Thursday, March 19, 2015

Great Sand Dunes National Park, CO

There's sand everywhere! Located in Colorado's San Luis valley near Mosca, Colorado is quite possibly one of the most unique national parks in the system: Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. Pictures just don't do this place justice. Surrounded by dozens of miles of open range country, as far as the eyes can see and skyrocketing 12k, 13k and 14,000 ft snow-capped mountains, are massive sand dunes. Spanning 30 square miles in, these dunes, one rising even 750ft!, are the tallest in North America. Caused first by mountain erosion in which sand enters nearby streams, like the Medano Creek (which you have to cross on foot to access the dunes) . The sand is then....

 blown by gusty winds towards these Sangre De Cristo Mountains hiding around the dunes. The sand builds up, and builds up, and builds up. Crazy fact I learned was that in peak summer weather, the sand itself can roast up to 150 degrees! This place is just so wild and cool. It's mind-boggling beautiful and jaw-dropping how this is random geographic feature is just here way high up in the mountains. While it's in a pretty remote part of Colorado, it's totally worth checking out! This has been on my outdoors bucket list, and now I've crossed it off. See the photos below, which can be enlarged by clicking on them: