Park Campground and Medano Pass Road Closed for Winter
The Pinon Flats Campground is closed for the winter season until April 1. The Medano Pass Road remains closed for winter at Castle Creek Picnic area until snow and ice melt out. More »
Main Park Phone Lines Down
The main phone lines to the Visitor Center and primary park numbers are not operational. Individual staff lines are still functional. Please call 719-378-6373 to reach the Visitor Center.
While Sand Creek contains exotic trout species such as rainbow, brook, and brown, Medano Creek is an important habitat for native fish species. The Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout (Oncorhynchus clarki virginalis) historically occupied the Rio Grande Basin and associated drainages in southern Colorado and New Mexico. At present, it occupies about 15% of that range, mostly in the headwaters of the upper Rio Grande watershed. Medano Creek serves as an important biological refugia for this trout, because it is a closed system where exotic species cannot enter; the creek is bounded by an alpine basin at its source, and the Great Sand Dunes at its terminus.
Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout are catch and release only; they are on the candidate list for threatened/endangered species at the federal level. The US Fish and Wildlife Service determined in 2009 that while there is sufficient evidence to support federal listing, the listing is currently precluded due to higher priorities. These trout are currently on the Colorado state list as a Species of Special Concern.
Colorado Division of Wildlife
The Rio Grande sucker (Catostomus plebeius) is an endangered species in Colorado. These small fish have been reintroduced to forested sections of Medano Creek, and their population is still being monitored.
Did You Know?
Ute, Apache, and other tribes peeled bark from pine trees for food and medicine. Over 100 of these culturally peeled trees are still living in Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. More...