Having moved out of Colorado, I've come to appreciate the beauty and diversity of what it has to offer. Last weekend, we took the 4-hour drive from Denver and headed south for some desert sun. Having woken up at 2 am in an effort to catch the sunrise (that didn't happen), we started the drive at around 4 am. The best part about going to the Sand Dunes at this hour is that we didn't have to pay a park entrance fee, there were very few people in the park, and the heat was pretty manageable. Our goal was to trek to the top of the dunes until we realized the top was far within reach. Let's just say, trekking in the sand isn't as easy as they make it seem on the internet.
Here are some fun facts about the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
· It's the tallest dunes in North America
· It's ranging from wetlands to forest to tundra-each supporting specially adapted plant, animal and insect life.
· In the summer months, sand temperatures can go up to 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
· Lighting is a possibility, especially during the warmer months.
· The best photo opportunities are at sunrise and sunset when the shadows form on the sand.
This national park is so unique (at least to me) in that, on your left side there's a beautiful range of sand and on your right side, there's an even more beautiful range of mountains. It's truly an experience to be had and should be on your Colorado bucket list.
Within the area, there are some nearby public lands that are worth visiting as well.
· Zapata Falls (3miles up a very bumpy road, then another ½ trek in rocks)
· South Zapata Lake ( 10miles roundtrip from the Zapata Falls Parking Area)
· Blanca Wetlands (Located 14 miles SE of Mosca; from Highway 17, take County Road 2S east 7 miles. Closed for nesting Feb.15 to July 15)
Here are some pics from Zapata Falls
Have you been to the Sand Dunes?
Share your experience.