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Great Sand Dunes
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Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Great Sand Dunes on 10/12/2009 18:59:11 MDT Print View

What I did with my Three-Day Weekend
by Dean

Unfortunately I had errands to run on Saturday, so I didn't get to the trailhead until after 16:00. I reserved the Little Medano and Cold Creek campsites and set off.

Disclaimer- I am not a photographer. I take pictures purely to prove that I did the trip, and for bragging rights. If you want art, talk to Ryan.

Here's a picture of the dunes from the approach road:

four miles

I was FOUR MILES away when I took this picture.

Here's a view of the dunes from the Visitors' Center. It is difficult to give some idea of the scale of these dunes, so:


Those little black dots on the dunes on the left side of the frame (above the two bushes in the foreground) are people.

Random pretty picture:

tree mountain view

A couple of self-portraits:

me, clouds

me, more clouds

I kept spooking mulies:

spooked deer

More random pretty pictures:

dunes, sky, blaze

pretty dunes

my prints




I think this is the remains of a previous hiker...

prior hiker?


More self-portraits:

another self-portrait

little medano

More pretties:

cold creek drainage

morning dunes

brilliant sky

morning mountains and dunes

sage and mtns

Occasionally I'd find some very compacted sand, and I'd barely leave a footprint:

firm sand

A place that is beautiful in a way quite distinct from the older parks.


Edited by acrosome on 10/12/2009 19:27:30 MDT.

Jack Newton
(figster) - F

Locale: Central Arkansas
Awsome! on 10/12/2009 23:19:18 MDT Print View

I've cruised by that place a half dozen times. Ive always wanted to stop. Your pictures are perfect and I'm certainly encouraged to stop.



Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Great Sand Dunes on 10/13/2009 06:52:16 MDT Print View

Wonderful, Dean. I'd love to visit. Reminds me of the dunes on the coast of Oregon in Oregon Dunes State Park.

Justin McMinn
(akajut) - F

Locale: Central Oklahoma
Re: Great Sand Dunes on 10/13/2009 08:31:44 MDT Print View

Thanks for the pics! I've been looking into this NP for a trip, so it's great to see your report. How many miles did this one cover?

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Dunes on 10/13/2009 09:00:49 MDT Print View


Using my high-tech pencil and paper on the map technique, it looks like the hike from Point of No Return trailhead to the Sand Creek campsite is about 10 miles. They are sandy trails, though, and over half of that was on the trails chewed up by hunters with horses. Nor did I have hiking poles. Such does not make for epic mileage.

I'm not sure how far I got up Sand Creek while exploring. I poked around in a lot of holes, per se. It looks like if one followed the creek all the way into the mountains (past Music Pass to the lakes and springs) it would be about another 15 miles, topping out at about 12000 feet. So, you can make this place into almost anything that you want it to be.

I will also state for the record that though this was a rather short hike it nonetheless pointed out in rather dramatic fashion that I am not yet ready for prime time at this altitude. (Not considering Sand Creek it topped out at just over 9000 feet. I just moved here from Germany, elevation 800 feet. And I felt every one of those 8200 feet of difference, Brother...)


As fate would have it I have driven past the Oregon dunes, but didn't have an opportunity to visit...

Edited by acrosome on 10/13/2009 09:05:09 MDT.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Great Sand Dunes on 10/13/2009 09:10:55 MDT Print View

I've got a house about an hour south of there, so I guess I should break down and go up there some day. Every time I've been by there, it's always been taking the back way up to Summit County. And the altitude change gets more brutal with age (to me), as I found out last summer.