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.
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.