Bev and I agreed we could have spent more time in the Durango area but, alas, we had reservations to keep so we headed out Monday morning for the 377 mile drive up to Denver. Lea Ann Brown, HighlandsRanch Foodie, had mentioned that the Great Sand Dunes were a must see and I wasn’t sharp enough to stop there during our 120 mile shorter drive into Durango, so we stopped on our way north.
With Lea Ann’s recommendation and the view from Google Earth there was no way to by-pass it when we were right there and it added only an hour to our trip. You can see the dunes from US-160 and it’s hard to believe it’s a 19 mile drive up to them. They set up against the west side of the Sangre de Cristo Range and per Wikipedia “The dunes were formed from sand and soil deposits of the Rio Grande and its tributaries, flowing through the San Luis Valley. Over the ages, westerly winds picked up sand particles from the river flood plain. As the wind lost power before crossing the Sangre de Cristo Range, the sand was deposited on the east edge of the valley. This process continues, and the dunes are slowly growing. The wind changes the shape of the dunes daily.”
We just drove thru America’s newest national park and snapped a few photos as we looked in awe. The people who looked like ants walking on the dunes gave us a perspective as to their size (I didn't have enough lens for you to see them) and Lea Ann was right – must see.
While much of the San Juan Valley is irrigated, this part near the dunes was not and it gives you an idea of vastness of the area – reminds me of the African Savannah.
We rolled into highly rated Dakota Ridge RV Park in Golden, Co around 6pm (yep, we hit Denver at rush hour), set up, and sat comatose until bedtime. I didn't get any shots of the park as I was disappointed in how crowded together we were, but there were some real high dollar rigs sitting around.
Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.
Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.
9/17/12 event date