This is the main parking area for the Great Sand Dunes and it is located only a few yards from the dunes. A picnic area for families and groups is located here and restrooms and water are available.
Copyright: Jamiebea Hall-Interactive Outdoors, Inc.
The Main Dunes Parking Area - 10.98
Vehicles can get extremely hot inside during summer months; please do not leave your pet or child inside a vehicle unattended. Pets left in vehicles without adequate ventilation can succumb to suffocation all too quickly. On an 85 degree day, the temperature inside a car, even with the windows slightly open, will reach 102 degrees in 10 minutes and 130 degrees in 30 minutes. Pets are welcome to join you on the dunes if leashed, but remember that their feet are not immune to the hot sand either.
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.
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 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).
Directions from Visitor Center: From the Visitor Center, follow Highway 150 north for less than 1/2 mile and turn left. Follow this road for about 1/2 mile to the Dunes Parking Area.
(NOTE: Visitor Center open 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. in Summer months; varying hours in the Winter.)