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    Dunes Overlook Hike

    This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
    This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
    This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
    4.3 km
    This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
    144 m
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    Directions to Trailhead
    Dunes Overlook Hike

    Hiking the Dunes Overlook Trail is an easy-going, scenic adventure in the Great Sand Dunes National Park. Exhibiting the diversity of the area’s flora and fauna whilst exposing epic panoramas of the other-worldly dunes, this trek is tough to beat. If you are seeking a short and sweet expedition in the park, then we may have found your match.

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    Route Description for Dunes Overlook Hike

    The Dunes Overlook Hike lives up to its name—boasting jaw-dropping panoramas of the sandy landscape. Though not the most technical nor immersive hike in the National Park, the Dunes Overlook Trail nevertheless reveals unparalleled vistas of the famous dunes. Though the initial segment of the hike travels through the dispersed campsites, it quickly opens to the undisturbed path, warranting epic views. Note the unshaded terrain, while scenic, can be unbearably hot in the summer, so bring plenty of water and wear sun protection! Additionally, prickly pear cactus lines the route, so be mindful of where you and your pup step! The National Park charges an entrance fee of $25USD for 1-6 passenger vehicles.

    From the Dunes overlook, you will be rewarded with a dumbfounding scene of the dune field that dominates the landscape. The Dune Overlook Trail is an awesome hike that can be enjoyed by adventurers of all skill levels and ages. This accessible excursion exhibits epic views of the Great Dunes and the area’s diverse flora and fauna. Lined with cactus, ponderosa pines, juniper, vibrant wildflowers, and more, the vegetation is abundant and vibrant in the summer. Wildlife is also present in the area, including several species of birds, elk, deer, and rabbits. Be sure to admire and appreciate the area’s biological diversity as you wander to the overlook.

    Embark on your adventure along the Dune Overlook Hike from the parking lot at the intersection of Medano Pass Primitive Road and Highway 150. From here, wander east along the shoulder of Highway 150 before turning left onto Loop 2. Follow Loop 2 north, passing the Mosca Pass Outpost and several campsites. Crossing over Garden Creek, you will eventually reach the trailhead signposted for the Sand Ramp Trail. Begin trekking along the Sand Ramp Trail, heading north while intersecting with several alpine streams. As you wander along this path, be sure to admire the lush vegetation while being mindful of the cactus!

    Soon you will cross over Bear Creek before confronting an intersection. Here, veer right, and you will be diverted onto the Dunes Overlook Trail. Setting out from the junction, the route will begin to more intensely climb while redirecting you east. You will eventually reach the overlook by demanding the navigation of a few switchbacks. Revealing the enormity of the sand dunes, you will be blown away by the surreal scene. Notice High Dune and Star Dune decorated with intrepid adventurers in the southwest and those cooling off in the Medano Creek below. After revelling in the post-card-worthy panorama, backtrack along to the trailhead and parking lot, marking the end of your scenic expedition.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How much does it cost to hike in the Great Sand Dunes National Park?

    Per vehicle, the Great Sand Dunes National Park charges $25USD for 1-6 passengers, $40USD for 7-25 passengers, and $100USD for 26+ passengers.

    How long does it take to hike the Dunes Overlook Trail?

    The Dunes Overlook Hike generally takes about 1-1.5hrs out-and-back.

    Insider Hints for Dunes Overlook Hike

    • Be sure to charge your camera, the stunning scenery is undoubtedly Instagram-able.
    • The terrain is uneven and rocky in sections, so we suggest sturdy footwear.
    • Head across the road and explore the Great Sand Dunes yourself!
    • The terrain is exposed, so pack plenty of water and wear sun protection on sunny, hot days.

    Getting to the Dunes Overlook Hike Trailhead

    The Dunes Overlook Hike is accessed via the trailhead in the Pinyon Flats Campground. Find parking off Highway 105.

    Route Information

    • Backcountry Campground

      Pinyon Flats Campground Dispersed Backcountry Sites. Note a permit is required from the Visitors Center.

    • When to do


    • Pets allowed

      Yes - On Leash

    • Family friendly


    • Route Signage


    • Crowd Levels


    • Route Type

      Out and back

    Dunes Overlook Hike Elevation Graph

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    Dunes Overlook Hike Reviews

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