Great Sand Dunes National Park

This was part of a summer road trip to Colorado in summer in August. We tried to hit as many amazing places as we could along the way home. After leaving Colorado Springs, this was our first car camping stop.  Wow.  What a place of contrast!  The Sangre de Cristo Range , the San Luis Valley and 14r’s like Blanca Peak in the background, undulating sand dunes to climb and roll on, and splashing in the sparkling waters of Medano Creek make for a very unique experience.

There is a trail that leads from the visitor center to the highest point in the dunes but we opted to avoid the crowds and drove out from our campsite to a more remote area to hike in. As we were getting out of our car, a film crew pulled up with a ranger and we heard them talk about scouting for Star Wars! How cool is that? It completely set the tone for our adventure up onto the towering piles of sand.

That initial climb up to the “top” is a bear as you slide with each step.  Cutting switchbacks turned out to be productive and just like when making your way through fresh powder, it was much easier to follow someone’s footprints ahead of you. We had fun digging in the sand, looking for the highest summit to ascend and playing with shadows.

For more information, visit their website HERE.  We stayed in the Piñon Flats campground which had one of the best little camp stores ever. Not only did they carry a few things like sleeping bags and pillows but backpacking gear and organic food stuffs.  The only downside (for me anyway) was that they won’t let you hang your hammock in the trees.

For more of the national parks, hikes and other stops on our road trip through Utah and Colorado, visit my page Beyond The PNW!

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