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Boulder, CO

A guide to the wilderness of the West.

Great Sand Dunes

Trip Date: January 
Location: Great Sand Dunes National Park

Miles: 2-10, depending on how far into the dunes you want to explore
Vert: 500'
Start/Finish: Medano Creek Parking or Point of No Return
Permit Required?: Yes.  No quota.  Available for free at the Visitor Center
Season: Year Round; every time I have backpacked into the Dunes has been in the dead of winter (January).  Temperatures were cold (around 0 degrees at night on one occasion) but you'll have the place to yourself.  Be sure to check the forecast diligently for a time frame where the wind is predicted to be 5 mph or less.
Directions: Found here

A frozen Medano Creek

30 square miles of shifting dune fields containing the tallest dunes in North America 

A night on the dunes, camp anywhere you please after crossing the first ridge.

Dune wallking

Dune wallking