With a little help from some expert guides, you can tackle the tallest dunes in the Great Sand Dunes National Preserve! This high-energy video features a climb to the summit of Hidden Dune.
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1. It’s a Desert
The dunes of the Rub Al Khali desert are an incredible natural wonder. They are a playground for adventurers who like to sandboard, dune ski and 4×4 desert driving, but there is also a lot more to do here.
Dunes are usually mounds of sand that form when the wind blows sand into a sheltered area behind an obstacle, such as a hill or another dune. The sand then slowly builds up into a pyramid-shaped structure.
A large mountainous dune in Great Sand Dunes National Preserve is known as the “Hidden Dune.” Hikers can take the challenge to scale this huge feature by hiking up a steep tundra trail that overlooks a vast dunefield and Medano Lake. Hikers will be rewarded with stunning views of the entire 30 square mile dunefield.
2. It’s a Wild Area
In the past, Glamis was a wild place full of dangerous competition and unregulated recreation. Now it’s a safer and more family-friendly adventure area.
OHV recreation is the main draw to the dunes but there are also opportunities for hiking, bird watching and scenic viewing of Park and Medicine Bow Mountain Ranges. The dunes themselves have huge flat sandy areas, small hills and bowls. Some have dangerous swirls called witches eyes and are hard to ride up or down.
If you’re smart, have the right gear and buckle your kids up, an adventure at the dunes can be a thrilling time! Just like any outdoor adventure, there are owwies and accidents that happen. It’s all part of the fun. Just plan accordingly.
3. It’s a Natural Wonder
The sand dunes of Great Sand Dunes National Park are mesmerizing as they stretch out over the horizon in an endless vista. This otherworldly landscape draws visitors from all over the world.
Lumpy once drove for two days in Australia’s Simpson Desert, the largest dune system in the world. He learned that it takes a lot of up-down climbing to ride a bowl. He also found that if you break down or get lost, no one will find you for 100 years!
Bing Crosby’s popular 1940s musical hit “The Singing Sands of Alamosa” was inspired by the humming sound made when air moves through the tumbling sand grains in an avalanche. Listen for yourself!
4. It’s a Place of Adventure
Great Sand Dunes National Park isn’t just a place for geologists and NASA scientists to study its mind boggling sand dunes, the tallest in North America, but it’s also a destination for adventure travelers as well. From hiking to a slot canyon to ATV riding, this park offers a variety of activities for visitors to experience its unique landscape.
If you’re a thrill seeker, come on an Extreme Sand Dune Adventures tour to try off-road driving on this wild terrain! You can enjoy a fun ride with your friends on our family-friendly Painted Gorge Tour or go all out and get an adrenaline rush with our extreme Sand & Splash Tour! Just remember that no matter what you do, always drive in groups and use a whip flag to help others see you.
5. It’s a Place of Discovery
Colorado is known for snow-capped mountain peaks, alpine lakes, and summer hiking, but the state also happens to be home to a surreal 30-square mile sand dune field. At an elevation of 8,200ft, Great Sand Dunes National Preserve provides a diverse range of opportunities for outdoor adventure.
From OHV recreation to backpacking and camping, there’s no shortage of adventures to be had. Backpackers can traverse the dunes and pitch a tent in an awe-inspiring landscape, while four-wheel drivers enjoy the thrill of driving on the vast sand hills.
Hikers can trek to summits like Hidden Dune, which is named for its remote location within the dunefield and not visible from the main day-use areas of the park. They can also hike trails to the alpine Medano Lake, where the water glistens in the sun.