The 2018 Visitor Guide (pdf, 2 MB) provides the best planning maps and overview of the park and preserve.
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Welcome to Great Sand Dunes!
Exploring Dunes, Grasslands, Forests, Lakes, and Alpine Peaks
Many visitors are surprised at the huge size and diversity of this park, and wish they had planned more time. Plan to experience at least two or three ecosystems during your stay to have the most fulfilling visit. Discover Things to Do and how to experience them. View and print a Map of Permitted Pet Areas.
Spending the Night
Find detailed information on camping and lodging options in and near the park, or link to make reservations at Pñon Flats Campground in the national park. Plan ahead to experience the night at Great Sand Dunes.
Great Sand Dunes is a high elevation park in the Rocky Mountains, ranging from 7515 ft (2308m) to 13,604 ft (4146m). Storms can arise quickly, bringing cold, wet conditions any time of year. Be prepared for a wide variety of conditions during your visit.
Summer high temperatures average 80 F, with lows in the 40s F. However, sand surface temperatures often reach 150 F in the afternoon before thunderstorms develop. In summer, plan your dunes time for early morning or evening to avoid burned feet, heat exhaustion, or lightning strikes. Summer afternoons are a great time to hike or 4WD into mountain areas of the park, as well as splash in nearby Zapata Falls.
Fall conditions are usually excellent, with sunny, calm days in the 60s-70s F and chilly nights.
Winter days are generally sunny and cold with highs in the teens - 20s F. The sand may feel warm in the intense alpine sun, but be prepared for blizzards anytime and subzero temperatures at night.
Spring can mean anything from blizzards to warm swimsuit weather - sometimes in one day! March and April are the two swowiest months in Colorado, but there are also warm days. Spring is the windy season throughout the western United States, and Great Sand Dunes may also be windy during a spring visit. Afternoons are usually the windiest part of the day; plan to hike on the dunes in morning. Late spring usually brings pleasant temperatures along with the peak flow of Medano Creek in late May.
Temperatures are relatively cool all year, thanks to the park and preserve's high elevation. Conditions are most often calm, but winds can arise, especially in spring and during storm fronts. Daytime temperatures feel warmer here year round due to intense high-altitude sunlight, and a scorching mid-day summer sand surface. Plan to explore the dunes morning or evening during summer. Nights are cool in summer, and frigid in winter. Visit the Great Sand Dunes website for the most accurate weather forecasts.
Non-Commercial Vehicle and Occupants - $20.00
Passenger vehicle with all occupants; fee valid for 7 days.
Oversized Vehicle, 15+ passengers, age 16+ - $10.00
Per passenger, 16 years and older in oversized vehicle, including 15 passenger vans, small buses, etc. Valid for 7 days. Passengers under 16 are free.
Motorcycle and Riders - $15.00
One motorcycle and all its riders; valid for 7 days.
Great Sand Dunes Annual Family Pass - $40.00
Covers one family's entrance for 12 months from time of purchase. Valid for two adults with signatures plus others in vehicle.
Great Sand Dunes Visitor Center
The Visitor Center is open 8:30-5:00 Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend, and 9:00-4:30 the rest of the year. It features: -20-minute movie about the park - Interactive exhibits for all ages - Park store - Exhibit area of fine art paintings and photography - First Aid Room - Back porch with viewing scope - Restrooms and drinking water - Simple snacks - Firewood for sale (when campground concessioner is not open) - Rangers to answer questions and help you plan your visit
Last updated: February 21, 2018