Exploring Local - A weekend trip to Great Sand Dunes National Park

Exploring Local - A weekend getaway to Great Sand Dunes National Park

 GREAT SAND DUNES NATIONAL PARK, SOUTHERN COLORADO - IMAGE BY FR33WATER

GREAT SAND DUNES NATIONAL PARK, SOUTHERN COLORADO - IMAGE BY FR33WATER

Hey out there! How's your Spring been treating you?! We've been able to get out and adventure quite a bit - so exciting when the weather finally turns and it's warm enough to camp again.  It's been a damp, cool spring here in Denver, Colorado - so many of the people here in our state head West for early camping trip or like us, head south to the Great Sand Dunes National Park.  While we didn't camp directly in the park (super busy) we found a camp site that fit our needs just outside the reach of the park... keep reading for suggestions on where to camp and more: 

Where to camp: Three Main Options

Pinon Flats Campground (super busy, heavily traffic-ed and usually booked out unless you plan ahead - oh and your right on top of your neighbors too, close contact to neighboring campers) 

Mosca Campground (we got lucky and Mosca Campground was free when we entered - before Memorial Day weekend, this is where I took these images and am writing this post from #meetyouthere approval on this campsite) 

Zapata Falls Campground (4 x 4 road to reach this campground, I don't recommend staying here in early spring you can experience snow and early frost/freeze, check the weather and dress warm as this camp site sits a few miles above the valley floor)

 GREAT SAND DUNES NATIONAL PARK, GOLDEN HOUR, SOUTHERN COLORADO

GREAT SAND DUNES NATIONAL PARK, GOLDEN HOUR, SOUTHERN COLORADO

OKAY, so camp is situated, your crew is assembled now what?! What is there to do in the Great Sand Dunes National Park - well quite a bit! I recommend waiting for the sun to dip in the sky a bit before charging into the Dunes (maybe an hour or two before sunset) and then being prepared for a sunset / photo adventure hike.  
Here's our Meet You There list of things to do while visiting G.S.D.N.P:

-Sand board down Star Dune (the tallest dune in the dunefield)
-Hike to the top of Star Dune for sunrise
-Explore the dunes with moonlight and stargaze
-Hike Zapata Waterfalls, nearby waterfall hike
-Relax in the river at the foot of the dunes
-Obtain a backpacking pass, head into the dunes, campout in the dunes for the best stars of your entire life

A few tools, tricks and tips that'll make your experience to the Dunes even BETTER:
-Bring a scarf, handkerchief, or light neck wrap to cover your face, eyes and mouth if the wind kicks up which it can do in the dunes
-Bring PLENTY of water, water, gatorade, and more water! It's dry, hot and well, a desert
-Bring a headlamp to explore the beautiful Milkyway and dunes at night, usually in the Southern skies you can watch the Milkyway Rise
-Friends! Camping is better with a crew
-Furry friends! Dogs will enjoy a trip a to the dunes~
 

MEET YOU THERE's S'MORE HACKS! 

DO NOT GO CAMPING WITHOUT SMORES! Perhaps the best ingredient of a campfire are some toasty marshmellows and crispy, chocolatey graham.  Here's some super SWEET hacks we have to take your SMOREs to the next level - man:

  • Forgot the graham cracker? Don't fret --> Make the s'more in a banana
  • Use Nutella, well because this will treat your taste buds tight
  • Using a cast iron skillet, pour the mallows into it and make a collection of golden mallows all at once
  • Put BACON on them
  • Sub Oreo instead of Graham Cracker 
 MOSCA CAMPGROUND, JUST OUTSIDE G.S.D.N.P, SOUTHERN COLORADO 

MOSCA CAMPGROUND, JUST OUTSIDE G.S.D.N.P, SOUTHERN COLORADO 

Hope you enjoyed, and let us know about your trip below! Until next time, ~MYT