Great Sand Dunes National Park
The Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is located in southern Colorado. It’s known for huge dunes like the towering Star Dune. This 30-square-mile dune field in the San Luis Valley is home to the tallest sand dunes at 750 feet tall, the tallest in North America.
Natural forces, swirling winds, and flowing streams have all played vital roles in making the sand dunes. Winds often top 40 miles an hour continually reshape the crests of the tall dunes making them different every day. Footprints made while you hike will disappear in the wind leaving behind a fresh new layer of sand.
Animals use the grass to bed down at night
Sand dunes serve an important purpose by protecting inland areas from coastal water intrusion. They are able to absorb the impact and protect inland areas from high energy storms and act as a resilient barrier to the destructive forces of wind and waves.
10 Interesting Facts
- The park has one of the most fragile and complex dune systems in the world.
- Winds of up to 40 mph continually reshape the dunes.
- There are no snakes or scorpions in the dunes.
- Great Sand Dunes is home to at least six endemic insect species — found nowhere else on earth.
- Date established as a national park: Sept. 13, 2004
- Size: 107,000 acres
- Hike with your dog in the day-use area as long as he is leashed
- Sandboard and sand sled on the dunes, but only in the day-use area
- Ride horses, mules, burros, or llamas in designated areas
- Gather piñon nuts, gooseberries, mushrooms, currants, raspberries, and strawberries in limited quantities
The Great Sand Dunes September 2018
You can see all of our photos from our short little trip to Great Sand Dunes National Park in our photo gallery below. We plan to revisit when the temperatures are cooler to hike up the sand dunes.