We spent a couple of days in southwest Colorado and checked out a part of the state we’ve only driven through on previous trips. During one of those trips we made an attempt to visit Great Sand Dunes but ran out of time. We are so happy we made the effort to spend some extended time there this trip.
The park is located in the massive San Luis Valley. While the star attraction of the park is the dunes, there is a wetland area as well as an alpine forest. We were late for peak fall foliage, but we did manage to find some during a hike up Mosca Pass.
No mountain lion sightings-but it does give one pause.
We hiked the Dunes Overlook Trail for another view of the dunes.
Our first day in the park was cold and windy making climbing to the top less appealing.
These are the tallest sand dunes in North America at 700ft. Not attempting to get to the top didn’t sit well with us and necessitated a return the next day.
These dunes occupy a 30 square mile area of the park. The dunes are probably less then 440,000 years old(it’s hard to carbon date sand). The sand is the result of erosion of the San Juan Mts. to the west and the Sangre de Cristo Mts. To the east. Wind and water pushed the sand forcing it to pile up beneath the Sangre de Cristos.
After a wonderful day of playing in this gigantic sandbox we headed back to camp for dinner and sunset.