I gave you a glimpse of the Great Sand Dunes National Park in the post for this week’s photo challenge. It is worth revisiting in more detail, starting with the sunrise at San Luis State Park, just outside the dunes. The San Luis campground was the ideal launching pad for a day trip to the Dunes as we continued our road trip through Colorado.
As you approach the park entrance sign, the dunes are like a mirage at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
Hiking the dunes on a summer day requires a morning start — that sand bakes in a hurry under a hot sun. With no trees or other objects to provide cover or shade, one quickly gets a desert hiking experience.
Sand angels are not a wise idea when you have your camera in your pocket. Photos are great tools for capturing memories; this photo will always capture the memory of my son’s camera literally biting the dust.
It took awhile to get the hang of climbing the dunes — there is a strategy to minimize the feeling of walking on a treadmill.
Not all came to hike. We saw visitors with makeshift sleds, and others on skis, treating the sand like a warm weather ski hill. No problem with congestion at this vast venue!
Great Sand Dunes National Park has such a unique setting — neverending desert-like dunes butted up against the extensive Sangre de Cristo mountain range. Sunrise and sunset would provide for some phenomenal photo opportunities!
We had a goal of hiking to the top of the tallest dune, but settled for the second tallest, by our estimation. We sat and rested for a water break before the return hike to the car. Water bottles were quickly depleted, and sunglasses essential, as the sun climbed to its midday spot.
If you are pressed for time, even a half-day stop to wander through the Visitor Center and take a short walk onto the dunes is worthwhile. However, spending a day or two exploring the nearby mountain trails and activities would make for a fun weekend trip. We barely scratched the surface of this fascinating site.
The National Park website for the Great Sand Dunes National Park has all the information you need to start planning a visit to this unique Colorado destination.
Ciao! ~ Kat