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Where to rent
The National Park does not rent sandsleds or sandboards; these may be rented or purchased at retailers in the San Luis Valley. Some retailers are a 45 minute drive away from the dunes in the off season. Plan to rent gear before arriving at the park.
Where to go
Sandboarding, sledding, and skiing are permitted anywhere on the dunefield away from vegetated areas. From the main Dunes Parking Area, it's a minimum 0.7 mile (1km) hike to get to the small or medium-sized slopes; the top of the first high ridge is 1.25 miles. Smaller slopes at the base are fine for young children, while teens and adults may prefer longer slopes near the top of the first high ridge of dunes.
Sand sledding or sandboarding can be fun with the right gear and conditions. Below are tips for an enjoyable and safe sledding or sandboarding experience at Great Sand Dunes.
Plan your dunes time for early morning or evening during summer to avoid a 150 degree F sand surface or thunderstorms. In spring and fall, sand temperatures are usually moderate throughout the day, but spring afternoons can be very windy.
While Castle Creek Picnic Area (4WD only) provides close access to high slopes, sledders who can't stop may crash into the firm creekbed sand at the base. Instead, it is recommended to sled on the first high ridge of dunes, accessible from the main Dunes Parking Area. At the base of most dunes in this area is softer sand and a gentler runout to slow you down.
Sledding/Sandboarding has a high potential for injuries to occur if safety precautions aren't considered. If injuries occur, assistance from ranger staff may be required. Sledding beyond the first high ridge of dunes will make it more difficult to receive timely assistance.
Last updated: November 1, 2020