Don’t miss these beautiful white sand dunes! They are the largest in the United States and are located in south central Colorado near Alamosa. Its photographic beauty, unique geology, and family friendliness makes it one of the best places to visit in Colorado.
Photography: For photography enthusiasts, The Great Sand Dunes National Park has ample opportunity to create beautiful images. Rolling dunes are juxtaposed against jagged mountains to the east and brush plains to the west. Wildlife such as: prong horns, water fowl, birds of prey and large jack rabbits proliferate this unique environment. Likewise, it makes a stunning backdrop for creating family portraits, as I did with my children while they played on the sand and in the adjacent creek.
Geology: Nestled against the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the dunes started to form around 440,000 thousand years ago when the prehistoric Lake Alamosa began to dry up due to climatic warming. The exposed lake shore sands could then be picked up by the prevailing winds, migrating east along the rift valley floor. As they came against the towering mountains, they formed the 700 ft tall dunes we see today.
Family Fun: What really draws us to The Great Sand Dunes is the wide shallow stream that flows at the base of the dunes in the spring and fall. The stream is the most fun to play in during peak run off, typically the last two weeks of May and first two weeks of June. What makes this stream so special is that the sand produces waves in the creek about every twenty seconds. If you plan on camping in the national park, near by state park campgrounds or lodging, make sure to plan on spending a good part of the day riding the waves and sunning on sand beaches, beneath snow capped peaks.
Visit the official Great Sand Dunes National Park website for more details about the park, www.nps.gov/grsa/index.htm.
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Love your blog!!! I have wonderful childhood memories of this place 🙂
Jess, thanks for your comment! It is just as amazing to take your kids there as it was going there as a child. The looks on my children’s faces were of pure bliss as they played in the creek waves!