Coming across the San Luis Valley in southern Colorado, travelers are hit with the majestic sight of giant rippling sand dunes appearing as if out of nowhere. Surrounded by the rugged Sangre de Cristo and San Juan Mountains, the area was expanded into a national park to protect North America's tallest sand dunes as well as the critically important wetlands, grasslands and shrublands surrounding the dunes on three sides.
Great Sand Dunes National Park is a great park for a road-trip, so pack your bags and see a beautiful part of Colorado. They're located about midway between Denver and Albuquerque, roughly 4 hours by car. Because it's a bit of a drive to the nearest good grocery store, make sure to bring along some provisions, or see what you can scrounge up at the Mosca Pass Outpost Store near the Visitor Center.
Take a hike up the Mosca Pass Trail, or challenge yourself to get into the alpine tundra, starting from about 11,700' to 13,604'. Check out other hiking options in the ever-growing popular hikes section, below.