North Mosca, Colorado: Highest Sand Dune in North America

750 feet high and not as easy to climb as it looks. You know how sand is.

Great Sand Dunes National Monument

Address:
1150 Hwy 150, North Mosca, CO
Directions:
Great Sand Dunes National Monument, 35 miles northeast of Alamosa, Colorado, reached by US Highway 160 and Colorado Highway 150 from the south. or from Colorado Highway 17 and County Six Mile Lane from the west to Visitor Center.
Phone:
719-378-6399
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Pearce family ascent of dune. Great Sand Dunes National Park - Big Pile of Sand

When we visited the Great Sand Dunes National Park, we thought it would be a breeze to hike from the park HQ to the top of High Dune... not so fast. Turns out the soft features of the dunes gives you the illusion that "things are closer than they may appear", and as you ascend the dunes, the loose sand slips you back... So, as the saying goes in the park, "Two Steps Forward, One Step Back".

Once at the top, you have the most amazing panoramic view of the Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range with miles and miles of sand dunes in the foreground. When you look toward the southeast, you will see an even taller dune called Star Dune, it is the highest dune in North America (750 feet). It had taken us over two hours to climb to the top of High Dune, but it only took us twenty minutes to get back down.

[Bob Pearce, 06/12/2009]
Sand dunes. Great Sand Dunes National Park - Big Pile of Sand

The Great Sand Dunes National Monument is a great big pile of sand, a colossal mountain of the stuff. It towers 750 feet high, offering magnificent views of the Sangre de Christo mountain range. And sand...lots and lots of sand. It's not really a beach, because there is no shoreline. But there is plenty of sand. Imagine an ashtray that's 30 square miles.

[Jim Fritzsche, 03/15/2005]

June 2009 - photo added.

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