Great Sand Dunes National Park

Great Sand Dunes National Park Great Sand Dunes National Park

We greatly underestimated the beautiful uniqueness and fun of the Great Sand Dunes National Park, but it is probably a good thing. If we had stopped there on the way to Mesa Verde as we originally planned, we might not have made it across the state. As it happened, now we know of a really great place within a day’s drive of Denver to return to when we go back.

The dunes were formed by wind blowing sand into a curved valley, and topping at 750 feet high, they are the tallest dunes in North America. Medano Creek flows in front of the dunes, where a crowd of all ages enjoyed playing in the ankle-deep water as if they were at a North Carolina beach in the low tide pools. Kids made sand castles and makeshift dams, people laid out and tossed footballs and picnicked.

We tried to walk a little ways into the dunes, but were driven back by the wind-borne sand.

Great Sand Dunes National Park Great Sand Dunes National Park

So we splashed our way up the creek.

 Great Sand Dunes National Park

Great Sand Dunes National Park Forest fire near Great Sand Dunes National Park

The Medano Fire is still burning today. There are links to video footage on the park website.