Destinations

Unique Colorado: Great Sand Dunes National Park

May 18, 2013 by

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Did you know that the tallest sand dunes in North America are in Colorado? Most of us think of the Rocky Mountains when we think of Colorado, but in South Central Colorado lies another geographical wonder, the Great Sand Dunes National Park. The parkĀ is a must visit on your next trip to Colorado.

The sand is left behind from an ancient lake that once covered the valley and has now receded. The wind that funnels downward from the two mountain ranges encompasses the valley and forces the sand into a corner where it grows higher, into dunes.

The dunes shift on a daily basis, making it seem like they’re alive, dancing with the wind.

The Medano Creek and the Sand Creek snake around the the dunes contributing to the formation of the dunes by bringing sediment down from the mountains into the sandy heaps.

Another unique feature of these creeks is their “surge flow,” found in few creeks around the world. This surge creates a small wave that barrels down the river every 20 seconds, making the creek a great playground for kids and adults alike. The creeks offer a nice break from the hot sun!

The park is great for just a day visit, or for a few nights of camping. It is open year round and entrance costs $3. There is a large camping area for overnight guests.

There’s plenty to keep to you busy. Plan to hike, sled on the dunes, and splash around in the creek. Also, be sure to check out nearby wetlands, grasslands, Zapata Falls, and the endless alpine trails for all the different views of the dunes.

Photo Source: Flickr/markbyzewski



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