When you go camping with 15 dogs – there’s a 50% chance you’ll be considered crazy. Luckily, there were 9 other humans that agreed that this camping trip would be a blast and committed to a weekend filled with adventure and lots and lots of sand.
We tried to plan this trip before peak tourist season and it definitely worked in our favor. The sand was cooler, longer, there were less people, and we were able to find dispersed camping. We spent the weekend exploring both the Dunes and Zapata Falls. We found a campsite about 15 min from the park entrance which was great, the only downside was the seemingly infinite cacti creeping around camp.
The Great Sand Dunes National Park is truly one of my favorite places in Colorado. The landscape is an actual dream world where the harsh mountains meet the soft sand, the sunsets set the world on fire, and it’s one of the very few US National Parks that allow dogs. If you’re planning a trip that way – here are some tips to help give you your best experience:
- Bring sunglasses and goggles for your pups (if you have dogs!). The dunes are notoriously windy and having eye cover is a lifesaver.
- If you’re wanting to camp inside the national park – reserve your sites as early as possible. They fill up months in advance. I always tend to choose dispersed camping options, but have looked into the Pinon Flats campground and every time I look it’s completely full!
- Make it a goal to be at the dunes for sunset, sunrise, or both! You will not regret it. I promise, the views are breathtaking.
- If you’re planning on spending the entire day in the sand, make sure you have some sort of sun shelter or umbrella. Even in the cooler months, the sand gets very hot, very fast. Bring lots of sunscreen and make sure you stay hydrated.
The Sand Dunes easily make you feel like you’re on a different planet. We’ve made this trip twice since moving to Colorado and have yet to make it to the top of the highest dune. I never realized how difficult hiking in sand was until coming here, but I’m determined to make it the next time I go. You know what they say, the third times a charm!