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Hiking & Walking: Colorado > Great Sand Dunes National Park

Quick Facts

Mosca Pass Trail

Beginning Elevation: 8,200 Feet (2556.1 Meters) Montville Parking Area
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation Gain: 1,470 Feet (458.2 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 8,720 Feet (2718.2 Meters) Mosca Pass
Length, One-way: 3.5 Miles (5.83 Kilometers)
Trail Number: 883
Usage: Moderate
USGS Maps: Zapata Ranch, Mosca Pass, Liberty

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

Mosca Pass, Wellington Ditch Trailhead - 10.98
Copyright: Jamiebea Hall - Interactive Outdoors, Inc.
Mosca Pass, Wellington Ditch Trailhead - 10.98
Pack a lunch for this 3.5 mile journey to the top of Mosca Pass. It is not too difficult, but has an elevation gain of 1,463 feet. A toll road was built over this pass in the late 1800's. A flash flood in 1911 destroyed the road and it was abandoned as a passageway over the mountains.

The trail begins in a steep, walled canyon and proceeds through piñon-juniper, aspen and spruce-fir forests. The trail climbs moderately fast and near the top of the trail, the forests are transformed into lush, grassy slopes. Watch for wildlife; each year, visitors report bear sightings.

Directions from Visitor Center: About 1/4 mile past the entrance to the Visitor Center, on the right side, is the entrance to the Montville Parking Area. If you get to the entrance for the Dune Parking Area, you have gone too far. The trail takes off on the east side of the parking lot.

Directions from La Veta Pass, Colorado: Turn north on Pass Creek Road 11.5 miles to Forest Development Road # 408, 7 miles to the junction with Forest Road 407. Take Forest Road 407, 6 miles to Mosca Pass.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Open: Memorial Day Weekend through Mid-October (NOTE: Sand Dunes Visitor Center open year-round) .

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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Backpacking Undeveloped; an adequate number along the way
ICON Family 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 other trails in the area as well
ICON Horseback Riding Follows the route of an earlier toll road
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 Attending Talks & Programs Summer programs at amphitheater; programs in Visitor Center year-round
ICON Viewing Scenery Beautiful views of the Sand Dunes and the San Luis Valley
ICON Viewing Interpretive Signs Picture Point Trail, Montville Nature Trail
ICON Viewing Wildlife Bear sightings reported every year.
ICON Guided Touring Concessionaire conducts tours on Medano Pass Primitive Road in the summer.

Related Activities
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.

Montville Nature Trail - The Montville Nature Trail is a half mile loop that winds through a riparian ecosystem and into the Rio Grande National Forest. It is a self-guided hike that circles the lower portion of Mosca Canyon.

Montville Parking Area - Horse trailers may be parked here overnight and horseback riders may cross the portion of Montville Nature Trail necessary to get to Mosca Pass Trail.

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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