Skiing North America's Highest Sand Dunes

Skiing North America's Highest Sand Dunes


Skiing North America's Highest Sand Dunes


Short but sweet little video of a sand skiing excursion on North America’s highest sand dune, Star Dune, located in the middle of Great Sand Dunes National Park in southern Colorado. If you’re looking for a feather in your ski cap before the snow starts falling again, perhaps consider a road trip with your rock skis. Fun. Video by: @WadeHolland


This dune stands about 741 feet (225 m) from base to summit. While it can be hiked from the summit of the High Dune on the first ridge, it’s more direct, and less up and down, to access it via its base along the Medano Creek bed. From the Dunes Parking Lot, hike about 2 miles (3.2 km) south down the Medano Creek bed until the massive pyramid-shaped Star Dune comes into view. Follow a ridge to its summit. Wear sturdy footwear year round; boots with long pants work best to keep sand out of your shoes.

This hike is 6 miles (10 km) round trip; average round trip hiking time is 5 hours. Plan to take as much as 9 hours if not acclimated to the high altitude and lower oxygen level. In summer, plan to hike very early morning to avoid 150 degree F sand or thunderstorms with lightning. Winds can occur any time of year during storm fronts and most often in afternoon hours. Frigid temperatures and blizzards are common in winter.

Discover unusual insects, plants, wildlife tracks, ripples, and sand grains of every color. In warmer months, watch for one of 7 species of endemic insects, found nowhere else in the world, that are specially adapted to the extreme environment here.

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