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Old 03-14-2012, 10:49 AM
 
Location: Littleton, CO
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Think I'm going to head down to the Great Sand Dunes National Park and camp this weekend. Haven't been down that way yet (from Denver). Besides the obvious stuff of hiking on the dunes, is there any other must see things either in the park, around the park, or on the drive down?

Looks like it's I-25S past Pueblo and west from Walsenburg

Thanks
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Old 03-14-2012, 10:52 AM
 
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Default Zapata Falls

Zapata Falls

They also have a free campground if you want a great place to stay free near the sand dunes.
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Old 03-14-2012, 11:47 AM
 
Location: Southeastern Colorado
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HOT SPRINGS! Don't miss 'em! Have you thought about going 285 from Denver - or is that too long a route for you?
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Old 03-14-2012, 01:39 PM
 
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Great Sand Dunes National Park is a great place to visit, but March is about the ugliest time of year to go there. There will be nothing green--I mean nothing, the wind can be blowing like crazy, and the temperatures can be cold. The best time to visit the Sand Dunes is in August, in my opinion. The temperatures in the San Luis Valley can be warm--into the high 80's with intense sunshine at that time, but--in a normal year--there will be some afternoon cloudiness from the Southwest Monsoon that can cool things off some. There might even be an afternoon shower then, but quite often the afternoon thunderstorms confine themselves to the higher mountains and the valley will get little more than some clouds. Late spring and early summer (until around mid-July, usually) can be very dry in the SLV which can brown things up pretty fast--especially after a dry winter like the one we are experiencing this year. The only plus to a March visit will be a lack of crowds, but--if my predictions about the effects of the national economic situation and fuel prices for this summer are correct--I think this summer is going to be a pretty sparse one for tourism, anyway. Interestingly, just the opposite from the predictions of the proponents of designating the Great Sand Dunes as a National Park, visitation has actually declined since its designation to a National Park from a National Monument.
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Old 03-14-2012, 04:35 PM
 
Location: Wherabouts Unknown!
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I was hiking on the dunes a few years back during Labor Day Weekend in early September and the weather was perfect. The sun was still quite hot, but thankfully no wind. Hiking in the sand dunes would not be very pleasant in the wind...not pleasant at all. Be aware that every step you take in the dunes requires alot more energy than walking on terra firma, so the muscles in your legs will get tired and sore more quickly. About an hour north of the dunes is a little resort called Joyful Journey Hot Springs. A soak in the hot water is just what the doctored ordered after a hike in the sand dunes.
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Old 03-14-2012, 05:23 PM
 
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Wink If sand dunes, think Crestone, maybe

Since at the sand dunes, you might also check out the small town of Crestone, which (if remote) is in the general vicinity.

Alamosa is the largest town in the valley, with most options in services and lodging. But this is possible in Crestone as well, and you might end up with something very interesting. As nestled against the western flanks of the Sangre de Cristo mountains, it enjoys a beautiful location. But if without much interest in the New Age and spiritual, maybe just as well avoided; and if with such interest, then a good place to include on the itinerary.

I'll also throw in Creede as a place of interest, in a more conventional sort of way, if beautiful, but more of a drive.
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Old 03-14-2012, 05:54 PM
 
Location: Littleton, CO
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I'm sure it's not the best time of year, but I live in Denver so it's not like I'm flying in for vacation or anything, will prolly go back in summer too.

I'll check out that falls also, I have been to Creed/Lake City and that area

The weather is supposed to be nice this weekend there


Saturday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 64. Southwest wind between 5 and 15 mph.
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Old 03-14-2012, 06:01 PM
 
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Be forewarned, the SLV is EXTREMELY dry this winter. I was just down there a couple of weeks ago--it looks bad.
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Old 03-14-2012, 07:50 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzlover View Post
The best time to visit the Sand Dunes is in August, in my opinion.
I disagree. Was there a few years ago in August. Air temp 90+. Sand temp 120+. Wait until Fall if you have a choice.
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Old 03-14-2012, 08:00 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BarryK123 View Post
I disagree. Was there a few years ago in August. Air temp 90+. Sand temp 120+. Wait until Fall if you have a choice.
Agree. Summer sun can make those dunes blisteringly hot. IIRC, the best time is May / June when snowmelt runs and fills the creek with 3-8 inches of cold flowing water, a favorite with kids. If there's going to be anything green, it will most likely be in Spring.



Those tiny dots are people....




This is NOT a place I'd want to be on a blisteringly hot August day....
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