Great Sand Dunes
About 35 miles northeast of Alamosa, Colorado, is the Great Sand Dunes NP. The tallest sand dunes in North America (Star Dune is the tallest at 750’) are landlocked and seem strangely out of place next to the 13,000’ Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The dunes are a blast to play and run on, and after a rainstorm are great to sled on with a rigid sled. If you are interested in climbing to the top it will take a couple of hours of walking to get to the top of High Dune (650’). This hike will definitely give your lungs a workout. It is not the highest dune in the park, but it does offer greats 360-degree views of the area. It’s another hour, and 1.5 miles of ups and downs, to hike to the top of Star Dune. There is a great interpretive center and gift shop at the base of the dunes. Entrance to the park is via the South (Hwy 150) or West (Route 6). If your GPS tries to route you over one of the passes, beware that these are not paved roads, but rather a hiking trail and a four-wheel-drive, high-clearance-vehicle road. This is a great place to visit on the way through Colorado. Definitely worth the stop.
By Rodney Buck
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Colorado, United States