my way up from one ridge line to the next. The views are tremendous and so unique. I got close to the top of High Dune before I had to turn back. It was the last day of my late July vacation, and unfortunately I had a limited amount of time. I was lucky that the weather and partial cloud cover kept the sand from getting too hot during the middle of the day...also that Medano Creek was still flowing that late in the summer. The prairie sunflowers were just beginning to bloom as well. It was truly an awesome experience, and I hope to get back one day to explore again!

backpacking
25 days ago

hiking
26 days ago

Amazing views!!! Hard going up but all worth it! Sandy shoes make it hard and heavy to go up. Hat, sun glasses and lots of water is a MUST. Dress in layers, the wind can feel chilly at times this time of the year. It was an amazing experience to do it with my daughter before she went off to college.
We did it in the summer months and the heat was incredible. Now in October it is quite different. Windy and cool but again all worth it once you reach the top. No open toe shoes!!!

hiking
29 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Lots of effort, but so rewarding!

hiking
1 month ago

1 month ago

1 month ago

hiking
2 months ago

2 months ago

Amazing views, exhausting hike. Consider switchbacks when going up steeper sections, along with plenty of water.

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

3 months ago

3 months ago

This hike is unlike anything else because you can rent a sand board or sled for $20 (at the Oasis store which you turn into from the main road before you enter the park proper) and slide down the dunes at up to 38 mph. The hike itself is strenuous only due to heat and sand. Sliding half a step backward with each step forward on the hot sand is simply discouraging; but if you keep at it, you'll be rewarded with stunning views of one of the most unique landscapes in the country.

hiking
3 months ago

Incredible view. Not as hard as I expected based on the reviews/difficulty ranking (that is not to say it isn't hard - it is. as others have said you basically take 2 steps back for every one step forward in sand. however, it's totally doable even for a novice like me. additionally, it doesn't require any sort of skill/maneuvering ). Follow the ridges and areas of packed/wet sand for an easier trip. You'll likely see the paths others took. Take as many breaks as you need. I started at 9:40AM. Very comfortable temperature wise. I wore sandals and packed socks and shoes in case the sand got too hot. I ended up going bare foot for the trip up. On my final journey down around 11:30AM/noon, the sand was getting a little too hot so I put on my sandals which sufficed. I packed 3L of water and only drank about 1L. I didn't have an issue with wind. It blew for a bit and pelted my ankles with sand, but my pants prevented any pain. I was in a tank top and my arms were fine. Highly recommend bringing a sand sled to get the most of it. Reward yourself by cooling off in the creek by the parking lot when you finish (contrary to what I was told to expect - the creek was lively today - August 11). I saw some people brought lawn chairs to sit in the creek. Nice idea.

3 months ago

Go when it is cold out because you will still cook

hiking
3 months ago

Beautiful place. Silvia and I went on a Saturday afternoon. It was cloudy and had rained a couple of hours earlier. We went up the GSD trail and also cooled our feet on the stream at the base of the sand dunes.