Great Sand Dunes National Park


Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is located in southern Colorado on the eastern edge of the San Luis Valley, along the west flank of the Sangre de Cristo mountains. The park is the home of the tallest dunes in North America, and they have been built by wind-deposited sand primarily from the San Luis Valley to the west. 

It is not a heavily visited park and has a very peaceful, quiet feel. Except for a restaurant, motel, small store and gas station just outside the park, all other services are 30 to 40 miles away in Mosca or Alamosa.  We had dark skies when there and the Milky Way was visible with the naked eye, so an attempt was made to capture an image. 

For more information about the park, click here.

These photos are from two trips to the Great Sand Dunes. Our first was just passing through in July, 2014, but the next time, in August , 2015, we stayed a couple of nights at the Great Sand Dunes Lodge, just outside the park entrance. There was a lot of smoke in the skies in 2015 from wildfires in California and the Northwest, as you can see.

You can take decent paved highways to the Sand Dunes, but we decided to go to and from the park via Medano and Haden passes. A four wheel drive/high clearance vehicle was necessary, so the trusty Jeep, pictured below, was pressed into service. Normally we don’t see much wildlife on Jeep trips, so we were very surprised to see a good sized group of Big Horn Sheep, about 10 ewes and lambs in Medano Creek, on the way in to the Sand Dunes. 

We took a lot of wildflower shots while we were there on both trips, and you can see these here

© Tom & Linda Lebsack 2018