Across the San Luis Valley and against the backdrop of rugged 14,000-foot peaks, the Great Sand Dunes provide a stunning sight to behold. Over 30 square miles of dunes appear as a “sea of sand” against the nearly vertical face of the Sange de Cristo Mountains.
These dunes were created by the continuous work of water and wind, and provide a recreation area unlike any other you will see. Medano Creek flows seasonally at the base of the dunes, giving a spot where everyone can enjoy the water, sun and sand in unison.
Nearly 700 feet above the valley floor, visitors take part in sand-sledding all the way down. You can also visit Zapata Falls, which is a half-mile hike leading uphill towards a beautiful waterfall. Along the trail, take the time to appreciate panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, including the Great Sand Dunes below you.
If you’d like to spend a bit more time in the area, and you should, we definitely recommend a stop by the Colorado Gator Farm. Here you can watch and feed over 400 gators, plus dozens of pythons, turtles, rattlers, iguanas, dragons, geckos, parrots, tortoises, and more! For more information, visit www.nps.gov/grsa.