Photographer on Dunes
A photographer studies the unusual form of a sand avalanche.

NPS/Patrick Myers

Whether you seek to capture abstract sand/shadow patterns, people splashing on a beach, or majestic views of dunes with snowcapped peaks, the Great Sand Dunes landscape provides opportunities for all styles of photography.


Photographic Opportunities in Each Season

Below are example photos taken throughout the year, with each season's unique opportunities described along with the photographer's location.
Gold Cottonwoods, Dunes, and Snow-Capped Mountains
Cottonwood trees along Medano Creek peak in mid-October, as snow showers increasingly blanket the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Photo taken with zoom lens from entrance road.

NPS/Patrick Myers

Gold Cottonwoods Along Medano Creek
Medano Creek is typically dry in fall, unless it has been a wet year. There is usually some water flowing on the east side of the dunefield near Castle Creek Picnic Area, accessible by high clearance 4WD or by hiking. Cottonwoods generally peak around mid-October, as snow showers often dust the mountains. Photo taken a few hundred yards (meters) above the Dunes Parking Area.

NPS/Patrick Myers

Elk herd in foreground, partially snow-covered Star Dune in background
From November through April, snow falls about once per week on the dunefield.  Elk (pictured) and pronghorn are more commonly seen in these quieter months. Photo taken from near park entrance. Follow weather forecasts on the park weather page.

NPS/Patrick Myers

Snow covered Star Dune and Crestone Peaks at Sunset
The dunes get snow on them about once per week in winter months. Photo taken with a telephoto lens from park entrance, where the dramatic 14,000 foot Crestone Peaks are visible above the dunes.

NPS/Patrick Myers

Last updated: February 27, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Visitor Center
11999 State Highway 150

Mosca, CO 81146


(719) 378-6395
Great Sand Dunes Visitor Center main number

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