The park in a nutshell
Nestled in southern Colorado, North America's tallest dunes rise over 700 feet high against the rugged Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
The wind shaped dunes glow beneath the rugged backdrop of the mountains.
This geologic wonderland, containing 39 square miles of dunes, became a National Monument in 1932.
With the passage of the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve Act of 2000, resources now also include alpine lakes and tundra, six peaks over 13,000', ancient spruce and pine forests, large stands of aspen and cottonwood, grasslands, and wetlands - all habitat for diverse wildlife and Rocky Mountain plant species.
Designated to help protect the watersheds and creeks that recycle the sand through the dunefield,
the National Preserve stretches from the eastern boundary of the old national monument to the crest of
the Sangre de Cristos, from just west of Carbonate Mountain on the south side to Milwaukee Peak on the north,
then south through Music Mountain, Tijeras Peak, and Cleveland Peak.
Including the watersheds for Sand Creek and Medano Creek, the preserve boasts high alpine tundra
and lakes, barren scree slopes, and 13,000+ ft Rocky Mountain peaks.