Spring has arrived, and we’re excited about storing our snow gear and finding new surfaces to play on. But, it can be hard to quit the snow sports cold turkey. Camping, hiking, and backpacking in the Great Sand Dunes is a great way to ease your way off the slopes. You can get your fix of swooping down a slope really fast, and you can get in some spectacular hikes in between.
What Makes the Great Sand Dunes so Great?
The Great Sand Dunes has a long and rich history. As you sit at your campsite taking in the views of the Great Sand Dunes in the San Luis Valley, imagine herds of mammoths and prehistoric bison grazing all around. And, when you go for a day hike or backpack in the Great Sand Dunes National Park, imagine walking in the footsteps of nomadic hunters and gatherers that date all the way back to the stone age.
Camping in the Great Sand Dunes
There are plenty of campgrounds both in and just outside of Great Sand Dunes National Park. Piñon Flats Campground is the only campground located inside the park and is open April through October. All sites, individual and group, are first come first serve. The campsite has sinks, toilets, and water. And, there are firepits, a grate, and a picnic table at each site. Of course, these only make up the beginnings of a campsite. It’s up to you to personalize and accessorize.
Hiking and Backpacking in the Great Sand Dunes
You can leave camp to explore the Dunes, the wildlife and the plant life on forested trails, alpine trails, wetlands, shrublands, and grasslands. Check the conditions first, and make sure you are familiar with your surroundings. Most trails allow overnight backpacking. Decide how long you plan to stay out on your hike and be sure to pack the right hiking and backpacking gear to keep you safe, and comfortable.
Explore the Dunes
To go backpacking overnight in the Dunes you need to get a permit. Since no more than 20 people are allowed to camp in the 30 square mile dune field at one time, you must get your permit early to claim your space. Backpacking in the Dunes is only permitted when the weather conditions are right. Be aware that when it is calm and clear, you can fall asleep under a magnificent starry sky, with the moonlight lighting up your camp.
Sandboarding and Sand Sledding
You can’t visit the Dunes without trying sand boarding and sand sledding. After all, this is why you came. To blow off a little steam on the slopes. Just like your specialized snow sports gear, the boards and sleds we use are specially made for sand, so leave your skis and your snowboards at home. The best times to hit the dunes for a little sand action is early morning or late afternoon. Try to avoid the high sun, cause it gets hot out there on the sand.
Outdoors Geek has camping gear rental packages for individuals to large groups. Get everything you need to explore the Great Sand Dunes National Park, from tents, backpacks, hiking gear and camping accessories. We can even ship the gear to your campsite.