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the Great Sand Dunes National Park 2019 - Colorado USA

highest sand peaks in all of North America

sunny 100 °F

sand everywhere

We went down to southern Colorado to check out a strange natural phenomenon. First, there's just this great big pile (30 square miles) of sand sitting in the middle of a circle of mountain ranges. But in May, June, and July, the melting snow runoff creates a temporary river right beside the sand. And there's some 4WD only off-road paths to take, which made the 4Runner happy.

But be warned, the water also brings out the bugs for those months too. and the sand gets HOT during mid day, so the best dune hiking is early morning or late afternoon. We also were lucky to even get a camping spot at the national parks campground. I checked 6 months before our trip and they were all sold out except for a few spots. We even had to move between sites the two nights we were there (luckily they were close).

And it was HOT during our stay (got to 100 degrees), so make sure to have shade and plenty of water. Good time to take a nap in the middle of the day in the tents and then drive around a bit in the vehicle with the A/C blasting.


  • bring water to hike up the first peaks of the dunes (will take about 2 hours)
  • reserve your campsite as early as possible ... or check out campgrounds that are outside the park
  • bring bug spray and sunblock
  • enjoy the river during the spring/summer months
  • if going off-road, make sure you have a high clearance 4 wheel drive (not AWD) vehicle and a way to deflate and inflate your tires
  • cardboard and regular sleds don't work to slide down the sand, but there's a place that rents boards just south of the park entrance


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Posted by MurkTravels 12:26 Archived in USA Tagged mountains hiking colorado usa camping nationalparks murktravels 2019

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