Great Sand Dunes
Nestled in southern Colorado, North America's tallest dunes rise over 700 feet high against the rugged Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The wind shaped dunes glow beneath the rugged backdrop of the mountains, creating a memorable scene. This geologic wonderland, containing 39 square miles of dunes, became a national monument in 1932.
- Mosca, CO
- Great Sand Dunes National Monument
11500 Highway 150
Mosca, Co 81146
- (719) 378-2312
- OPERATING HOURS, SEASONS:
- The monument is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Visitor center open daily, closed on winter holidays.
- CLIMATE, RECOMMENDED CLOTHING:
- In fall, winter, and spring, expect moderate daytime temperatures and freezing to sub-zero temperatures at night. Summer temperatures during the day average 70 to 80 degrees, lows may drop to 40 degrees. Sand temperatures can reach 140 degrees in summer; shoes are highly recommended for hiking the dunes.
- Great Sand Dunes National Monument is located 35 miles northeast of Alamosa, Colorado, reached by US Highway 160 and Colorado Highway 150 from the south; or from Colorado Highway 17 and County Six Mile Lane from the west.
- Personal vehicles.
- FEES, COSTS, RATES:
- Entrance fees: $3.00 per person for anyone 17 and older; 16 and under is free, valid for seven days. Camping fees: $10.00 per night; 6 people maximum per site; two vehicle limit per sight.
- FACILITIES AND OPPORTUNITIES:
Visitor Center, Exhibits:
- Visitor center has a 15 minute video, exhibits, bookstore and computer touchscreen information systems.
- Trails, Roads:
- There are 18 miles of established trails; 39 square miles of unlimited hiking on the dunes. Medano Pass Primitive Road leaves from the monument and heads east over Medano Pass.
- Summer: evening slide presentations, ranger-led interpretive nature walks, Junior Ranger program.
- Lodging and camping facilities:
- Pinyon Flats campground has 88 campsites on a first-come, first-served basis. Fire grates, picnic tables, flush toilets and drinking water available. It is open year round.
- Small general store and cafe located at monument boundary; open summer months.
- Other Concessions/NPS-Managed Visitor Facilities and Opportunities:
- General store and dining facilities located at monument boundary; open summer months. Four-wheel drive jeep tours offered during summer months.
- There is an accessible trail at the visitor center, two accessible campsites and one backcountry accessible campsite.
- RECOMMENDED ACTIVITIES/PARK USE:
- Visitors can go hiking on the dunes and several nature trails, observe flora and fauna, picnick, and backcountry camp. Medano Creek, which flows at the base of the dunes during spring and early summer, allows for sand castle building and pleasant, refreshing hikes.
- Backcountry permits are required for backcountry camping and can be obtained at the visitor center.
- BASIC VISIT RECOMMENDATIONS:
- Allow about two hours to hike the dunes.
- SPECIAL EVENTS, PROGRAMS:
- Friends of the Dunes, Inc. host several summer events: castle building and kite flying contest, summer concerts, seminars, photography workshops and a 5K/10K race. Call the monument for more information.
- ADJACENT VISITOR ATTRACTIONS:
- Within a 30 minute drive: San Luis Lakes State Park and state wildlife area; Zapata Falls, Colorado Alligator Farm, wildlife refuges, museums, 18-hole championship golf course and bison ranch.
- ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
- Write Great Sand Dunes National Monument, 11500 Highway 150, Mosca,
CO 81146, or call (719) 378-2312.
Do you have questions about Colorado's National Parks?