Star Dune

A huge pyramid-shaped dune and jagged, snow-capped peaks at sunset
Star Dune is one of the two tallest dunes in North America.

NPS/Patrick Myers

Quick Facts
Southwest part of dunefield
One of the tallest dunes in North America
National Park and Wilderness Area

Scenic View/Photo Spot

Star Dune is currently tied with Hidden Dune as the two tallest dunes in North America. It is a majestic dune now measuring 741 feet (225 m) from base to summit. While it can be hiked from the summit of High Dune on First Ridge, it's more direct, and less up and down, to access it via its base along the Medano Creek bed. From the Dunes Parking Lot, hike about 2 miles (3.2 km) south down the Medano Creek bed until the massive pyramid-shaped Star Dune comes into view. Follow a ridge to its summit.

GPS coordinates for Star Dune:
37.7517639, -105.5580583

Average round trip hiking time for High Dune is 6 hours over 6 miles (9.6 km). There is no trail. Popular hiking applications are often inaccurate. Plan to take as much as 9 hours to hike round trip, if not acclimated to the high altitude and lower oxygen level. In summer, plan to hike very early morning to avoid 150 degree F sand or thunderstorms with lightning. Winds can occur any time of year during storm fronts and most often in afternoon hours. Frigid temperatures and blizzards are common in winter.

Discover unusual insects, plants, wildlife tracks, ripples, and sand grains of every color. In warmer months, watch for one of 7 species of endemic insects, found nowhere else in the world, that are specially adapted to the extreme environment here.

Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve

Last updated: January 20, 2022