Colorado landscapes: Great Sand Dunes

Great Sand Dunes 1  

We tried to reach our first destination, the Great Sand Dunes in Colorado, still before dark. We were running already late after the second day of travel, but while approaching the National Park the low sun and the dramatic clouds made for such a great vista that we had to stop for some photos. I rather pitch up the tent in the dark than missing an opportunity like that ;-) .

Great Sand Dunes 2


These huge dunes are North America’s tallest and they are nestled against the Sangre de Christo Mountains. From our campsite at Pinyon Flats, at an altitude of about 2500 m (~8200 ft), we had a great view to the dunes just in front of us. The highest peaks of the dunes are about 230 m (755 ft) above the surrounding flats. We spent three days in this area and the best times for photography are definitely the early mornings and late evenings.

Great Sand Dunes 3


This couple hiked down from the dunes one morning (tent camping in the dunes is allowed with a permit) and I really like the shot because it gives a sense of scale. The flowers and grass tell the story about the life in the dunes and that they are not just “a pile of sand” but part of a natural system with high mountains, strong winds, streams, and wetlands. There is more to come, so please stay tuned…