Sand Dunes Sliding, Sandboarding, Off_Road
Sliding, Skiing, Sandboarding, etc.
Visitors may slide, ski, or sled on any unvegetated areas of the sand.
Please note: cardboard does not work. Smooth, flat plastic sleds, an old pair of skis, or an old snowboard work best.
Downward motion is only possible for children or lighter-weight adults on a slick-surfaced sled, skis or board after recent precipitation. During dry times, the sand may get too soft for sliding to work.
Medano Pass Primitive Road (4WD Road)
Self-Guided Options and Tours:
If you have a high-clearance 4WD vehicle, consider the Medano Pass Primitive Road, 11 miles from the Visitor Center.
For non-hikers, this is the best way to access the eastern side of the dunes and Great Sand Dunes National Preserve.
The drive is most spectacular during fall when the aspens paint the mountainsides with gold, but it is a good mountain drive any time of year.
The Medano Pass Road
is soft sand for the first few miles, then toward the top of the pass becomes rough and rocky.
Use 4-wheel drive 'low' and keep steady pressure on the gas pedal to avoid bogging down in sandy areas;
vehicles must have high clearance to maneuver this road.
This route is not recommended for small sport utility vehicles
(e.g., Subaru Forester or Outback, Toyota Rav-4, etc.).
Creek crossings can be hazardous in spring, and the road is closed by winter conditions from approximately November through April.
Elevation at the Pass is 10,000 feet above sea level.
Don't expect to be anywhere fast; driving is generally in the 5-10 mph range.
For those without a 4WD vehicle, consider taking the 'Oasis' 4-wheel drive tour
, offered May through October at the "Oasis Store" near the park boundary.