Desert lovers, this location isn't only for you! I encourage anyone who's in the Southwest to spend hours climbing the tall, picturesque sand dunes in the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve of Colorado. With the mountains as your backdrop, and a surrounding area of grasslands, forests and alpine lakes, this spot has it all. I've traveled the world visiting endless deserts and dunes and I can confidently say that this place makes my top 3 list.
Non-commercial car & occupants: $25 valid for 7 days
Zoom lens (93mm)
Wide-angle lens (24-70mm lens; optional)
Camera rain sleeve cover (to protect from sand)
How to get there
N37° 46' 28.6018"W105° 31' 47.861"
This image of the model on the sand dune was taken in the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. The best way to get to this location is to drive and then camp overnight.
If you plan to stay at the campground, be sure to book in advanced on their website to secure a spot (https://www.nps.gov/grsa). Also, ensure you're there at the right time to get your pass from the visitor center. Otherwise, you can test your luck upon arrival for any available spots.
To access the entrance to the dunes go to the Great Sand Dunes Visitor Center (address: 11999 CO-150, Mosca, CO 81146). From there, you can continue to a campsite (if available) or park for the day of hiking. Another alternative would be getting a back-country camping pass and hiking toward the back into the dunes to set up camp. The dunes are across the way from this area.
Once you get to the dunes, there is no "wrong" way up them, just find a spot to start exploring. Don't be afraid to get lost in the dunes and have fun exploring lots of different compositions!
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Best times to go
Current weather conditions and times around twilight