Pinon Flats Campground is located in Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve in southern Colorado. The huge dunes are the tallest in North America and comprise about 11 percent of an enormous sand deposit that covers more than 330 square miles.
The dunes have long stood as a landmark for travelers from ancient North Americans to Southern Ute, Jicarilla Apaches, Navajos, early explorers, gold miners, homesteaders, ranchers, farmers and migrant field workers, to you - today's park visitor.
Great Sand Dunes' wide range of natural features provides endless outdoor recreational activities. The park is perfect for kids, who love exploring the dunefield on foot or by sled. Medano Creek, at the base of the dunes, is a popular place in the summertime. Kids and adults alike love to splash in the cool water.
Many kid-friendly, ranger-led activities and a junior ranger program are available.
Many miles of hiking and backpacking trails lead through the park's forests and alpine terrain, including the Mosca Pass Trail, Dunes Overlook/Sand Ramp Trail and Indian Grove Trail.
Pinon Flats campground offers 86 campsites; all are available to reserve in advance. Sites that are not reserved will be offered on a first-come, first-serve basis at the park. The park recommends making a reservation in advance, especially for peak summer weekends and holidays. Private first-come, first-served camping is also available just outside the park boundary. For more information about camping, visit www.nps.gov/grsa/planyourvisit/camping.htm. During visitor center operating hours, you can see a park film, experience interactive exhibits, speak with a helpful ranger and visit the Western National Parks Association store. Kids of all ages can pick up a Junior Ranger booklet or participate in the Junior Ranger Explorer program.
Great Sand Dunes are the magnificent centerpiece of a natural system that includes high mountain peaks, sparkling streams, vast grasslands and lush forests.
The campground is situated among pinon pines and sagebrush beneath the majestic Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Most sites have beautiful views of the snow-covered peaks.
A wide variety of grasses and wildflowers can be found throughout the area, and mule deer are commonly seen in and around the campground.
Zapata Falls is just south of the national park off Highway 150. A short but slippery 1/2-mile hike leads to a 25-foot high cascade. Simply driving to the trailhead provides an excellent view of the entire dunefield and San Luis Valley, especially at sunrise or sunset. San Luis State Wildlife Area is located at the western edge of Great Sand Dunes National Park. It features a large natural lake popular for boating, water skiing, sailing, windsurfing and fishing.
ADA Access: N
We stayed here mid summer. We picked a perfect time because it rained in the afternoons which cooled things down nicely and kept the sand firm in the morning while we hiked. By the time we got to the top it was dried out enough to board or sled down which was a blast. The falls are really cool as well as beautiful scenery in all directions
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.
Near the DUNES!!! Can be windy!
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.
This campground is really close to so many easy hikes as well as the sand dunes. It is a perfect campsite to go to when visiting the national park. The stars were beautiful at night time and overall had a wonderful experience at this campsite.
Aways a spot even when it says full. Trees for ur hammock. Workout sand hiking
I met an IG friend here for a couple days hiking in the park. Campground was clean and set up well with 3 loops that packed the sites pretty close, but each was separated by trees so it did not feel like you were too close. Frequent patrols by rangers kept things quiet. The trails into the mountains and out to the dunes were close and easy to access. Bathrooms were also clean and close. I will go back.