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    Medano Lake Trail

    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.
    12.7 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.
    698 m
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    Directions to Trailhead
    Medano Lake Trail

    The Medano Lake Hike is an awesome alpine adventure in the Great Sand Dunes National Park. Immerse yourself in the alpine environment as you explore mixed pine forests and shimmering lakes bounded by the craggy Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

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    Route Description for Medano Lake Trail

    Hiking the Lake Medano Trail is an incredible experience. This trail travels high into the Sangre de Cristo summits, a welcome diversion from the National Parks typical sand dune expeditions. It is important to be acclimatized to the area’s altitude before your trek when travelling into high elevations. Additionally, we recommend heading out at dawn to reach the lake’s shore before noon, mitigating the chances of getting caught in an afternoon storm! We also suggest wearing layers as the conditions will likely be cooler along the exposed shores of the lake. Finally, keep in mind that the Great Sand Dunes National Park charges a $25USD entrance fee for 1-6 passenger vehicles, granting access to all the trails and attractions within the park.

    Your exciting adventure along the Lake Medano Trail begins atop Medano Pass's trailhead. From here, head southwest along the Medano Pass Primitive Road. Shortly after you depart from the trailhead, you’ll confront an intersection, stay right here, and you will be diverted onto the Medano Lake Trail. Setting out from the junction, the path will track northwest through the forested valley of Medano Creek.

    Enjoy the shade of the lush pines and aspens as you wander along the babbling waters of the alpine creek. Eventually, the route will open to an exposed basin where Medano Lake sits. From the shores of the charming alpine lake, you will be astounded by the grandeur of the sheer cliffs of Mount Herard that surround you. Revel in the incredible alpine scenery, and when you are ready, retrace your footing along the path back to the trailhead.

    Getting to the Medano Lake Trail Trailhead

    The Lake Medano Trail is accessed via the trailhead atop Medano Pass at the end of Medano Pass Road.

    Route Information

    • Backcountry Campground

      Dispersed Backcountry Camping. Note a permit is required from the Visitors Center.

    • When to do


    • Pets allowed

      Yes - On Leash

    • Family friendly

      Older Children only

    • Route Signage


    • Crowd Levels


    • Route Type

      Out and back

    Medano Lake Trail Elevation Graph

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    Medano Lake Trail Reviews

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