The Great Sand Dunes In Colorado
Plus, Great Sand Dunes Camping Intel
Against a backdrop of blue-tinged mountains, a stunning expanse of Sahara-like sand dunes creates a contradicting landscape in Colorado. The Great Sand Dunes, the tallest dunes in North America, feel out of place among the area’s otherwise mountainous features. The marvel of how these dunes even came to exist puts this park on our list of favorite national parks.
“It isn’t the mountain that wears you out; it’s the grain of sand in your shoe.” — Robert W. Service, a British writer
Researchers estimate the dunes began forming hundreds of thousands of years ago when glacial melt and torrential floods pushed sediment into the San Luis Valley, forming a large body of water that covered much of the valley floor. Over time, the waters receded, leaving sand behind. Eventually, predominant southwest winds pushed the sand into the dune formation visitors see today. However, the dunes are ever changing. Two mountain streams, Medano Creek and Sand Creek, border this natural wonder, continually feeding it with new sediment, while wind causes the dunes to shift daily.
And although the marvel was designated a national monument in 1932, it was until 2000, that the Great Sand Dunes was designated a national park and preserve. In that time, the Great Sand Dunes has since tripled in size to treasure the beauty of the dunes, as well as the surrounding grasslands, wetlands, and forests.
CAMPGROUND OF CHOICE
The National Park Service’s Piñon Flats Campground can accommodate RVs, though there are no hookups and only select sites can fit RVs up to 35 feet in length. The campground, located 1 mile north of the Great Sand Dunes Visitor Center, features 44 reservable sites, as well as 44 first-come, first-serve sites. There are eight other campgrounds within 40 miles of the dunes.
Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve
11999 State Highway 150
Mosca, CO 81146