Last Updated on June 20, 2021

Colorado’s Great Sand Dunes are the tallest in North America. The Star Dune, the tallest dune, is 750 feet tall and over 8000 foot wide. Another special characteristic of these dunes is the presence of a year-round stream flowing out of the mountains at their base. Both mountain ranges once dumped sediment and water into the San Luis Valley, forming what geologists then called Lake Alamosa. As a result of climate change, much of the ancient lake has disappeared, leaving only a massive layer of sand. The prevailing winds constantly drive this sand back and forth. The sand is being blown eastward by the prevailing winds, and westward by storm winds. The dunes grow vertically as a result of these competing forces, creating vast star-shaped dunes.

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Sandboards and sand sleds

Sandboarding at the Great Sand Dunes

Sand surfing, sand sledding, and sand-skiing are permitted on any dune away from vegetation in the park, but you must have your own equipment. You can buy a sandboard online for $150-$250 or rent one for $20 per day in a town nearby. Don’t forget your sandboard wax.

Sandboard Rentals

There is no sandboard rental at the National Park itself, but plenty of options a few miles away, such as The Oasis Store, Kristi Mountain Sports in Alamosa, and Sand Dunes Recreation in Hooper. Keep in mind that some stores will not rent you a sandboard in winter or when the sand is wet or frozen (and even if you have your own board, you may want to postpone your trip to the dunes until when the weather is nicer). Opt for a stand-up sandboard if you are planning to descend the tallest dunes, while sand sleds and toboggans are better suited for smaller slopes close to the Visitor Center (and they make a perfect choice for kids!).

  • Oasis Store. Near the park entrance, 4 miles from the Great Sand Dunes Visitor Center. Sandboards and sand sleds are available for rent from March 1 to October 31.
  • Spin Drift Sand Board Rentals. Rents sandsleds and sandboards from March to October in downtown Blanca, 25 miles southeast of the Great Sand Dunes Visitor Center.
  • Sand Dunes Swimming Pool and Recreation. Rents sandsleds and sandboards all year round near Hooper, 32 miles west of the Great Sand Dunes Visitor Center.
  • Kristi Mountain Sports. Rents sandsleds and sandboards all year round in Alamosa, 40 miles southwest of the Great Sand Dunes Visitor Center.
  • Spanish Peaks Outfitters. Rents sand sleds and sandboards all year round in La Veta, Colorado, 64 miles southeast of the Great Sand Dunes Visitor Center.

What to wear

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Read also: Sandboarding Clothes and Accessories

If you are planning to go sandboarding at the Great Sand Dunes National Park, you want to be wearing cotton or merino wool socks, closed-toe shoes, long trousers and loose, breathable clothes. Avoid wearing your favourite pair of shoes or t-shirt as you will end up ruining it, and be ready to scoop up a lot of sand from your pockets!

Best time to go

The Great Sand Dunes are best enjoyed from late May to mid October, when temperatures are higher and there are less chances of winter storms. It is recommended to leave for the dunes in the early morning or evening when the sun is at its strongest. Avoid afternoon hours especially during the warmest summer months which are July and August. To enjoy the most out of your experience, visit the dunes in spring or autumn and aim at staying there at least a couple of days.

Great Sand Dunes Colorado - Dune Climbing

Sandboards for Sale

Slip Face Sandboards Diamondback Board– 9 ply maple veneer deck
– High pressure laminate base, high gloss
– Dakine adjustable foot straps
– Slip Face Sandboards multi-positionable foot pads
– Swallow tail design

Slip Face Sandboard Kestrel WingTail– 9 ply maple veneer deck
– Low friction base
– Dakine adjustable foot straps
– Slip Face Sandboards multi-positionable foot pads
– Swallow tail design

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USA Sandboarding Map

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