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Old 06-10-2021, 08:38 PM
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Default Great Sand Dunes National Park - Mosca Pass Trail

This popular trail leaves the visitor center at Great Sand Dunes National Park in south central Colorado and heads east, up the Mosca Creek drainage to Mosca Pass, a 3.25 mile adventure heading away from the dunes. There is also access from the east to the Mosca Pass trailhead. It's about half an hour in from US 69 south of Westcliffe, CO. That's where we started on Tuesday morning.

One of the reasons this is one of my favorite CO trails is the different ecosystems one gets to experience in a relatively short distance. The trail starts off in grassy flatlands often seen in mountain passes.



Then, into a canyon through rock formations



The trail flattens out as it follows the creek through forests of aspen



The Mosca Pass trail ends at the GSDNP visitor center. From there, footpaths head toward Medano Creek.



Medano Creek runs only during the spring runoff. Located at the base of the sand dunes, it offers a rare opportunity in Colorado to enjoy a day at the beach.

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Last edited by Mr. Paul; 06-10-2021 at 08:46 PM.
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Old 06-10-2021, 09:03 PM
skinnerb skinnerb is offline
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So lovely and inviting. A very different environ than my Southwest Washington and Willapa Bay. Your pictures make me want to visit and take in the Aspen trees and the Dunes. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 06-10-2021, 10:03 PM
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Love that area. The sand dunes should be a "bucket list" visit for folks! It's especially inviting when Medano Creek is running. Interesting that you'd "reverse" the elevation and start at the top and go downhill. How was the hike back up at the end of the day?
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Old 06-11-2021, 05:23 AM
KenL KenL is offline
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Nice photos, Paul, thanks. Haven't been to the Dunes for a while; it's like being on a different planet.

Did you take that handsome pup of yours along?
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Old 06-11-2021, 07:04 AM
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So lovely and inviting. A very different environ than my Southwest Washington and Willapa Bay. Your pictures make me want to visit and take in the Aspen trees and the Dunes. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you, skinnerb

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Originally Posted by Chipotle View Post
Love that area. The sand dunes should be a "bucket list" visit for folks! It's especially inviting when Medano Creek is running. Interesting that you'd "reverse" the elevation and start at the top and go downhill. How was the hike back up at the end of the day?
Chipotle, this is the 3rd time I've done the trail from the top and I much, MUCH prefer the easy downhill return at the end of the day. It got to be a real slog in the hot afternoon sun.

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Nice photos, Paul, thanks. Haven't been to the Dunes for a while; it's like being on a different planet.

Did you take that handsome pup of yours along?
Thanks Ken, yes though Sophie is slowing down a bit she is still up for adventures!

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Old 06-11-2021, 07:38 AM
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Love Medano creek in the spring. 1/4 mile wide and 6" deep! Constantly changing flow patterns.
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Old 06-11-2021, 11:59 AM
KenL KenL is offline
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Paul, how is the tick situation down there?

I keep hearing it's bad this year, but I have yet to see one on my dog or elsewhere.
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Old 06-11-2021, 12:02 PM
Kerbie Kerbie is offline
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Great pics! Thanks for sharing. I always enjoyed hiking in the West. Beautiful country!
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Old 06-11-2021, 12:09 PM
eyesore eyesore is offline
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oh man!! I can't wait to retire so I can take a long drive west !! thanks for sharing these great pics!
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Old 06-11-2021, 12:55 PM
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oh man!! I can't wait to retire so I can take a long drive west !! thanks for sharing these great pics!
Shane is taking a long ride west
Actually he's just getting an early start so he won't be late for the Jackson Hole Hootenanny.
out there past the cows to the left and to the timber )
Finally staring this Monday after the forced Covid recess



Shane was filmed just north of this Jackson Hole icon
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Old 06-11-2021, 01:10 PM
marty bradbury marty bradbury is offline
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Beautiful! My favorite thing to do is......Yes, hiking. I feel so much better after one.
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Old 06-11-2021, 02:08 PM
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Paul, how is the tick situation down there?

I keep hearing it's bad this year, but I have yet to see one on my dog or elsewhere.
Same here, I keep hearing about them but have yet to see one. I've seen exactly one tick in the 10 years we've lived here.

Great Sand Dunes NP is another example of how folks are, more than ever, heading outdoors. Website says the entrance station during weekends is seeing cars lined up for 1 - 3 miles waiting to get in.
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Old 06-11-2021, 02:37 PM
Dru Edwards Dru Edwards is offline
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Originally Posted by KenL View Post
Paul, how is the tick situation down there?

I keep hearing it's bad this year, but I have yet to see one on my dog or elsewhere.
Ticks ... lots of ticks here in Nova Scotia. I have to check myself after every hike (although I haven't taken my first hike of the year yet).
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