Last Updated on June 12, 2021

Colorado is home to some of the tallest dunes in North America, which are also some of the highest sand dunes in the world. They are located in the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve on the eastern border of the San Luis Valley, as well as a neighboring national preserve in the Sangre de Cristo Range.

Great Sand Dunes Colorado

Sand Dunes in Southern Colorado

Great Sand Dunes – Alamosa, CO

Colorado’s Great Sand Dunes are the tallest in North America. The highest one, Star Dune, is 750 feet tall and over 8,000 feet tall. The dune field itself, besides having high dunes, is wide. The Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado’s San Luis Valley occupies 39 square miles. The closest town is Alamosa, but the cities of Duncan, Denver and Colorado Springs are also nearby.

Not only because of their incredible scale, but also because of their scenic position on a grassy high plain set against a spectacular mountain backdrop, these dunes are truly magnificent. The rifting and uplifting of a geological plate created the nearby Sangre de Cristo Mountains, while the San Juan Mountains were formed by volcanic activity on the opposite side of the valley.

File:A606, Star Dune, Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado, United States, 2008.jpg

Star Sand Dune

The tallest sand dunes in North America rise from the floor of the San Luis Valley on the western base of the Sangre de Cristo Range. The tallest peak, the Star Sand Dune, reaches a maximum height of 750 feet. The dunes cover an area of about 30 sq mi (78 km²) and are estimated to contain over 1.2 cubic miles (5 billion cubic metres) of sand.

Castle Creek Dunes


Recreational activities practiced at the park include hiking, sand duning with off-road vehicles, and horseback riding. Surfing and skiing on sand dunes is also practiced, see: Sandboarding at the Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve.

Sand Dunes in Northern Colorado

North Sand Hills – Walden, CO

The North Sand Hills Recreation Area is a vast land once used by Native Americans as a bison killing site. It extends for 1400 acres and it’s somewhat unique for it’s a patch of sand located in the middle of a mountain, surrounded by trees.


The area is a paradies for sand duning, popular with both off-road vehicles and dirt bikers.

References – official National Park Service website for Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve.

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