Great Sand Dunes National ParkLeave review
About Great Sand Dunes National Park
Campgrounds in Great Sand Dunes
1. Piñon Flats
You absolutely can’t beat the views at Piñon Flats… for realsies. As the sun sets, watch the light dance over the massive sand dunes, creating a...
Drop some Great Sand Dunes knowledge on us.
Unless you have a high clearance vehicle to access the backcountry or you have a permit to backpack and camp in the dunefield, this is pretty much the only campground in the park. The camp is very much an improved campsite with fully functional bathrooms and running water. The dune field is a short walk away, but the campsite is far from any town, so make sure you have everything you need. Summer days can be hot and nights can still be cold, so pack accordingly. I would recommend bringing a canopy or something for shade if you plan on hanging around the campsite at day as there aren't a lot of trees and it can get hot. Otherwise, this is a very nice campground.
Bring bug spray. Mosquitoes everywhere! Went through 3 cans in 3 days. Sites are somewhat small and rangers are really anal/adamant about not going off the pad. I'm not a fan of that policy, but it is what it is. We stayed in Site 65, which was slightly bigger than others and near the bathroom (but not too close). We didn't have some of the best views like the ones around the outside of the road, but we also had fewer mosquitoes. Trees/shade are somewhat at a premium, and campsite is very busy so plan well in advance if you want to stay here. It's about a 1 mile or so walk to the dune field area, but there is a part that gets you there. Go up the dirt road at least to the point of no return to get away from the people if you can.
Beautiful spot for backcountry or improved sites for either tent camping or RV's. There really isn't a bad site. The welcome center is chock full of helpful information, and other campers seemed to be more than willing to share their experiences, and tips for getting the most out of this park. My friend and I (with our two dogs) camped on Loop 1, and walked down to the Sand Pit for more remote access to the dunes than the parking lot that is mostly used by day users. Mule deer are pretty used to having people around, and got RIGHT UP to the campsite. Make sure you pack PLENTY of water, and keep an eye on the clouds/pack rain gear if you're visiting in summer monsoon season.
We got a group campsite that held up to 40 people in July. It was amazing being able to invite a huge group and most trekked the 4 hour drive to meet us in the dunes. There was more shade provided by trees than anticipated. Many large picnic tables, fire pit, and a couple of grills. Very well laid out for people to talk near the campfire at night and not disturb those sleeping in the tents. We had a lot of deer hang out with us through out the day, and bugs as well. So bring the bug spray!
History of Great Sand Dunes National Park
By the 1920s, the Dunes had become a source of pride for local people, and a potential source of tourist dollars for local businesses. Members of the Ladies P.E.O. sponsored a bill to Congress asking for national monument status for Great Sand Dunes. Widely supported by local people, the bill was signed into law in 1932 by President Herbert Hoover. Similar support in the late 1990s resulted in the monument’s expansion into a national park and preserve in 2000-2004. About 285,000 people visit Great Sand Dunes every year.