Great Sand Dunes National Park - Part 2

Pinyon Flats CG,Great Sand Dunes NP, Colorado
August 15-16, 2,894 miles and 29 days into the trip.

Back to the Summer/Fall 2006 Travel Directory

During a movie, at the visitors center, we learned that the best time to climb on the dunes was either in the morning or late after noon. The sun really causes the sand to get hot and you can not step on it with your bare feet or even sit down without a pad to sit on. The movie also showed snowboarders going down the dunes. We did not see any while we were there.

The dunes shift as the wind shifts, but their height remains almost constant. So when the west wind blows the peaks move toward the east. And then move back when the East wind blows. The wind directions and speeds seem to cancel out over the year. Therefore, the dunes on the average, are always in the same place every year and the same height.

We decide to enter onto the lower dunes that evening to see what it was like. The sand is coarser then what we were used to and it also does not stick to your skin. On the dunes it is all sand, but in the flats before the dunes there are some small stones so you have to watch were you step if you are bare footed. The flats are actually a river bed which has run off from the mountains during spring snow melt or summer heavy rain.


Walking on the flats on the way to the dunes.
The sand is cool in the evening.


Looking back at Mom in the flats.
I'm on one of the lower dunes.
I would call them "foot dunes" akin to "foot hills."


Enjoying the sights from a sand dune.

The tallest dune is 750 feet or 8,060 feet above sea level.
Thats the tallest peak in the background.


I decided to try and climb the dunes tomorrow.
I'll be wearing hiking boots to give myself a larger foot print. I'm slipping too much in bare feet and I also will be climbing during the heat of the day.

Back to the Summer/Fall 2006 Travel Directory