Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve boasts North Americas largest sand dune, Star Dune. Star Dune is 750 feet tall and looks giant even with the mountains surrounding it. It takes about 5 hours to hike to the top of Star Dune and back from the parking lot. Unfortunately when I went recently we didn’t have time for the whole hike so we hiked up to the top of the first tallest Dune we could find. From the parking lot you cross over a small creek and then across the flat sand before you reach the first sand dune.
The sand dunes get taller and steeper with every one you traverse. With the desert sun blazing down on us and reflecting of the sun back at us again we tired out pretty quickly and took often breaks to catch our breath and take in the views of the surrounding mountains. At some point we reached a nice tall dune and decided to call that our turn around point. We had a granola bar snack and enjoyed the views some more before heading back down!
Hiking up a sand dune sucks, but going down is like a big sandy rollercoaster! It is hard to slide down further than a couple feet at a time but if you pick up enough speed running down you feel like you’re floating. Once the ride down was over we walked back to the car and dumped six tons of sand out of our boots and said goodbye to the sand. Great Sand Dunes is dope and definitely worth a visit! I would love to go back and do more backpacking in the park as well as reach the top of Star Dune!
Thanks! – Josh