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“Where’s the beach?”

Posted by Jody on March 18, 2013

Last weekend Greg and I had the chance to visit the awe-inspiring Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in southern Colorado.  We had enough time to arrange our drive from Albuquerque to Denver to include an overnight in Alamosa, which is about a 35 mile ride south and west of the park. It was an opportunity we just couldn’t pass up. The Great Sand Dunes are the tallest dunes in all of North America. The spectacular main dunefield stretches over 30 square miles at the foot of the majestic Sangre de Cristo Mountains (the entire park covers nearly 376 square miles). Simply put, this is one of the most Bucket List worthy places in the United States. Our family had been to the park many years ago, and we couldn’t wait to get back for some hiking and R&R.

Here’s a list of what we found!

Sand ~



Driftwood ~



Dune grass ~

Dune Grass

Dune Grass

And sand dunes as far as the eyes could see!

Sand Dunes

Sand Dunes

You might be thinking: “This is a beach inspired blog, Jody! Where’s the beach?”

And I would reply, “It’s right here!” 🙂

The Beach at Medano Creek

*This is the beach at Medano Creek!*

“Well then, where’s the water?”, you ask.

“Look up! It’s high in the snow pack (14,000 +/- feet) of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains!”, I answer.

The Sangre de Cristo Mountains of Southern Colorado

Every year, Medano Creek is formed by the melting winter snows. From April to June (and sometimes into July), the icy streams formed by the annual snow melt trickle down the mountain sides to create the Medano Creek beach and play area that are just perfect for splashing, surfing, wading, skimboarding, and floating! In fact, depending on water level, visitors may participate in any non-motorized activities in the creek. Sand boarding and sand sledding on the dunes are all the rage. Sand castle building is a very popular waterside activity, too.

We’re planning a trip back for fun in the sun and water in May or June so there will be more photos to follow. For now, here’s a look at more of the beauty that is Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. It is by far one of the best of the best recreation areas the USA has to offer within its vast (84.4 million acre) National Park System!

Great Sand Dunes

Great Sand Dunes

<----- This way to the dunes.

<—– This way to the dunes and beach.

Great Sand Dunes

Great Sand Dunes

Can you spot the hikers?

Can you spot the hikers on the ridges?

Hikers on the Dunes

Hikers on the Dunes

Great Sand Dunes

Great Sand Dunes

Winter at the Great Sand Dunes

Winter at the Great Sand Dunes


Have a great day at the beach!


38 Responses to ““Where’s the beach?””

  1. More great pics! You go on some amazing road trips!

  2. Celia said

    Fascinating–you know how I love sand dunes! And sand dunes with snowy mountains above them are very cool.

  3. Joycelyn said

    Jody, the sand dunes are wonderful! And yes, I kept looking for the beach, haha! 🙂

  4. Awesome Pics Jody! We have been to Denver before but never heard of this place … on the itinerary for the next time we pass through 🙂 Love your work!

    • Jody said

      Thanks so much! The drive from Alamosa to Denver is gorgeous! We drove along the Arkansas River and then into Colordao Springs & up. You could also just head into Pagosa Springs and take I-25 from there. It’ll be great!

  5. My closest brush with sand dunes is watching Lawrence of Arabia, so seeing them dusted with snow in photos is completely alien to me, but it looks fantastic!

    • Jody said

      It’s truly amazing!
      When we made it to the high ridge, we couldn’t believe how fresh and clean the air felt. It was a quite wonderful experience. ~ The perfect escape for the whole family!

  6. Gorgeous, informative and well-written as always! Thank you very much Jody! 🙂

  7. Marianne said

    Jody, these are absolutely beautiful photos! Oh, I think the snow adds something wonderful to the dunes, don’t you? I reminds me, in a way, of the 5 years I spent in El Paso…the mountains, the light snow, and we did visit some sand dunes, but I’m not sure now where they were; just that they were amazing.
    Thank you for sharing these, and thank you for your lovely visits to my blog.

    Blessings, Marianne

  8. JK Bevill - Lost Creek Publishing said

    Reblogged this on lost creek publishing.

  9. ajaytao2010 said

    I Nominate you in for an award,
    please choose any one of them

    please accept and oblige

  10. […] Jody […]

  11. lynnwyvill said

    The photos are beautiful. Hope you get to go back!

    • Jody said

      Thank you so much! We’re planning a return trip for when the creek is running at (or near) its peak flow. I’m pretty excited about that!

  12. This is really pretty. I`m so sad I missed it on my trips to Colorado, I`ve only visited the North (Loveland), the South at Colorado Springs, and further South at Pueblo. I`ll be sure to put it on the list for next itme!

  13. Wow, the hikers were so tiny. Great photos. This will go on my list of places to see if I ever get out west.

    • Jody said

      Thank you! It’s the best of the best! We actually made it to the high ridge and could see over the dunefield for miles. It’s definitely a Bucket Lister!

  14. jakesprinter said

    Great photography you have here I love it 🙂

  15. Eleenie said

    Gorgeous photos, that’s quite a place!

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