Great Sand Dunes Colorado

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. Alpine tundra, forests, massive dunes, grasslands, and wetlands are all protected as elements of the Great Sand Dunes natural system.

Medano Creek and Medano Pass Conditions


Explore the tallest dunes in North America! Whether hiking, sliding, exploring in a dunes wheelchair – or simply playing – the Great Sand Dunes are a unique wilderness area protected for all to enjoy. Find out how these dunes were formed.

Creeks and Streams
Water is the lifeblood of the Great Sand Dunes system. Streams begin as mountain snowfields, melting then flowing through alpine lakes, forests, dunes, grasslands, and lush wetlands. Explore the flowing waters of Great Sand Dunes. Check current conditions of Medano Creek .


Explore the mountain watershed of the Great Sand Dunes. Rugged 13,000′ summits, alpine lakes, tundra, and ancient forests are protected in Great Sand Dunes National Preserve.

Grasslands, Shrublands, and Wetlands

Explore the grasslands, shrublands and wetlands that surround Great Sand Dunes on three sides.

Did You Know?
Some of the most dramatic views of the 14,000′ Crestone Peaks are from the north side of Great Sand Dunes National Park.
Welcome to the Memory Oasis

A series of interviews were held in recent years with an exceptional group of men and women who have early family ties to the Great Sand Dunes area. As children, many of these people were raised in sight of the dunes where they spent countless mornings in the shadow of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Others grew up on nearby ranches and earned a living despite the exceedingly harsh climate. A few worked for the National Park Service during the middle part of the 20th century. The wealth of their knowledge speaks of the joys and struggles experienced by the entire family of Mankind.

Sample the richness of their stories here* by selecting the links at top-right. Each story is unique, yet together they echo with an uncanny similarity those stories, told and untold, by people everywhere.

What are your stories? What do they teach you and others? Students may also contribute interviews to this web site. See Classroom Activities for more details.

Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters.
Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It


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