Great Sand Dunes to begin phased reopening June 3

File photo by Caden Alonzo

MOSCA – Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve will increase recreational access through a phased approach following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health authorities. A phased approach will allow the park to adhere to all guidance, reduce risks to visitors and staff, and promote safe recreational opportunities. Great Sand Dunes continues to follow the State of Colorado “Safer at Home” guidance and to work with county and local officials as these changes are implemented. Great Sand Dunes is in Alamosa and Saguache counties.


This summer’s operation will look different. The park has implemented many strategies to ensure that visitors can still enjoy the park while also minimizing potential risks.


Beginning June 3, Great Sand Dunes will implement Phase 1 and reopen access to:  
Main park road


Dunes parking area and dune field


Medano Pass Primitive Road (if road conditions allow), including established campsites on a first-come, first-served basis


All trails:  Mosca Pass, Montville Nature, Sand Sheet Loop, Wellington Ditch, Dunes Overlook, Sand Ramp, Medano Lake, and Music Pass


All picnic areas:  Mosca Creek, Sand Pit, and Castle Creek


Entrance Station, including the collection of fees if authorized


With public health in mind, the following facilities or areas remain closed until further notice:
Visitor Center


South Ramada group picnic site in the Mosca Creek Picnic Area


Pinon Flats Campground


Overnight backcountry access in the National Park, including the dune field and sites along the Sand Ramp Trail


While the visitor center remains closed, park rangers will provide information outside at the visitor center.  


Great Sand Dunes plans to reopen the Pinon Flats Campground and begin issuing backcountry permits for both the Park and Preserve in mid-June as part of Phase 2; however, Phase 2 is contingent upon successful implementation of Phase 1, sufficient staff capacity and supplies, and current local and state guidance.


“We are excited to welcome visitors back to the park and support our local communities,” said Park Superintendent Pamela Rice. “As the public returns to the park, we ask that they practice social distancing and follow national and state guidance to keep park staff, local residents and the general public safe.”


Alamosa County Public Health Director Della Cox-Vieira stated, “I have confidence in the plan for reopening the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. The Park has done a great job balancing the public health needs of their visitors and staff as they increase public access to the national treasure in our backyard. I remind all visitors to practice social distancing, frequent hand washing, and face covering in the common areas of the Park.”


Upon re-opening, business practices will be put into place to ensure the safety of visitors and staff when interacting at the entrance station, campground, visitor center and public restroom facilities. When recreating, ​we encourage the public ​to follow local area health orders, practice Leave No Trace principles, avoid crowding, practice proper hand washing, avoid high-risk outdoor activities, and wear cloth face masks in crowded areas, especially around the visitor center and restroom facilities.

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