Great Sand Dunes
National Park & Preserve Colorado


2019 Calendar of Events

More events will be added as they are confirmed!
College Girl remotely operating a sand robotic rover
Numerous groups compete with their own sand rovers while learning about the technology of NASA's Mars Rovers.

NPS/Patrick Myers

Saturday, April 13, 8:00am-11:00am

Sand Robotics Challenge, Sponsored by NASA and Adams State University

Great Sand Dunes are very similar to the dunes on planet Mars, where NASA rovers explore and do scientific research. Each spring, NASA and Adams State University sponsor a sand robotics challenge, where college student teams and the general public can compete with their own homemade rovers and learn about the technology of Mars rovers! The competition takes place in the Medano Creekbed, outside the designated wilderness area of the dunefield. Learn more on the Colorado Space Consortium's website. Free entrance to the park this day!

A free ranger program related to the event will take place at the visitor center from 11am-Noon: Parks & Planets: How NASA Research in the National Parks Aids Space Exploration. The ranger will discuss dune and wind research at Great Sand Dunes and the findings on Mars, as well as show research being done in other National Parks by NASA.
Amphitheater at Night During Ranger Program
Summer evening ranger programs are popular for all ages!

NPS/Graham Oden

Friday, May 24 - Saturday, September 28

Summer Ranger Programs

Evening programs or night hikes will be offered on most weekends in the summer at the outdoor amphitheater. Afternoon programs on weekends and some weekdays will allow visitors to learn more about the unique resources of Great Sand Dunes. View the current ranger program schedule.
View of Visitor Center with Mountains in Background
Great Sand Dunes Visitor Center

NPS/Patrick Myers

Friday, May 24 - Monday, September 2

Extended Visitor Center Hours

Great Sand Dunes will offer extended visitor center hours starting Friday, May 24 through Labor Day weekend. The visitor center will be open daily from 8:30am to 5pm.
Jicarilla Apache Dancer
A Jicarilla Apache girl leads a round dance with the public.

NPS Photo

Saturday, July 13

Jicarilla Apache Stories, Crafts, and Dance

Jicarilla Apache have a longtime connection with Great Sand Dunes. Members of the tribe will share their culture through a variety of artforms during this special day. Informal storytelling, crafts, and sharing will take place at the Great Sand Dunes Visitor Center from 10:00 am -3:00 pm. Then at 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm, the Jicarilla Apache Mundo Dancers will take the stage at the park Amphitheater for two 30-minute presentations.
Kids Jumping with Ranger
Kids do the kangaroo rat jumping race on Junior Ranger Day!

NPS/Patrick Myers

Saturday, August 3, 9 am – 1 pm

Junior Ranger Day

Junior Ranger Day is a fun opportunity for kids of all ages to participate in exploratory learning activities and games. Participants will have the opportunity to earn prizes after completing a variety of activities. This event is made possible with generous support from Friends of the Dunes. Entrance fees are waived for this entire day!
Bessie Konichi
Bessie Konishi

Saturday, August 17, 1:00 pm
Visitor Center

Japanese Heritage of the San Luis Valley

Lifelong valley resident and historian Bessie Konishi will share photos and stories of the thousands of Japanese Americans who settled in this valley beginning in the early 20th century.

Milky Way over Great Sand Dunes
The Milky Way gently glows over the dunes and Mount Herard.

NPS/Patrick Myers

Saturday, August 24, 7:00 pm - 10:30 pm

Great Sand Dunes Dark Sky Celebration

This year Great Sand Dunes NPP has been certified as an official International Dark Sky Park by the International Dark Sky Association. Celebrate this important international recognition and experience the beauty of the night with park staff and amateur astronomers!

7:00 PM - 8:15 PM
Unveiling of Black Granite Plaque for Great Sand Dunes' certification as an International Dark Sky Park, refreshments.

7:00 PM - 8:15 PM
Kids' Table/Activities

8:15 PM - 9:00 PM
‘The Disappearing Darkness' - Program by Astronomy Volunteer Bob Bohley

9:00 PM - 10:30 PM
Telescope Viewing and Laser-Guided Constellation Tours
Moon Showing Craters
The moon will be about 2/3 full, allowing for optimum crater viewing.
Saturday, September 7, 8:00 pm

Celebration of the Moon

In honor of the 50th anniversary of NASA's first Apollo mission to the surface of the moon, join us for an evening program about our Moon. Learn about the ways Apollo astronauts practiced in national parks in preparation for their moon landings. This program takes place during a 2/3 full moon for optimum lunar crater viewing, weather permitting.
Top photo of Mariachi San Luis posed in a group with instruments, and bottom photo of three musicians from Soul Sacrifice playing on a stage.
Mariachi San Luis (t0p) opens the concert at 5:30 pm, followed by Soul Sacrifice (bottom) at 6:30 pm.

Alamosa Live Music Association

Sunday, September 15, 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Free Concert Kicks off Hispanic Heritage Month

To celebrate the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month, Great Sand Dunes and the Alamosa Live Music Association present a concert featuring Mariachi San Luis at 5:30 pm, and Soul Sacrifice, a Santana tribute band, beginning at 6:30 pm. The concert is free, and entrance fees have been waived the entire day and evening.

Kevin Larkin playing mandolin on left, and Erica Prather dancing beside a mountain lake on right
Kevin Larkin and Erica Prather

Copyright Kevin Larkin and Erica Prather

Saturday, October 5

Dunes Dance and Music Workshop

Dance and music duo Erica Prather and Kevin Larkin will create an opportunity for visitors to get creative at the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve on October 5, 2019. Their concept “Micro Motus and Musicorum” - tiny movement and music - will engage park visitors to experience the park by exploring concepts that relate to both forms of artistic expression. What aspects of the sand dunes ecosystem might we miss in our pursuit to climb them? How do you move differently on sand? What does sand sound like? What wildlife, large or small, can be found at the park? How do they move? What sounds do they make? Visitors will make shakers out of sand, experience the Whispering Sand sound installation, imitate animal movements, and explore the unique landscape through creativity.

Whispering Sand Station
All Ages
Visitor Center Patio 10:00 am - 1:00 pm

What if you could hear a single grain of sand? In this solar powered, interactive sound installation you can! Visitors pour sand into different funnels with tiny microphones attached to them. The sound of the sand is processed with granular audio effects and amplified into speakers that surround the table.

Shaker Building Station
All Ages
Visitor Center Patio
10:00 am - 1:00 pm

Visitors make shakers and noise makers out of sand and junk, then learn simple rhythms and have an inclusive music-making experience.

Dance of the Dunes
All Ages

On the Sand near Dunes Parking Lot
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Experience a drum jam that leads into interpretive movement in a beautiful setting! This is an open jam where all visitors are welcome to participate by either picking up shakers and drums or dancing in the circle. Erica guides the visitors in interpreting the movements of the different flora and fauna within the park. Kevin guides the visitors in creating a rhythm inspired the movement. Erica shares the micro and macro movements within the park, exploring the nature of the unique creates within the park. Visitors learn about the ecology, biology, and eco-system and how the creatures move within.


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Last updated: September 24, 2019

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Visitor Center
11999 State Highway 150

Mosca, CO 81146


(719) 378-6395

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