The city of Colorado Springs is 6,008 feet above sea level and it took a while to get use to hiking at that level.
Leaving there and heading for Great Sand Dunes National Park was interesting. We left the Interstate system
behind and traveled west on either US or State highways. We crossed over the Sangre de Cristo Mountains at La
Veta Pass which is 9,413 feet. That was the highest we climbed in the Winnebago motor home. On our Alaskan
trip our highest climb was 8,541 feet and that was in Wyoming.
After passing over La Veta we dropped down into the San Luis Valley which averages 7,500 feet above sea level. The National Park visitors center and campground are at 8,210 feet. The sand dunes, which are the tallest in North America rise above that. The dunes cover 30 square miles and the sand continues around the dunes in the valley for another 300 square miles. The valley is bordered in the west by the San Juan mountains. There are peaks in both mountains which exceed 14,000 feet. The US's 3rd largest river, The Rio Grande, starts in this valley. Leaving the valley to the east, west, or north requires traveling over passes of greater than 9 or 10 thousand feet.
Back to the Summer/Fall 2006 Travel Directory