Our research is editorially independent but we may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
View the largest sand dunes in North America at Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. This national park in south central Colorado features 30 square miles of rolling sand dunes along with incredible high-elevation mountains. With plenty of hiking trails, campsites, and other outdoor recreational activities, this national park is a great place to visit year round.
YOU'RE ALL SET!
Look out for our newsletters in your inbox soon.
On March 17, 1932, the Great Sand Dunes were designated as a National Monument. It wasn’t until 2000 when the Great Sand Dunes were considered a national park and preserve. One of four national parks in Colorado, this unique park not only has a desert environment from the dunes but also wetlands, alpine lakes, grasslands and forests. With such a variety of ecosystems in the park and preserve, this place is teeming with wildlife from elk and deer to a variety of birds, amphibians and reptiles.
The sand dunes are obviously a must-see while visiting Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. Do keep in mind that the sand can get very hot during the summer months. With that in mind, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the dunes. With a permit, backpackers can camp in the dune area. Or choose to enjoy the dunes on a fat tire bike, surf the dunes on a sand sled, or take a horseback ride over the dunes.
If you’re visiting the park in late May to early July, take in dip in Medano Creek. This wide creek becomes a popular attraction during its peak flow. Enjoy the sandy beach or cool off in the creek’s chilly water, which comes straight from snowmelt.
Another way to enjoy the park is by four-wheel drive vehicle, either an ATV or a four-wheel drive car with high clearance. Choose to take the Medano Pass Road, a 22-mile backcountry road that crosses creek beds and traverses soft sand. This is a great way to experiences the sights and sounds of this Colorado national park.
No matter if you choose to camp at the popular Piñon Flats Campground or just stop by for the day, it’s sure to be an unforgettable time. Home to the tallest sand dunes in North America, Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve deserves a spot on your bucket list.
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve Information: