Thursday, November 6, 2014

Great Sand Dunes National Park

We left Denver to head to Arizona for the winter. We've driven by the road to the Great Sand Dunes many times and decided to take advantage of beautiful weather and go that way on this trip. We went west on US 160 off of I-25 and stopped at a tiny RV park in Blanca. The next morning we drove the 20ish miles to the Great Sand Dunes National Park. Remember, pictures never do justice.

Dunes from Visitor Center
left half of view
Dunes from Visitor Center
right half of view
The base of the dunes is at an elevation around 8000 feet and many are 600 and 700 feet tall. The Sangre De Cristo Mountains border the east and north and the San Luis Valley is to the south and west. The San Luis valley used to be a lake bottom. When the lake dried up, the prevailing winds blew the sandy bottom to the northeast to the base of the mountains. Storm winds and water wash the sand down to keep it out of the mountains. The sand ended up piling up in dunes at the base of the mountains where it just keeps recycling. Read all about it at: NPS site.
View going up trail to lookout

Panoramic view
The San Luis Valley was the furthest most range of the Spanish dating back to the 1600s. Navajos and other Native Americans have inhabited the land for over 11,000 years.

San Luis Valley from the park

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