Imagine a sandy beach. Now imagine a mountain. Imagine a mountain that is made of a sandy beach. That is the Great Sand Dunes National Park. It is an incredible sight to see (and experience!)
Sledding at the Great Sand Dunes
Let me start by saying, sledding down the dunes is incredible fun. However, let me also warn you, its an incredible amount of work. If you need a good work-out, this is it. In order to get to the mountains (hills) for sledding, you have to trek a long way across sand. The first time we went, we hauled our cooler and bags far out across the sand to create a picnic site closer to the sledding areas. Exhausting!! We were worn out already.
I highly recommend the disc style sled shown below. You can pick up a three pack for about $10 per sled. (Check current price on Amazon here.)
Hiking up the sandy mountains is also no easy feat. Its tough. But it is worth it for the exhilarating ride down. On our first trip to the Great Sand Dunes, Peyton took off and climbed a gigantic mountain carrying his sand sled. I couldn’t believe he made it up as far as he did but I distinctly remember his giggling thrill as he rode down.
I also distinctly remember him spitting out all the sand in his mouth when he got to the bottom. So Pro Tip #1 – Take a bandanna or scarf to cover your mouth. Otherwise, you will risk getting a mouth full of sand. (Trust me….its not tasty!) Sunglasses or even swimming goggles are also a good idea. Flying sand is not a good mix for your eyes.
If you are vising the Dunes as part of an RV trip, check out our RV safety tips here.
Sand Sled Rental
If you don’t have the disc sleds shown above, you can always look into renting them. Sand sleds are not available for rental onsite at the Great Sand Dunes. However, there are a couple options around the dunes for rental (within 20-30 minutes). There are two choices. You can rent a sled to slide down on your bottom or you can rent the equivalent to a snow board and slide down on your feet.
Each of the boys wanted their own board so we rented one for each. Pro Tip #2 – Share sleds. First of all, its hard working getting across and up the sand dunes. Its even harder work carrying the snowboard style sleds. They are huge pieces of wood and are not light.
It is easier to share in the hauling it around. In addition, most likely you will need a break after climbing and sledding down. We would have been perfectly fine with one board as we had to rest between trips up and usually only one person was ready to go.
Depending on the time of year you visit, there is a creek that runs through the dunes. In the spring and early summer, there is more water running faster. By mid-summer and fall, there is typically no water. You are able to check their website for status on the creek. The boys loved to play in the creek! I think they could have spent all day just playing in the water and in the sand.
While we made this a day trip, there are many options for dry camping around the Great Sand Dunes. There are also a few RV parks in the area. Make sure to stop and enjoy this National Park. You’ll be glad you did.