Little Medano Creek Trail to Medano Lake is a 25.1 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Mosca, Colorado that features a river and is rated as moderate. 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.

Length25.1 miElevation gain3543 ftRoute typeOut & back
Dogs on leashCampingHikingMountain bikingNature tripsWalkingBike touringBird watchingLakeRiverViewsWildflowersWildlifeFee
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Getting There

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve charges a fee to enter. Fees are $25 per vehicle or $20 per motorcycle. If you are entering on foot or bike the fee is $15 per person. You can also purchase a park specific annual pass for $45. Directions from Pinyon Flats Campground: Head north from the campground near site 62.

Full service for fee camping from primitive backpacking camps, to open camping in the Dunes (removed from site of the Visitor Center), to RV camping with electrical service. Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. In winter, the Visitor Center hours are 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily, except for federal holidays, when the building is closed. In spring and fall, the Visitor Center is generally open 9-5. Summer Visitor Center hours, from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend, are 8:30-6:30. Call ahead at (719)378-6399 for specific Visitor Center information.

Colorado Tourism Office, 1625 Broadway, Suite 1700 , Denver, CO, 80202, Phone: 800-COLORADO Great Sand Dunes Nat. Monument (719)378-6399

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.

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Reviews (4)
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Recordings (5)
Completed (32)
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Danny Mantyla
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJune 27, 2017
Hiking

I did this trail last year in very early June and we had to park our SUV and set up camp only a mile or two from the dunes as the Medano Pass primitive road was blocked because of high water. The next morning we began hiking up the road and several miles later we found the Little Medano Creek trail to take us up to Medano Lake. Once on that trail it was very beautiful especially through the large Aspen trees. Only a few miles into the trail it began getting steep and, very unfortunately, snow became a problem. We lost the trail, much swearing ensued, the predictable noon thunderstorm was threatening, and we decided we had to turn around. It was a very long walk back to our camp. Total roundtrip distance was 18.6 miles. Too long and too much snow! Go later in the year than June! Update: I did this trail again in July 2017 and it was 99% snow free! This time we were able to start from the trailhead. Was a very long day hike but was worth it. You will absolutely need a high-clearance 4x4 with low-range gearing if you want to drive to the trailhead. Otherwise, bring a backpack!

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Skye Bacus
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Hiking
First to Review

Lovely trail that skirts the sand dunes. The trail is quite sandy as well. Did this as a 1-night backpacking trip with my little brother--it was his first time backpacking and he isn't used to the elevation--so I wanted something that was pretty easy. We camped along the 4 wheel drive trail by the creek. The campsites were wonderful and had established fire rings and bear boxes. This trail doesn't really take you to a place where you can easily access the dunes on the north side. I think if we had had more time, we would have explored the Sand Ramp Trail and tried to access the dunes from that.

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Paul Sandager
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Hiking
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Bill Lippus
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Hiking
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