Less than a five hour drive from Denver, the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is a place to turn off the cell phones and escape the daily grind. Come prepared with picnic provisions and plan to spend the day soaking up the sun. Playing in the sand and waters of the Medano Creek will be a fun filled day at the beach for young and old alike. Be sure to bring the beach chairs for the adults and the sand pails for the kids. The children’s feet will be squeaking with joy in their water shoes and the dogs will love running through the cool stream.
There is no shortage of activities at the dunes. Well waxed hard plastic sleds and snowboards are ideal for shooting down the great sand bowls. With campgrounds at the site, it’s the perfect opportunity to enjoy a long weekend getaway with camping, hiking, and backpacking. Hiking up to the top of the Sand Dunes isn’t as easy as one would imagine. A trek to the top of the highest peak is a 700 foot climb and a challenge worthy of any avid hiker. However, once the peak is reached, the majesty of the Great Sand Dunes will make it all worth it. Be sure to put on plenty of sunscreen and pack water as the sand can reach temperatures upwards of 140 degrees Fahrenheit on sunny summer afternoons. Although the sand beneath the toes feels fine, shoes are recommended as the grip from the avalanching sand can make it tough.
Photographers bring the tripods as the sunsets along the creek will be worth the patient wait. The sun will sink below the mountains of dunes and will create a truly picturesque scene. Bring a blanket for relaxing and a light jacket as it gets a little chilly after sundown. Evening worshipers may be lucky enough to have a full moon rising behind them for a romantic evening in the shore.