The Great Sand Dunes & Preserve

Camping & Exploring the Dunes

August 5, 2018

The Great Sand Dunes & Preserve are a must see treasure hidden away in the mountains in the Colorado. I’ve been wanting to camp and explore the area since I first moved to Colorado several years ago. So finally, we adventured our way out and set up camp just outside the park for a weekend of hiking, sledding, and exploring the dunes. Even from our campsite you can tell how massive these sand dunes are.

Home base at the dunes

It can definitely be tough to get a spot camping, especially if you are trying to get a site inside the park at Piñon Flats. We left pretty early Friday afternoon, so we were able to get a good spot at the Great Sand Dunes Oasis. Pretty solid spot, and nice since there is a store for all the camping things you may have forgotten. Also where you can rent the sleds/boards before heading over to the dunes. Definitely get there early, line can get long and it’s not the fastest moving line either.

Unfortunately for us, the river had been dried up for months at this point, but that was expected going at the end of July. Hiking was tough as hell, one step forward three steps back in the soft sand, but so worth it. Took us a few hours, to hike to the top, mostly due to sledding stops and having to retrace our steps several times. You don’t really have perspective of how large these dunes are until you are on them. You can just make myself and two friends walking the crest of the dunes in the top right in the picture below.

Hiking the crest of the dunes

Here is the reward for our perseverance, the back side of the dunes you can’t see until you hike passed the crestline.

Back side of the dunes

Now while hiking up with the sleds was tough, it paid off tenfold on our way down. Highly recommend the sleds! If you pick the right slopes, you really get going fast. According to the shop, up to 40mph, which I don’t think we came close to, but certainly tried our best.

10/10 would recommend and definitely a place I plan on coming back to in the future to re-explore and experience again.

Tags: Colorado

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