I visited the tallest sand dune in North America in the Great Sand Dune National Park in Colorado on a recent solo road trip. I must say that it was one of the most fun i’ve had. Not only i got to hike up sand dunes, i LOVE sand dunes, but i get to ride down and look like a complete badass (not when people see me fall, of course).
I generally hate cold weather, so this is a way for me to participate in winter sports without getting snow in my pants and freeze my butts of! Sand Dune boarding is a lot more tiring than regular snowboarding. Because in addition to boarding, you have to hike up ridiculous sand dunes to the top in order to get a good run down. The taller the dune, the better the run, but also the harder the hike. The trick is to walk up along the edge of the dune where the sand is more stable. Trying to march your way through knee deep sand directly up the face of a dune is a lot of work that doesn’t pay off very well.
I must say that I love sand dune boarding particularly because the sand doesn’t get you wet. However, when its windy, and it gets windy here, the sand will be blowing in your face constantly. Unlike snow, sand doesn’t melt off your clothes, so that’s one down side. I don’t own a snowboard or anything, so i rented this specialized sand dune board from a local outdoor store in the town Alamosa, which is about an hour drive from the park entrance. According to the national park website, Kristi Mountain Sports seem to be the only place where you can rent these boards from. I had a great interaction with them, so i recommend that you rent from them as well. A board is not available at the park.
what to bring: goggles (to protect your eyes from sand), and a thing of wax (boards work better if you wax it a lot).
how to get here: the great sand dune national park has one large sand dunes area. Type in your map, and the direction should be correct. Here is a direction to the park.
sand dune boarding: boarding is allowed and encouraged in the park. It’s a different way to experience the sand dunes beside hiking. However, make sure that you go boarding a way from vegetations. Don’t kill plants. You can board on any dunes you want!
rental: Kristi Mountain Sports rent out these specialized sand dune boards. But if you have snow boards, these should work well too. Again, wax helps make the board runs on the sand. Without wax, your board will most likely get stuck in the sand.
My pictures really aren’t that cool, so here’s a video that shows you how awesome it is.