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.
The National Park Service does not rent sandsleds or sandboards; these may be rented or purchased at four retailers in the San Luis Valley.
Kristi Mountain Sports in Alamosa, 40 miles southwest of the Great Sand Dunes Visitor Center, rents sandsleds and sandboards year round. Follow the link or call 719-589-9759. To protect the special slick material on the bottom of each board, Kristi will not rent them when the sand is frozen.
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.
Last updated: November 15, 2019