The Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is a place like no other. When I first heard that we might stop there on our trip, I was very neutral. I figured it would be somewhere I would just check off my list of places I’ve been too. It turned out to be one of my favorites stops on our trip.
When you first view the dunes at a distance, they seem small and thin, but they quickly grow in size as you drive towards them. They appear as a mountain range of sand, lying alongside another mountain range. With heights of over 750 feet, it is a sight to behold. We arrived a few hours before sunset. When the low sun was still out, it offered great contrast and detail to the dunes. As fate would have it, the clouds got the better of the sun. The shaded light brought it’s own uniqueness to the landscape; not better or worse, just different.
We climbed to the top of one of the smaller and closer sand dunes, and just sat and soaked it all in. The quietness is what struck me as much as the serenity of it all. It makes you realize how small you really are, but in a good way.
I can truly say that I hope to return one day and take the time to hike in deeper and go “sand boarding” down a few dunes. Maybe camp the night and try some night astrophotography there too, as it is one of the darkest parks in the country. It’s definitely on my return-trip list.
This is one of the panographs taken while there. It turned out to be 34,656 x 3,516 pixels. That is a 12 foot print at 240 dpi. The file is just too large to upload, so I split it into a 3 image series, shown below.
Here is a “thumbnail” version of the entire pano.