Hike High Dune at Great Sand Dunes National Park

Details

Distance

2.5 miles

Elevation Gain

700 ft

Route Type

Out-and-Back

Added by Justin Ritucci

Explore Colorado's most unique landscape and photograph North America's tallest sand dunes. Slide down the massive dunes on a sand board or sled and then cool off in the Medano Creek, right at the base of the dunes.

The Great Sand Dunes are one the most unique landscapes in Colorado. These massive dunes are the tallest sand dunes in North America. Hiking these dunes can be very difficult, but well worth the amazing views of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range. If you plan on visiting in the summer, be sure to wear closed footwear. The sand can get up to 140 °F in the summer months.

Be sure to bring a sled or rent a sand board at the Oasis shop right before the park entrance. The dunes can be very fun to sled down. It slides best when it is a little bit wet right after it rains. After hiking the dunes be sure to cool down in the Medano Creek, right at the base of the dunes.

Park at the lot just beyond the visitor center and you'll be able to see High Dune. It looks like the tallest dune, although it actually is not. There's no "trail" but you can easily wind and zig sag your way across the ridges to reach it. Cross the creek from the parking lot and find your way there. 

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Chillin
Photography
Hiking
Bathrooms
Easy Parking
River
Scenic

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Reviews

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Explorer

🥇Top Contributor

7 months ago

One of the coolest places in Colorado

These dunes are amazing for all age groups. Hiking to high dune is worth the climb up. I suggest going at or near sunset the different colors make the sand look beautiful.

One of my fav places in CO!

I love the Great Sands Dunes because it's so unlike any other place in Colorado. I've been a few times and I always get excited driving up to the park entrance and seeing the dunes start to peek over the horizon and come into view. It's not easy hiking up to High Dune, but it's so worth it to see the entire dune field tucked up against the Sangre de Cristo mountains. Plus when you're done with that you can reward yourself by hanging out at Medano Creek. Bring a camp chair, a few beers, and cool off your hot and sweaty feet in the creek. There are a lot of great things to do in this area of Southern Colorado.

Explorer

🥇Top Contributor

over 2 years ago

Colorado's Most Unique Landscape

In my opinion, this is Colorado's most unique landscape. Hiking North America's tallest dunes was cool. We ran/rolled down the dunes. Go in the early morning to beat the heat and crowds.

Admin

🥇Top Contributor

over 3 years ago

Beautiful

A pretty incredible place, with the dunes juxtaposed against the beautiful Sangre de Cristo mountains. Wander around, and be sure to get up high enough to see the full dune field to the north and west!

Awesome Day Trip!

Brings lots of of water and food if you plan on hiking to the top of the dunes!

731 total saves

4.8/5

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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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