The eastern approach to Medano Pass is heavily used. About 6 miles from Highway 69 is the National Forest boundary. Another short distance brings the traveler to the junction of Forest Roads 559 and 412. There is a huge meadow here with dispersed camping and a parking area. This is a popular place for hunters and for those with horses.
All two-wheel drive vehicles must park here. From this point on the road is rocky and hilly and should only be used by hikers and high-clearance four-wheel drive vehicles. Medano Pass is just over a mile from the meadow. The most popular activity for licensed vehicles is to continue down the other side, through the Great Sand Dunes and out to Highway 160.
Directions from Walsenburg: Take State Road 69 west 36 miles, through Gardner to County Road 559. Turn west and follow the road approximately 8.5 miles to the summit of Medano Pass. The last 2.5 miles require a high-clearance four-wheel drive.
Directions from Highway 69: Travel northwest from Gardner on Highway 69 until you see County Road 559 on your left. Turn here; for about 6 miles you will be traveling through private property. Shortly after entering the National Forest boundary you will arrive at a parking area where Forest Road 412 and 559 meet. All two-wheel drive vehicles must stop here. High-clearance four-wheel drive vehicles may continue to Medano Pass. Licensed vehicles may drive down to the Great Sand Dunes.
Memorial Day Weekend through Mid-October .