In our desire to cover all the national parks of Colorado, we decided to visit Great Sand Dunes National park which is famous for its tall dunes. Actually, it has the tallest dunes in North America. Can you believe it?
On the same trip, we covered the Black Canyon of Gunnison park too which is located in Gunnison county. Just after that, we left for the dunes.
When we first saw sand-dunes from distance, we were like, c’mon, we came too far to see this? Dunes were looking like tiny sand mountains spread across the considerably small regions. But as we reached closer, we realized our misjudgment.
Dunes were so huge that people climbing on them were exactly looking like ants. It took me some time to realize that those were hikers. There was a long line of cars at the park entrance, we had to wait for close to 45 min. We purchased the ticket which cost us 25 bucks. Parking was a big problem there. We got a parking space finally after circling the lot 2-3 times when someone pulled out his car from the space.
At the entrance, there is a visitor center, where one can know about the park, its geology, and history. There are also some artifacts, educational activities for kids, and vending machines inside. Dunes are visible from the visitor center and one has to pass through Medano creek which is seasonal to reach the Dunes. Believe me, it's a unique experience to be in ice-cold water which is knee-deep from just a distance from hot and dry sand dunes. our feet got numb while passing the creek. The creek is itself a play area for kids. But as I said, it's seasonal, so just check on their site before planning your visit.
Once we reached the bottom of the dunes, we decided to climb on one of them. I consider myself quite athletic and I have good experience with trekking. I have trekked famous forts from moderate to difficult levels in Maharashtra, India. Sand dunes were totally a different experience altogether.
Climbing dunes was a tough experience due to the sand, slope, and windy climate. Walking on sand is not at all easy and flying sand added difficulty to it. I was in shorts, my legs got rashes due to the continuous rubbing of sand particles flying in high wind.
It took more than expected time to reach the top of the dune and we were just sweating and panting. The path may be difficult and painful but success always brings joy to the soul. It was just awesome at the top. We sat there and watched others climbing, sandboarding, and playing.
After spending few minutes there (it was not actually too comfortable due to wind) we came down which was pretty easy. We crossed the creek and took some photographs there. We were getting late, so we decided to leave for our next destination. We were hungry and there was this nice restaurant just before the entrance of the park. We had dinner there which was good. We enjoyed every moment of the trip.
- Sand Sledding
- Wildlife viewing
Nature always surprises me with its peculiarity. It was a memorable trip, even though a bit tiring, but totally worth it.
- Bring plenty of water, if you decide to climb up the dunes.
- Wear a full sleeve shirt and pants/jeans to cover your body as the place is too windy. You won't like to be hurt with flowing sand.
- Parking is a big problem. There is some additional space inside the park, try to look for parking there instead of the visitor center.
- The creek is seasonal. Check before you plan your trip.
Happy Reading ! Keep Traveling !!!
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