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Directions to Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve

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An empty road leading to Great Sand Dunes Nati...

An empty road leading to Great Sand Dunes National Park (Photo credit: TTVo)

Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve is in Colorado, around 35 miles to the northeast of Alamosa. You can get there by driving either US Highway 160 and the State Highway 150 from the south, or the State Highway 17 and County Lane 6 if you’re coming from the west.  These are the only paved access routes to the park. Other routes which you may find on a map are not paved roads, it’s difficult to distinguish between the paved access roads, hiking trails and trails which are only suitable for high clearance 4 wheel drive vehicles.

Driving to Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve

From Albuquerque – head north on Interstate 25 to Santa Fe, then head north to Alamosa on US Highway 285. When you get to Alamosa take either the US Highway 160 east followed by the State Highway 150 north, or the State Highway 17 north and County Lane 6 towards the east from Mosca.

From Colorado Springs, Denver or Pueblo – the most popular driving route to Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve from these locations is to head south on Interstate 25 as far as Walsenburg, then west on US Highway 160, north on State Highway 150. If you fancy a more scenic and mountainous route from Denver – which incidentally has only the same mileage as the above route – you can take US Highway 285 to the south and State Highway 17 south, then take County Lane 6 each from Mosca.

Driving Miles to Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve

The following list will give you some idea of the driving miles from your nearest town or city to the park – well, that’s if I’ve included your nearest town or city. Anyway, here’s a list;

  • Alamosa – 35 miles from the park.
  • Albuquerque – is around 246 miles away.
  • Black Canyon National Park – (another great park well worth a visit) is around 200 miles away.
  • Blanca – the town of Blanca is only 25 miles from the Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve.
  • Boulder – is a 270 mile drive.
  • Canon City – is a little less than 150 miles away – around 147.
  • Colorado Gators – is only 25 miles from the park.
  • Colorado Springs via Salida – a little over 200 miles – around 204 to be more precise.
  • Colorado Springs via I-25 Walsenburg – only 167 miles away.
  • Cortez – if you’re close to Cortez you’re around 234 miles from the park.
  • Creede – is less than 100 miles away, in fact, it’s only 93.
  • Crestone – is closer still, only 57 miles from Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve.
  • Del Norte – is only 66 miles from the park.
  • Denver via US Highway 285 – is a 234 mile drive.
  • Denver via Interstate 25 Walsenburg – is a 242 mile drive.
  • Durango – is 189 miles away.
  • Fort Garland – is only 29 miles from Great Sand Dunes National Park.
  • Grand Junction – is a drive only 252 miles.
  • Gunnison -is around 135 miles away.
  • La Veta – is only 63 miles from the park.
  • Medano Pass – is just 13 short miles from the park – well, 13 normal length miles.
  • Mesa Verde National Park – another fantastic park is around 229 miles from Great Sand Dunes.
  • Monte Vista – is a mere 54 mile drive.
  • Montrose – is 200 miles from the park.
  • Mosca – this is the very closest town to the park, it’s only 23 miles away.
  • Pagosa Springs – is 125 miles from the park.
  • Pueblo via Salida – Just 183 from Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve.
  • Pueblo via I-25 Walsenburg – a distance of 127 miles from the park.
  • Saguache via Center – only 65 miles away.
  • Salida – is 91 miles from the park.
  • San Luis – is a drive of only 45 miles.
  • Santa Fe – is a distance of 184 miles.
  • South Fork – 72 miles from the park.
  • Taos – is a 113 mile drive to the park.
  • Trinidad – is 115 miles from the park.
  • Walsenburg – is 78 miles from Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve.
  • Westcliffe via Pass Creek (suitable only for high clearance 4 WD vehicles) is 45 away.
  • Wolf Creek Summit Pass – is 92 miles from the park.

Driving from the Great Sand Dunes Visitor Center to Westcliffe / Wet Mountain Valley
This is a dirt road which is open all year round for passenger vehicles, creating a shortcut over Pass Creek Pass. Head south on State Highway 150, then east on US Highway 160, then north (turning left) onto Pass Creek Pass Road, watch out for a sign two miles to the west of La Veta Pass, it actually starts out as 29 RD before turning into 572 RD. The Pass Creek Road climbs uphill for around a mile before heading downhill for another 11 miles. After this time you should eventually arrive at a T intersection with a paved road, here you should turn right (east) onto 550 RD in the direction of Gardner, around a 6 mile drive, then turn left (west) onto Highway 69 in the direction of Westcliffe for about 30 miles.
Or the other way around . . .
Driving from Westcliffe / Wet Mountain Valley to the Great Sand Dunes Visitor Center
Head southwest on Highway 69 from Westcliffe in the direction of Gardner, it’s around 30 miles, then turn right (west) onto 550 RD just before you reach Gardner and drive another 6 miles or so, before turning left (south) onto 570 RD which becomes 572 and then 29 RD, watch out for small sign for “PassCreekPass” then drive another 12 miles, before turning right (west) onto Highway 160 then right (north) onto State Highway 150.
Flying to Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve
There is a commercial air service which is available to Alamosa, Colorado, which is a pretty small airport. Other options are catching a commercial flight to somewhere like Colorado Springs (204 miles), Denver (234 miles) or Albuquerque (246 miles) and picking up a rental car from the airport.
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