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Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

Landscapes collide with mesmerizing effect as rugged mountains and some of the largest sand dunes in North America converge.

Climb to the top of the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve’s slopes of fine sand. Slide back down at exhilarating speeds. Navigate rocky trails and float along pristine waters of a gentle stream.

See 30 square miles (48 square kilometers) of deep sands sandwiched between snow-dusted mountain ranges and a micro-desert. Dunes continually rise and fall as streams carry sediment down western mountains. Prevailing winds blow sand from dried river beds against the foothills to the east to pack into dunes. 

Climb the giant sand piles anywhere in the park. Borrow a dunes-accessible wheelchair if needed. At 700 feet (213 meters), the highest dunes require a strenuous climb and provide views well worth the effort. Looking east, the snow-covered Sangre de Cristo Mountains appear to loom just beyond the sand. In the opposite direction, impressive peaks of the more distant San Juan Mountains soar skyward.

Before you arrive, rent sleds or sand-boards from San Luis Valley stores. Take photos from the top of the dunes and make a video as you take the exciting ride to the bottom. Hike at night on the dunes during a full moon and camp in this unique setting under a clear, dark sky.

Follow your desert expedition with a refreshing dip in Medano Creek during springtime snowmelt. This pristine waterway appears out of place in the sands, but is an ideal place to swim or float along the gentle current on an inflatable toy. 

Walk beneath thick pines lining the Montville Nature Trail. For a rigorous hike, climb Mount Herard past several alpine lakes and look down at the dunes from the 13,297-foot (4,053-meter) peak. 

Great Sand Dunes National Park is in southern Colorado, a 4-hour drive south of Denver and similar distance north of Albuquerque. Pay a small entrance fee. The park is open year-round although the sand gets scorching hot on summer days. 

Make U.S. national parks your choice for affordable adventure for all types of travelers. Slip and slide in the sand just like a child on your trip to Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve.


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Best Lodging Options Near Great Sand Dunes National Park

See all 42 Properties near Great Sand Dunes National Park
Great Sand Dunes Lodge
Great Sand Dunes Lodge

Great Sand Dunes Lodge

7900 CO-150, Mosca, CO
     
    2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Situated in Mosca, this hotel is within 6 mi (10 km) of Great Sand Dunes National Park, Pinyon Flats Campground, and High Dune. Zapata Falls and San Luis Lake State Park are also within 12 mi (20 km).

    Mountain View Motor Inn ¥9,802
    Mountain View Motor Inn

    Mountain View Motor Inn

    411 W US Highway 160, Fort Garland, CO
       
      2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Situated in the historical district, this hotel is 0.3 mi (0.5 km) from Fort Garland Museum and within 32 mi (52 km) of Zapata Falls and Rio Grande Scenic Railroad. Great Sand Dunes National Park is 29.8 mi (48 km) away.

      Rodeway Inn ¥8,606
      Rodeway Inn

      Rodeway Inn

      333 Santa Fe Avenue, Alamosa, CO
         
        2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

        Situated near the airport, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of San Luis Valley Museum and Rio Grande Scenic Railroad. Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge and Adams State University are also within 2 mi (3 km).

        Best Western Alamosa Inn ¥10,253
        Best Western Alamosa Inn

        Best Western Alamosa Inn

        2005 Main Street, Alamosa, CO
           
          2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

          Situated in Alamosa, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Adams State University and Rio Grande Scenic Railroad. San Luis Valley Museum and Alamosa Recreation Center are also within 3 mi (5 km).

          Days Inn by Wyndham Alamosa ¥10,070
          Days Inn by Wyndham Alamosa

          Days Inn by Wyndham Alamosa

          223 Santa Fe Avenue, Alamosa, CO
             
            2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Situated in Alamosa, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of San Luis Valley Museum and Rio Grande Scenic Railroad. Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge and Adams State University are also within 3 mi (5 km).

            Super 8 by Wyndham Alamosa ¥10,985
            Super 8 by Wyndham Alamosa

            Super 8 by Wyndham Alamosa

            2505 West Main, Hwy 160 West End of Town, Alamosa, CO
               
              2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Situated in Alamosa, this hotel is 1 mi (1.6 km) from Adams State University and within 3 mi (5 km) of Rio Grande Scenic Railroad and San Luis Valley Museum. Alamosa Recreation Center is 2.7 mi (4.3 km) away.

              Holiday Inn Express & Suites Alamosa ¥13,701
              Holiday Inn Express & Suites Alamosa

              Holiday Inn Express & Suites Alamosa

              3418 Mariposa, Alamosa, CO
                 
                2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in the heart of Alamosa, this hotel is within 3 mi (5 km) of Adams State University, Rio Grande Scenic Railroad, and San Luis Valley Museum. Alamosa Recreation Center and Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge are also within 6 mi (10 km).

                Hampton Inn Alamosa, CO ¥13,571
                Hampton Inn Alamosa, CO

                Hampton Inn Alamosa, CO

                710 Mariposa Street, Alamosa, CO
                   
                  2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Situated near the airport, this hotel is within 3 mi (5 km) of Adams State University, Rio Grande Scenic Railroad, and San Luis Valley Museum. Alamosa Recreation Center and Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge are also within 6 mi (10 km).