Great Sand Dunes National Park Kid Hikes

The main reason people go visit Great Sand Dunes National Park is to go sand boarding. We enjoyed that activity, but our main reason for visiting all the national parks is to get out on the trails and do some hiking. We love to see the treasures that these parks preserve. So we’ve rounded up a few hikes that you can do in Great Sand Dunes with your kids in tow. Also, it’s important to know that there are many more trails into the mountains above the dunes if you have a four-wheel drive vehicle.

Great Sand Dunes is a lot of fun in the sand.

Dunes Trail Overlook

We did this moderate hike so that we could see the sunset. It’s short and climbs gently to a ridge so that you can overlook the dunes. At around 2.7 miles roundtrip with a bit of elevation change, it’s still easy enough for the family. This was our favorite trail in the park.

Dunes Overlook Trail

Montville Nature Trail

This trail is a very short half-mile loop starting at its own trailhead. It leaves the sand behind and winds through the thick trees with a good chance to see wildlife. Though it climbs up hill, it is never steep or difficult. We enjoyed this lush area of the park, and the trail guide as we hiked.

Montville Nature Trail

Sand Sheet Interpretive Trail

There is a small nature trail behind the Visitor Center that runs less than a half-mile roundtrip. It starts around the left side of the building as you are facing the front door. There are interpretive signs, but you are exposed to full sun. The walk is easy and informative and wheel friendly. It’s perfect if you’re tired of all that sand.

Sand Sheet Interpretive Trail

Zapata Falls

Zapata Falls is sort of cheating because it lies outside the boundaries of the park by a few miles. It is still very popular with park visitors because it leads to a cool grotto that has a 25 foot waterfall that cascades in two sections. This was our favorite hike in the park, even if it wasn’t quite in the park, so we had to include it on our Great Sand Dunes Kid Hikes list.

As we mentioned above, there are other trails available if you have 4WD. One other trail that lots of people hike is to the top of one of the dunes. We had considered doing this, but after we could barely manage to hike across the sand carrying our sleds and boards, we knew this trail wasn’t for us.

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