Colorado Adventure 2009 – Sangre de Cristo & The Great Dunes

Day 3 was spent exploring the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, including some time at the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. We started out heading south on US 285 to Villa Grove, where we turned off the pavement and took Hayden Pass over the mountains.

After reaching the pavement again we headed south and topped off the gas tank in Westcliffe before making our way over to Medano Pass. I’ll also mention that right before the turnoff to Medano Pass, we had a bear run across the highway in front of us….it was actually our first bear sighting.

Start of Medano Pass

Sandy two-track

Entering the National Park

First spotting of the dunes, straight ahead

Looking back on the sandy trail

Finally getting closer to the dunes

Soon we reached the pavement in the park and headed over to the dunes to do a little exploring on foot. A few photos…

A storm started rolling in as we were leaving… got VERY windy.

The sign as we left the park

After spending some time at Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve my original goal was to check out Hermit Pass, so we headed east again and took Pass Creek Pass Road back to Colorado 69 and headed north. By the time we reached Westcliffe again, it was starting to get late so I decided to skip Hermit Pass this trip… I’ll have to return another time. We continued north and eventually made it back to Johnson Village, where we had a good dinner at the Coyote Cantina (one of my favorite places to eat in the area).

That’s it for Day 3. Day 4 to be continued…