A southwest Colorado natural treasure has been here for milenia. But you might be just now finding out about it. If you’re a nature lover, then you’ll definitely want to put this on your must see list. Just in case you’re on the fence and need a little encouragement, here are some things that will make you want to visit Colorado’s Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve.
1. Peace and Quiet
If you’re looking for a peaceful getaway, Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is it. The beautiful scenery, the birds, the dunes–this is the life. You can enjoy fishing, a picnic, hiking and so much more here.
2. Sandhill Crane Migration
In both the spring and fall, over 20,000 sandhill cranes spend some time in the San Luis Valley. The cranes winter in New Mexico and by early February they’re arriving. You may even catch a ritual mating dance filled with jumping, wing flapping, bowing and throwing grass in the air. In the fall, you’ll typically find the sandhill cranes from late September to late November.
3. Medano Creek
What’s a vacation (or staycation) without a little water fun? Medano creek is a seasonal stream that is quite popular with park visitors in the warmer months. The creek’s size and depth depends on the amount of snow in the mountain watershed above the park from the winter and early spring.
It’s just like snowboarding but with sand! You can rent or buy sandboards and sleds from local shops, or you can bring your own. Feel free to ski, board or sled anywhere on the dunefield. Just be sure that your board or sled is for sand. Snowboards and sandboards are made differently.
There are some pretty spectacular views at Great Sand Dunes. There’s wildlife and tons of plant life too. Whether you’re doing a family photo shoot, bird watching or just looking for a cool shot to post on social media, you’ll have plenty of killer photo opportunities. You might even happen across some black sand the park is known for.
6. Horseback Riding
If you’re a horse owner, you are welcome to bring it along and take a ride at the park. Although there are some areas that are closed to horseback riding, most of the park is open. There are specified areas for parking your horse trailer, so be sure you know before you go.
7. Zapata Falls
You’re only a 15 minute drive and a ½ mile hike away from these 30 foot high falls nestled in a rock crevasse. It’s the perfect getaway when the sand is just too hot to handle. You’ll also get a great view of the entire dune field and the San Luis Valley.
There’s plenty to do for families, couples, hiking and nature enthusiasts and anyone else who enjoys the outdoors. You can have up to date information on conditions and more to help you make the most out of your trip to the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve.