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Hiking & Walking: Colorado > Great Sand Dunes National Park

Quick Facts

Pinyon Flats Campground

Elevation: 8,200 Feet (2556.1 Meters)
Length of Stay: 14 Days
Number of Sites: 88
Reservation Status: Not Accepted

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

Pinyon Flats Family Campground - Loop 2 - 10.98
Copyright: Jamiebea Hall - Interactive Outdoors, Inc.
Pinyon Flats Family Campground - Loop 2 - 10.98
Piñon Flats Campground is open all year on a first-come, first serve basis with the exception of the group site. Each site has a picnic table and fire grate. Facilities include water fountains and spigots as well as restrooms with sinks and toilets. The campground can accommodate trailers up to 35 feet.

Single campsites are available by self-registration and during the summer, the 88 sites generally fill up by noon on Friday for the weekend and by early evening during the rest of the week.

Two wheelchair accessible drive-in sites are available at Piñon Flats Campground. The site in Loop One is reserved until 6 p.m. nightly, and the site in Loop Two is reserved full-time. Both campsites have tables, a fire grate, parking and accessible restrooms nearby.

Back country camping allows you to explore remote areas of the Monument. The Monument has eight backpacking backcountry sites, with hiking distances ranging from .6 miles to 10.5 miles. Backpackers may also spend the night on the Main Dune Mass. A free backcountry permit must be obtained from the Visitor Center if you are camping in the Monument or if leaving a vehicle in the Monument overnight. Backpackers can also camp in the Rio Grande National Forest (Medano Pass, Mosca Pass or Blanca Peak Trail).

Firewood gathering is not allowed in the Monument, but wood may be purchased from the campground vendor or The Oasis in the summer; from October to May, wood may be purchased from the Visitor Center.

Horseback riding is permitted in the Monument, but riding is not permitted in the main public use area (off the dunes parking lot). Medano Pass Primitive Road is a pleasant place to ride. Vehicles and trailers must be parked at the amphitheater parking lot. Please clean up after your horses in the parking lot. If camping in the adjacent National Forest and leaving a vehicle in the Monument, a free backcountry permit is required which is available in the Visitor Center.

Directions from Visitor Center: The entrance to Pinyon Flats Campground is just under 1 mile from the Visitor Center and is located to the right of the Dunes.

Seasonal Information:
Normal Services Available: Year-round (NOTE: Visitor Center open 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. in Summer months; varying hours in the Winter.) .

Fee Information
Type Price Remarks
Single Unit Fee Call for Current Fee one family or six people maxim

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Filed By: A. L. Axford (Denver, Co)
Number of People Encountered: 25-50 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Great fun. This is probably the most unusual National Park there is. Go out and destroy the terrain, it repairs itself. You'll need to take a generous supply of water if you intend to hike the dunes. Despite the photo above, I don't think there is a level campsite here (there are level tent pads). Inexpensive and tons of fun. Lots of wildlife and fauna. Great info center. Highly recommended.
Conditions: Very hot on the dunes, snowed at night.
Water Availability: Great bathroom facilities.

Filed By: Kate (Santa Fe, NM)
Number of People Encountered: 50+ ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: This is truly a unique experience. My campsite was right on the edge of the campground with an unobstructed view of the dunes. Several choices of trails were close by and I tried three of them. The nature trail is short but very pretty and a nice change from the heat you can feel out on the dunes. I had lunch at Zapata Falls nearby and the hike to the falls was also quite nice.

Difficulty: Easy
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: according to the nps web site (www.nps.gov/grsa) camping is now 10$ per night. Other then that the sand dunes are wondeerful for every one

Difficulty: Easy
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Very windy but a beautiful spot. Bring your old skis!

Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Camping Pinyon Flats Campground
ICON Fishing Medano Creek; Rio Grande National Forest
ICON Four-Wheel Driving Medano Pass Primitive Road
ICON Group Picnicking South Ramada (reservations required) and North Ramada
ICON Hiking & Walking Numerous trails in the area
ICON Horseback Riding Park at Amphitheater, Montville or Point of No Return; stay out of main public use areas
ICON Animal Identification Look for tracks in the sand, especially in early morning.
ICON Firewood Gathering Not permitted in the Monument; purchase from concessionaire in summer and from Visitor Center in winter.
ICON Lodging Alamosa, Monte Vista and Ft. Garland
ICON Mountain Biking Only on Medano Pass Primitive Road; some difficult sandy stretches
ICON Mountain Climbing Blanca Peak, Little Bear and the Crestones
ICON ATV Riding Only on Medano Pass Primitive Road, if vehicle and driver are licensed.
ICON Motorcycle Riding Only on Medano Pass Primitive Road, if vehicle and driver are licensed.
ICON General Information Visitor Center
ICON Picnicking Next to Dunes Parking Area, Sand Pit and Castle Creek sites
ICON Downhill Skiing Trying skiing the dunes, even in summer.
ICON Backpacking Eight backcountry sites in the Monument; free permit from Visitor Center required.
ICON Attending Talks & Programs Summer programs at amphitheater; programs in Visitor Center year-round
ICON Viewing Interpretive Signs Picture Point Trail, Montville Nature Trail
ICON Guided Touring Concessionaire conducts tours on Medano Pass Primitive Road in the summer.

Nearby Services

Gas (available in summer months): The Oasis (Private-profit) Directions: Located at the Monument's south boundary

Restaurant (open April-October): The Oasis (Private-profit) Directions: Located at the Monument's south boundary

Basic: Campground concessionaire (Private-profit) Directions: In Pinyon Flats Campground during summer months

Related Activities
Amphitheater and Parking Area - The amphitheater is on the right, just before Piñon Flats Campground. Nightly campfire programs are offered from Memorial Day to Labor Day. A wheelchair platform is located in the center of the seating area.

Castle Creek Trail - At Castle Creek, the dunes rise abruptly from the creekbed. Dune slipfaces avalanche as they near angles greater than 34 degrees. Steep slipfaces are challenging to climb; stay on the ridges and slide down the faces.

Dunes Overlook - The Dunes Overlook is a short side trail off Little Medano Creek Trail. It is about 1/2 mile in length and gives visitors a magnificent view of the Main Dune Mass.

Great Sand Dunes National Monument Visitor Center - Before venturing out to the dunes, stop by the Visitor Center. Here you can pick up information on the dunes and other park features. The center is opened daily, except on federal holidays in the winter.

Little Medano Creek Trail - Meander through a variety of terrain when you head north from the campground. Travel through escape dunes until the trail crosses Medano Creek. The trail ends at an overlook just beyond Little Medano Creek.

Medano Pass Primitive Road - The Medano Pass Primitive Road is a four-wheel drive road that begins in the park and goes north to Medano Pass and the Rio Grande National Forest.

Pinyon Flats Group Site - Some group sites are available in Piñon Flats Campground. It is extremely popular and reservations are required. Since these sites are in such high demand, call the Visitor Center any time after January 2nd.

Pinyon Flats Trail - This trail connects the main Dunes Parking Area with Piñon Flats Campground.

Wellington Ditch Trail - This one mile trail can be accessed from Loop 3 of the Piñon Flats Campground if you park in the Amphitheater parking area. You can also park in the Montville parking area and start from Mosca Pass Trail.

More Information

Visitor Information:

Great Sand Dunes National Monument, 11999 Highway 150 , Mosca, CO, 81146, Phone: 719-378-6300


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