San Luis Valley

Colorful Colorado: San Luis Valley

We arrived in Colorado. Our road trip in North America starts in Colorado Springs, where we pick up our rental car. It is time to drive to the Great Sand Dunes National Park in southern Colorado. While looking for an accommodation near the park, we found a place to stay in a small village called Crestone. This destination, chosen for its proximity to the park, will prove to be a rare gem. To get to Crestone, we follow the Arkansas River and enter the San Luis Valley.

The small town Crestone

By its extent, its beautiful nuances of colors and the mountains at the horizon, the high plateau of San Luis reminds us vaguely of the Tibetan high plateaus. We note with surprise that the village of Crestone is located at more than 2400 meters of altitude. Surrounded by several 4000 meter peaks and with a breathtaking view over the valley, we find ourselves in a sumptuous setting. The village, with its pretty little center, its hippie atmosphere and its cultural diversity gathering different world religions, is more than surprising.

The highlight of our stay in Crestone is Myan and Jeff, our hosts. We feel at home at their place, receive valuable advice for the next steps of our trip and have interesting conversations with them. Without hesitation, we extend a little our stay, are delighted to discover the landscape above Crestone on a walk with Jeff and are spoiled by Myan with a delicious dinner the night before our departure.

Our highlights

Our hosts, Myan & Jeff

Top Airbnb

4000m+ peaks

Our Food Is Art

T-Road Brewing & Bucks Pizza

Great Sand Dunes Nationalpark

The sand dunes of Great Sand Dunes National Park were formed over tens of thousands of years. After lakes within the San Luis Valley receded, exposed sand was blown by the predominant southwest winds toward the Sangre de Cristo mountain range. This is how the dunefield, established as a national park since 2004, was formed over time. With a height of about 230m, this is the largest sand dune in North America.

In order to avoid the mass of tourists and the heat, we went to the park early in the morning. We climbed the “High Dune” with a height of about 200 meters. Despite the rather low elevation gain, this ascent is not an easy one. With each step, we sink up to the ankles in the fine sand. At the top, we are rewarded with a breathtaking view of the dunefield and the surrounding mountains. On the way back, we walk barefoot along the Medano Creek before returning to our car. Our journey through the national parks of the American Midwest is thus launched.

Our highlights

Park visit early in the morning

Hike on the High Dune

Walk along Medano Creek

Pass America the Beautiful