Eager to take a trip off the beaten path? Your adventurous spirit will soar among the towering dunes of Great Sand Dunes National Park.
From the groves of cottonwood trees to the majestic Sangre de Cristo mountain range, there are natural wonders to behold in this Colorado park. If a trip to the windswept dunes sounds like the great escape you’ve been looking for, then we have just the guide for you.
Pack your backpack and strap on your hiking shoes. Let’s forge onward in this detailed guide to RV camping in Great Sand Dunes National Park.
Great Sand Dunes National Park Facts
Whether you’re eager to learn more about this destination or simply want to impress your travel buddies, these Great Sand Dunes National Park facts are just what you need. These tidbits of knowledge might just surprise you.
The entire Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserves spans across 150,000 acres. In addition to the many dune fields, there are wetlands, creeks and grasslands that make up the park’s diverse ecology.
Looking to go up, up and away from the stress of everyday life? Great Sand Dunes National Park starts at an elevation of 7,520 feet and reaches 13,604 feet at its highest point (Tijeras Peak). You’ll be far above it all at this wondrous location.
Best Great Sand Dunes National Park RV Parks and Campgrounds
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For the ultimate experience while RV camping in Great Sand Dunes, finding a prime location to relax is key. Let’s move full speed ahead to uncover five beautiful Great Sand Dunes National Park RV sites.
Amenities: If you’re looking for RV camping near Great Sand Dunes National Park, Oasis Campground is ideal. Located right outside of the park entrance, this campground offers electric hook-ups, sandboard rentals, and a restaurant for hungry visitors. You can hook your RV up in one of the 30 or 50 amp sites and pick up food at the onsite grocery store. Oasis Campground makes RV camping in Great Dunes National Park easy!
Capacity: This campground has 20 pull-through RV sites and is open April through October.
More information: Oasis Campground
Cool Sunshine RV Park
Amenities: Cool Sunshine is a newer RV park near Great Sand Dunes National Park. The modern facilities make this park feel like a home away from home. A putting green, WiFi, laundry facility and electric hook-up are just some of the amenities included in your stay. The park is walking distance from lots of restaurants and breweries and offers a beautiful view of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
Capacity: This campground has 41 sites (back-in and pull-through) with water and electric hook-ups. It is open year-round.
More information: Cool Sunshine RV Park
Base Camp Family Campground
Amenities: Base Family Campground offers the largest RV sites in the area, so you can pull in to your site with ease and enjoy wide-open spaces. Full hook-ups make this a great option on our list of RV campgrounds near Great Sand Dunes National Park. The grounds are located about 20 minutes away from the national park and include free WiFi for all visitors.
Capacity: The number of sites varies, but this campground is open all year-round.
More information: Base Camp Family Campground
Alamosa Economy Campground
Amenities: You’ll have all the essentials at this RV campground near Great Sand Dunes National Park. Alamosa Economy Campgrounds provides full hook-ups and dump stations for campers. The campground is 31 miles away from the national park but just three miles outside of Alamosa, where you can pick up groceries and supplies for your trip. Plus, four-legged friends are welcome!
Capacity: This campground has 12 sites and is open all year-round.
More information: Alamosa Economy Campground
Sand Dunes Swimming Pool & Campground
Amenities: Next on the list of RV campgrounds in Great Sand Dunes National Park is Sand Dunes Swimming Pool & Campground. Enjoy full hook-ups and a dump station for your RV. The sites come with a fire pit and picnic table. On top of this, the campground provides a 24/7 laundry facility for visitors.
Capacity: This campground has 10 sites with water and electric hook-ups. It is open year-round.
More information: Sand Dunes Swimming Pool & Campground
Best Time to Visit Great Sand Dunes National Park for RV Camping
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We’ve learned some fast facts and toured some RV campgrounds near Great Sand Dunes National Park. Next on the itinerary is a walk through the seasons. You may be ready to hop in the RV and zoom over to the park. But what is the best time to visit Great Sand Dunes National Park? Keep reading to find out!
Snow-covered sand dunes transform the golden landscape into a picturesque powder-white vista—pack warm clothes, especially in January. With highs ranging from the teens to low 30s and weekly snowfall on the dunes, January is also the coldest.
December and February offer warmer temperatures with highs in the mid to high 30s. Sunny days are normal in these months, but many of the mountain trails are covered in snow, making foothill trails the only option.
Winter is a great time to spot elk and pronghorn in the park. Sledding down dunes and cross country skiing are also popular wintertime activities.
As Medano Creek begins to fill and flow once more and highs reach around the mid-50s, spring begins in Great Sand Dunes National Park. April is the second snowiest month of the year, trailing behind March. However, because of the warmer temperatures, more trails at lower elevations may be open.
Spring brings volatile weather and billowing winds. Hiking the dunes in the morning is the best way to avoid the strong winds that rush over the dunes this season.
In late May, Medano Creek reaches its peak flow. With highs in the 60s and 70s, visitors flock to the water, making this a crowded time of the year to visit.
July is the hottest month of the year in Great Dunes National Park with highs in the low 80s. During summer, sand temperatures can reach up to 150 degrees! The National Parks Service advises visitors to wear close-toed shoes and hike in the early mornings.
August and July bring regular thunderstorms, and lightning strikes the dunes on some afternoons. Aside from the storms, the August weather is beautiful. The highs hover in the upper 70s, and flowers bloom thanks to the frequent rain. Plus, the Milky Way is most visible this time of year.
For better weather and freedom from crowds, early fall is the best time to visit Great Sand Dunes National Park. September has an average high of 71 degrees and calm conditions overall.
Hiking trails that lead to groves of beautiful Aspen trees are open. The best time to see the golden and orange leaves in full glory is in late September or early October. The Milky Way is still highly visible in September and fairly visible in October.
The sunny and calm days continue into November, with highs in the high 40s. Aside from Thanksgiving weekend, crowds are not common this time of year.
Things to Do in Great Sand Dunes National Park
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Soaking in the scenery is just one part of the journey. Whether you are a trail lover, a photographer or an adrenaline junkie, there’s much to do in Great Sand Dunes. Come along as we uncover an array of activities and sights tucked away in this national park.
One of the most exhilarating things to do in Great Sand Dunes National Park is to propel down the sand dunes on a sand sled. Sandboarding and sand sledding is open to people of all ages, making this a great family-friendly activity. Little dunes make the perfect slopes for kids, and thrill-seekers can sweep down taller sand dunes on boards designed specifically for this activity.
The dunes are not the only thing that will take your breath away. Great Sand Dunes National Park is certified as an International Dark Sky Park. This means that the sky provides excellent viewing of stars and galaxies. The high elevation, lack of light pollution and dry air combine to create a canvas for stars to shine. If you plan your visit during a full moon, there is no need for a flashlight as you take a night hike on the dunes!
Medano Creek is a seasonal treat for Great Sand Dunes visitors. Snowfields high in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains melt into Medano Lake and finally cascade around the dunes' base. Late May and early June mark the best times to experience the rushing waters of Medano Creek. The shallow waters and gentle waves begin to dry up again in July, so there is only a small window to take advantage of.
Grab your camera and get out to Great Sand Dunes to capture the magnificent landscapes and wildlife for yourself. Autumn leaves make for stunning photos in the fall months, and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains provide a majestic backdrop to pictures all year long. There are photography opportunities in every season that visitors enjoy long after returning home.
Tips on Visiting Great Sand Dunes National Park
You’ve stuck with us on this guide to RV camping Great Sand Dunes National Park. To say thanks, we’re leaving you with some insider tips, so you’re prepared and informed during your stay. As visitors say at Medano Creek, let’s jump in!
If you decide to partake in the fun-filled sand sledding or sandboarding activities, be sure to rent your board before heading into the park. The national park does not offer sandboards, and snowboards don’t work well, so renting from a store outside of the park is your best option. Depending on the time you visit, some retailers may not be open. So be sure to browse sandboard rental locations before your visit to check out their hours and options.
Next, night hike tips! We highly recommend that you get out under the night sky at Great Sand Dunes National Park. When you do, utilize red lights rather than traditional flashlights. The use of red lights won’t contribute to light pollution and hamper the night experience for others. Additionally, wildlife such as owls and kangaroo rats are highly sensitive to light, so the light from traditional flashlights is jarring to these creatures.
Be prepared for cold temperatures no matter what time of the year you visit. The weather in Great Sand Dunes National Park is unpredictable. Even warm summer days can turn into chilly nights. Prepare by packing thick socks, warm jackets and clothing that you can layer. That way, if the cold climate does enter the picture, you are ready and protected.
Windswept dunes are magical. Wind in your ears? Not so much. Many visitors wear earplugs when hiking the dunes on windy days. This simple addition protects you from the uncomfortable feeling of grains of sand in your ear. A sun hat, bandana and sunglasses are also important items to add to the packing list to stay comfortable while exploring the sand dunes.
RV Rental for Great Sand Dunes National Park
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Scientists are still piecing together exactly how the dunes were created and how old the breathtaking hills are. While they work on that, you can take in Great Sand Dunes National Park's beauty for yourself.
The remote location of the park does not mean you need to give up the comforts of home.
With an RV rental in Great Sand Dunes National Park, you’ll have everything you need on four wheels. Whip up meals on your gas cooktop or in the microwave, rinse the sand off in your personal shower, and relax on your RV bed after an eventful day in the park.
Rent your RV today with Cruise America and head on over to Great Sand Dunes!