Love the silence!
I really enjoy staying at Pinyon Flats, of all the park service campgrounds this is on the top of my list. If you get the right sight you will have amazing views of the dunes and surrounding mountains. The sites have plenty of room for the tent camping folks, things can get tight for RVs. Some of the site are pretty close to each other, but spacing for most is quiet nice. The restrooms were very clean with flush toilets, and dish washing facilities outside. Each site has a picnic table, metal fire rings, and bear proof food lockers. Be sure to watch the dunes in the evening as the low setting sun cast shadows over the sand dunes. Get hiking opportunities in the park, but one of the best is hiking through the dunes. Campground roads and parking pads are paved. Campground takes reservations so it can get difficult during the summer months to find a spot if you don't have a reservation. This last visit in the beginning of October we found plenty of open sites for the night. Campground has 88 sites at$20 a night.
We stayed here one night after arriving late to the dunes. Just a short drive from the dunes to this site is convenient. They have first come first serve spots as well as reservations. You have to register each day of your stay. They have bathrooms with flush toilets and running water. Camp spots have a place for tent, fire ring and bear box. You just pull your car right up. Great spot for only $20 a night. Worth it to be so close to the dunes.
I loved that campground is located right on the path to get to the Dunes! Be prepared to be exhausted -- hardest 3 mile hike ever!
I hated that the dish sink wasn't working and the toilets had no soap.
Piñon Flats is located one mile north of the Visitor Center. Any sites not reserved become available as first-come, first-served. Check out the National Park website for more details on this process.
This camping area has restrooms with sinks, toilets, dishwashing sink, and water spigots are available in all three loops. There is a fire grate and picnic table at each individual site, with multiple grates and tables at group sites. Some sites have trees for shade, while others are more out in the open.
Attractions: When you’re not sand boarding or sledding at the park, I recommend checking out nearby hiking or off roading. Zapata Falls, San Luis Wildlife Area, Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Montville Nature Trail, and the Medano Creek Lakes are all great places to check out!
Tip: When the Medano Creek is flowing in May and early June, expect all campsites to be reserved in advanced. This is a very popular time to visit so expect long lines, overflowing parking lots, and most campgrounds within 20 miles to be full. Plan in advance for this time of year or for a better experience, visit on weekdays.
Must pay $20 entrance fee for carload before entering park unless you have the yearly parks pass.
Once inside the visitor center has a lot of helpful information. If you have kids they have a cute Jr. Ranger program that the kids really enjoyed where they get a cool badge from Great Sand Dunes National Park. The camping area was clean and had a perfect view of the dunes and mountains. The bear boxes provided were nice and gave us peace of mind. The restrooms were nearby but no soap or a way to dry hands were provided. No biggie though, just good to know.
There was shade at most camping sites. Our had a nice shade tree. The fire ring was nice although we didn’t use it because it was too windy.
Very nice campground with awesome views and education for all who are interested.
We enjoyed our stay at Pinon Flats Campground. I think staying on site for your visit to Great Sand Dunes National Park is ideal because you get much more out of the cool mornings and evenings. The site is quite at night from City/road noises but it is frequently windy at night. Our tent was moving enough I was afraid it was going to collapse. The wind may have been less noticeable if we had stayed at a site further up into the trees. All of the sites have tent pads where you are required to place your tent. I found that the meausements online were not accurate, at least for our site. There are bear boxes at each site for reauired use. The campground has a trail running off it that leads to the dunes. It is a good 10-15 minute walk until you reach the sand with no shade.
Site 34- Amazing views! This site is back towards the dunes, with views of the mountains as well. Being on the outer portion of the campground did result in a decreased amount of shade with the tent pad/picnic table exposed throughout most of the day. There was a small grouping of trees to the side which we were able to rest under for shade. This site has close proximity to the bathroom, and is located next to the trail that leads to the dunes. It's proximity to the trail does bring increased foot traffic next to the site. The tent pad was listed online as being 6x6 but we were able to fit our 9'x7' tent on it without hanging over.
Aways a spot even when it says full. Trees for ur hammock. Workout sand hiking
This site isn’t really big enough for an RV of any size. It didn't affect us, as we were tent camping, but we saw our neighbors really struggling for like an hour trying to get into their site. That said, the view of the dunes and mountains from #25 is spectacular. It backs up to the restroom (flush toilets), which was only a minor nuisance due to extra foot traffic around our site. There is a camp store in the campground with firewood and water and whatever else you may have forgotten (like jiffy pop and s’mores sticks)! All of the sites have their own bear boxes, too.
I won't lie, having never visited the Sand Dunes before I was skeptical about the campground. I assumed it would be crowded with little shade or privacy.
I was so very wrong regarding Pinyon Flats! As I drove through the loop, I was impressed by the beauty of the sites and surroundings, the amount of shade, the active wildlife and the spacing privacy available in most sites.
The campsites and facilities were all very well maintained. We are tent campers, so appreciated the level tent pad, picnic table and fire pit. I unzipped my tent to find some local deer preparing to nibble the rain fly - it was a wonderful experience to see wildlife throughout the campground. There we lovely birds as well.
I give the Pinyon Flats campground an A+. For a popular, full campground it was remarkably quiet and peaceful, and just lovely.
You can reserve space at Pinyon Flats through the Recreation.gov website. It is best to reserve several months in advance of your stay, particularly if you are visiting in peak season for the Park.