Great Sand Dunes National Park – Beyond Bizzare

I love Colorado. The mountains. The canyons. The rivers. The sand. Wait, what? Sand? When thinking of Colorado, sand is not typically what comes to mind. Yet, this landlocked state is home to one of the most bizarre places, Great Sand Dunes National Park.

View of a sand dune looking up towards the blue sky in Great Sand Dunes National Park

Great Sand Dunes National Park is located in southcentral Colorado in Alamosa County.

This unusual place is known for its towering sand dunes, the largest in North America. These dunes are ginormous, rising up to 750 feet tall.

View of huge sand dunes with people that shows the scale
Look closely. There are people walking on the dunes.

How did all of this sand get here?

The valley on the west side of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains was once covered with lakes. These lakes eventually dried up. Sand was left behind from the lakes. Sediments washed down from the mountains. Opposing winds from the east and west compressed the sand into these massive dunes.

Display of a model in the Visitor Center at Great Sand Dunes National park showing sand dunes in a valley next to a mountain range
Display in the Visitor Center

Visiting Great Sand Dunes National Park

Visitors can explore the dunes on foot or rent boards or sleds to slide down the sandy slopes. There are also various hiking trails, ranging from easy walks to strenuous hikes.

Sand dune with mountains in the background with small amounts of snow on the mountains

Feel like getting wet? Bring a swimsuit. Medano Creek runs through the park near the dunes and is a popular place for kids of all ages to play.

Creek flowing through  Great Sand Dunes National Park
Medano Creek

Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife. The park is home to numerous species of wildlife, such as elk, mule deer, black bears, and bighorn sheep.

5 mule deer walking in the brush in  Great Sand Dunes National Park
Mule Deer

Please note that services near the park are limited. Camping is available within the park. Also, the Great Sand Dunes Oasis hotel and restaurant is located just outside the park’s entrance and is open seasonally. And that’s it.

The Great Sand Dunes sign by the road going into the park
11999 CO-150, Mosca, CO 81146

Alamosa, the most sizeable community in the area, is 38 miles away. Here you will find more options for lodging and dining.

The sand dunes in front of the mountain with grasses in the sand

Great Sand Dunes National Park is a great place to bring a picnic!

A log laying in moist sand by the sand dunes in front of mountains

It is worth a drive to this remote area to see the dunes for yourself. Despite understanding how the dunes were formed, it still feels surreal. Undoubtedly, Great Sand Dunes National Park is an unforgettable experience.

Love Colorado’s national parks? Check out Mysterious Mesa Verde National Park.

2 thoughts on “Great Sand Dunes National Park – Beyond Bizzare”

  1. Great Sand Dunes National Park is truly a unique destination. The towering sand dunes are amazing to see in person and there are plenty of activities to enjoy, from hiking to sledding down the slopes. A must-visit spot when in Colorado!
    Jacob Walker

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