Hike to Star Dune



8 miles

Elevation Gain

750 ft

Route Type


Added by Kristian Conway

Climb the tallest dune in North America while taking in one of the most fantastic geologic phenomenons in the country.

There is no established trail or route to summit Star Dune which is the beauty of the ever changing and serene nature in the Great Sand Dune National Park. Star Dune is the tallest sand dune in North America, at 750' tall and reaching a summit of 8617'. However, High Dune to its north is at a higher elevation, making it the highest point in the dunes. 

To summit Star Dune, hikers must chart their own course through the dunes while keeping Star Dune in sight. Due to its height it is rather easy to view. It is easiest to hike along the crests of the dunes and make your way southward. If you bring something to slide on you can even slide your way down the dunes. This is a very strenuous hike and you want to start early before the sand gets too hot and plan to spend at least half the day. While there make sure to take time to learn ho the dunes were created and the beautiful nature at work there.  

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ūü•ą Contributor

7 months ago

Great Alternative to High Dune

This hike has incredible views throughout, and is much more isolated than the nearby High Dune. We had the trail to ourselves even though the park was full of visitors. It is a little strenuous hiking so far through the sand, but the views from Star Dune are 100% worth it. Make sure to hike as far along the riverbed as you can before starting to hike up the dunes; you will save energy by avoiding having to go up and down too much. We started hiking up toward the dunes at a wooden pole in the riverbed, and that was perfect for us.

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We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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