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Monday, April 1, 2024

Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado

Read this post before your visit to Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado.

If you are traveling here by car, click here for a checklist to make sure your car is ready for your road trip.

2022 Cross-Country Road Trip Stop 21

We noticed that we could drive into New Mexico on our way from the Petrified Forest NP area in Utah to our next destination in Colorado. Since Sandie and JT had never been to New Mexico, we decided to make a stop for lunch which qualifies (at least to us!) as an official stop and they would be able to cross it off their list of states to visit.

My son Joe and DIL Nicole recommended the Frontier Restaurant, in Albuquerque as the place to eat.

This large restaurant was packed with people. We waited on a long line of customers, most of them probably college students attending the University of New Mexico which was right across the street, and perused the menu behind the counter.

It took awhile to finally get to the counter and get our food, but it was worth the wait because our New Mexican food was some of the best Mexican food we have ever had.

Sandie said her green chili stew was delicious!

And we couldn't leave the restaurant without one of their Frontier sweet rolls.

Because of our detour to New Mexico, we got to Great Sand Dune Oasis very late and had to set up in the dark but we managed.

The following day we made our way to Great Sand Dunes NP. The visitor center was closed due to renovations but a park ranger was on duty outside the building to answer any questions and to hand out information. We were able to get what we needed to start our day. 

We headed to the High Dune. It took a good 30 minutes just to get to the bottom of the dune.

After finally getting to the top of the dunes, we couldn't imagine sliding down it like some of the younger hikers were doing on their sandboards. That would mean having to climb up to the top of the dune again. Once was enough for our old legs!

After the dune, we hiked the Montville Nature Trail.

This trail took us through a forest.

It was an easy trail with a 200 foot elevation gain.

Hiking through the forest felt like we were in a completely different park but when we turned a corner we could see the sand dunes in the distance and remembered where we were.

As we made our way out of the park and back to our car, we followed the same path as a deer (?). We never crossed paths with him though.

We must have taken a wrong turn on the trail because once we got out of the park we were miles away from our car.


And then it started to rain and it came down in buckets.

We were glad to finally be back in the camper where we took out our journals to write about our exhausting but fun day at the dunes!

Read about our Stop 20 here.

Have you been the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado? Did you just hike like we did or did you try sliding down the dunes? 


  1. We went to New Mexico 2 years ago and were surprised that "New Mexican food" is a thing! The scones and chiles are the big addition. We really enjoyed it. And Great Sand Dunes is such an amazing place to visit, too! I really enjoyed your photos. Thanks for sharing this post at the Will Blog for Comments #32 linkup. Hope to see you there sharing more posts next week. Have a great week!

    1. I was wondering what the difference was between Mexican and "New" Mexican was! Thanks for sharing. Yes! We really enjoyed it also!

  2. I really enjoyed hearing about your trip to Great Sand Dunes National Park. I can just imagine how good your meal was at the Frontier Restaurant.
    Visiting today from Will Blog For Comments 32 #4&5

    1. The meal was delicious and the atmosphere added to the enjoyment of it!

    2. Thanks so much for sharing your trip with Sweet Tea & Friends this month dear friends.

  3. It's a lovely park.
    Nice to read about your trip there.
    I wish we could have hiked in the area. We walked over the dunes and that was quite exhausting but fun. :) The landscape was so, so beautiful so I took a lot of pictures, too.

    1. It was really amazing and very different from all the other national parks we visited. You probably would have enjoyed the hike but you did do the main hiking over the dunes.

  4. What a great trip and thanks for taking me along.
    Thanks so much for participating and sharing at SSPS 304. See you again next week at https://esmesalon.com/tag/seniorsalonpitstop/

    1. Thank you for joining us on our trip and thank you for hosting every week!

  5. Wow that sweet roll is giant! It looks like a fun day of exploring (well, up until getting caught in a rainstorm anyway).

    1. The roll was gigantic and one was enough for the four of us to share!

  6. I enjoyed reading all about your adventures. That sweet roll sure is big! -I am sure it was delicious. :)
    I probably should visit the Great Sand Dunes. I haven't gone and we live here in Colorado. Thank you for sharing your post with us at the Crazy Little Lovebirds link party #32.

    1. I hope you get a chance to go to the Great Sand Dunes. I think you will really have a great time there.