Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
Sand Dunes National Park
For most of us summer is starting to wind down and we are scraping together out last summer vacation plans. Where do we take the kids for one last outing that will make a memorable experience? I don’t know about you but when I am planning a vacation I want it to be something the kids will remember fondly, an experience that when they have kids of their own they will want to do the same things. I want experiences that will leave a lasting impression.
The Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve seems to be an experience such as that. Everyone you talk to in Colorado can remember spending at least a day or two at “The Dunes”. The Dunes offer a little something for everyone and has handicap facilities to make sure that nobody is left out.
About The Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve
The tallest Dunes in North America are nestled against the 13,000 foot backdrop of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. With breathtaking views all around visitors can quickly take in the beauty that these 750 feet dunes have to offer. With sand as far as the eye can see it’s as if you have been transported to another place, yet without the heat of an actual desert.
The Dunes are an ever changing shape due to the 40+ mile and hour San Luis Valley winds, yet manage to be an ever prominent form on the horizon.
What The Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve Has To Offer
The Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve offers a little something for everyone but by far the three largest activities are hiking, sand sledding and enjoying the Medano Creek during the spring.
Hiking the dunes is the number one experience of these massive yet majestic dunes. Many don’t realize exactly how tough it is to actually head out hiking these mountains of sand but don’t be fooled. Make sure to have a good pair of shoes and plenty of water. The sand tends to get hot so I would not recommend sandals of any sort. The varying peaks allow you to set out for a 30 minute hike or for those who are more experienced you can plan a day trip and set out to conquer these 750 foot beauties.
For those looking for a little less hiking I suggest renting a sand sled from the Oasis Store or Kristi Mountain Sports for a very reasonable fee and in less than a mile hike you will be flying down the hill with the sand sliding beneath you.
Spring time in the Valley to us locals means the water is flowing at Medano Creek and this means cool respite on a warm day. We pack up our lunches, towels, swimsuits, plenty of water, gallons of sunscreen and the sand toys and we end with exhausted kids. Medano creek can be accessed from any of the main entries into the dunes during May & June with waters starting to recede by July.
Other activities including 4-wheeling over Medano Pass, exploring vegetation which includes 6 species of insect species found no where else on Earth, taking part in the Junior Rangers Program, interacting with the exhibits, hiking Zapata Falls and spending a night or two camping under the open Colorado sky to do it all over again.
If your planning a Spring – Fall trip through Colorado The Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve offers something for everyone with sand handicap wheel chairs available, making sure that nobody is left out of the fun. Whether it’s for a day or a week the The Great Sand Dunes National park & Preserve is sure to leave lasting memories and become a family favorite!
The Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve ~ Brandy M.