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Official

Free Camping Collection

Dispersed Camping

Medano Pass Primitive Road — Great Sand Dunes National Preserve

About

National Forest

Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve

Roadside camping is permitted at 21 campsites in Great Sand Dunes National Preserve beginning 5.2 miles from where the road begins near Pi__on Flats Campground. These designated sites are free of charge and first-come, first-served. All 21 sites fill on summer weekends. Passable only in the warmer months and only with high-clearance 4-wheel drive vehicles. This road crosses areas of deep sand, traverses Medano Creek nine times, and passes through excellent habitat for bighorn sheep.

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Location

Medano Pass Primitive Road — Great Sand Dunes National Preserve is located in Colorado

Detail location of campground

Directions

The south entrance to Medano Pass Road begins just below Pinon Flats Campground, one mile north of the visitor center. The road's north access is in the Wet Mountain Valley, on Highway 69 south of Westcliffe.

Coordinates

37.803519 N
105.495654 W

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Access

  • Drive-In
    Park next to your site
  • Walk-In
    Park in a lot, walk to your site.

Stay Connected

  • WiFi
    Unknown
  • Verizon
    Unknown
  • AT&T
    Available
  • T-Mobile
    Unknown

Site Types

  • Dispersed

Features

For Campers

  • Firewood Available
  • Phone Service
  • Toilets
  • Alcohol

Reviews

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4.0

out of 5

8 Reviews

Nathan L.
Reviewed Jun. 5, 2023

Summiting Medano Pass

A couple of friends embarked on an overland trip in Colorado's high country. Medano Pass Primitive Road is a wellknown 4x4 trail near the Great Sand Dunes National Park near Alamosa, Colorado.

Madano Pass Trail has numerous Medano Creek Crossings, Significant scenic sights, plenty of camping, soft sand wheeling, and is rated as Moderate. I'm excited to see what this lil broncos got🤙.

SiteOff the grid
Month of VisitJuly
  • Review photo of Medano Pass Primitive Road — Great Sand Dunes National Preserve by Nathan L., June 5, 2023
  • Review photo of Medano Pass Primitive Road — Great Sand Dunes National Preserve by Nathan L., June 5, 2023
Summer A.
Reviewed Nov. 16, 2022

Not able to access

Drove down a dirt road for many miles, but my path was fenced in so I had to turn around. It was after dark, so may be open in the daylight?

Month of VisitDecember
A
Reviewed Oct. 1, 2022

Need high clearance and 4WD

We came from the north end of the pass along the 559 and found several unmarked, established campsites along the road before reaching the actual pass. They seemed a little bit more sheltered and shady, but no bear storage. Both the ascent and descent through the pass had some washed out, rocky moguls, and light stream crossings on the way out to the dunes

Month of VisitNovember
  • Review photo of Medano Pass Primitive Road — Great Sand Dunes National Preserve by Alex , October 1, 2022
  • Review photo of Medano Pass Primitive Road — Great Sand Dunes National Preserve by Alex , October 1, 2022
  • Review photo of Medano Pass Primitive Road — Great Sand Dunes National Preserve by Alex , October 1, 2022
Abby D.
Reviewed Aug. 28, 2022

Country Roads 🎶 (need a lifted car with 4wheel Drive)

We made it pretty far down the road in the Subaru Outback, but then had to turn around because we were too low to the ground. The campsite was nice! The campsites are very spaced out.

Month of VisitSeptember
  • Review photo of Medano Pass Primitive Road — Great Sand Dunes National Preserve by Abby D., August 28, 2022
  • Review photo of Medano Pass Primitive Road — Great Sand Dunes National Preserve by Abby D., August 28, 2022
Timothy  F.
Reviewed Aug. 17, 2022

Enjoyed the experience

We came in looking for a site after wandering around the Sandune‘s after a rain storm moved through and shortly before sunset. We went all the way to Creek number 6 and the road really got narrow and rough for our Tacoma 4x4 with no place to turn around. Since the rain storm went through the wind picked up, so we decided to descend from our elevation, which was quite an experience backing up with no stars to light, or moon to light the landscape.. But, we got through it and went all the way back to campsite number 3. The moonrise was beautiful, and the next morning our view with clear skies was gorgeous with the temperature of 59°. It is a must that the bear boxes be used.

Site3
Month of VisitAugust
  • Review photo of Medano Pass Primitive Road — Great Sand Dunes National Preserve by Timothy  F., August 17, 2022
  • Review photo of Medano Pass Primitive Road — Great Sand Dunes National Preserve by Timothy  F., August 17, 2022
  • Review photo of Medano Pass Primitive Road — Great Sand Dunes National Preserve by Timothy  F., August 17, 2022
Carolyn Z.
Reviewed Jul. 5, 2021

Beautiful views

I started off 69. I have a stock JK and made it through with no issues. Plenty of dispersed camping sites. I had plenty of room to park, set up my hammock, and have a fire. I would definitely recommend if you're looking for seclusion!

Month of VisitAugust
P
Reviewed Jun. 24, 2020

Great sites. Rough Roads

Definitely need 4 wheel drive and decently high clearance. I only saw Jeeps, 4 runners, and trucks. Rocky and steep at parts, it was pretty damn rough. Then if you go the back way to the dunes there are spots of soft sand and going through the creeks. Good amount of pretty sites. We found a site on a Friday at about 7pm. Highly recommend Medano Lake for a hike in addition to the dunes.

Jason L.
Reviewed Aug. 27, 2019

4 wheel drive required

Medano Pass is the route it's believed that Pike took into the San Luis Valley, and is one of the only primitive roads accessing the valley. The road starts in the Great Sand Dunes National Park, and runs over the mountain and exits on RT 69, or if you want an easy up and hard way down the mountain start off RT 69 and go to the dunes. From 69 to the top of the pass takes about an hour, and you only need high clearance 4 wheel drive for the last two miles of the 12 mile journey to the top. That's not the route we took.

We started at Point of No Return in the Great Sand Dunes National Park, don't worry there are plenty of places to turn back if you get nervous. There's DEEP sand throughout the first six miles, I aired down to 50 from 65, LOL. I figured I'd make it on 35's 12.5" wide, but I can definitely see where as the Sand ets softer I would have gone down to the recommended 20psi. If your going over the mountain have an air compressor to fill your tires when you get to the rocks. There's air at the ampitheater parking lot at the National Park, but no air on RT 69 until you get to a gas station at least twenty miles away.

We made it no issues, buy squeezing a super crew cab, F 250 through was TIGHT! It was FUN though, and my God the place is breathtaking!

Campsites start about five miles in and are spread all the way to the top of Medano Pass. This is National Preserve land, and it is primitive camping. There are fire pits and bear boxes, use the bear boxes as bear encounters are frequent. The sites are clearly marked, and nice size. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO TAKE A TRAILER, if you do you won't make it, I promise you that.

The Park, Preserve, and Forrest boundaries are clearly marked. To camp along the Great Sand Dunes National Park and the Preserve area of the road you must have a permit, free at the visitor center. I suggest reservations. After the Preserve it is a National Forrest and its first come first serve primitive camping only. You can stay for up to 14 days, as with most National land.

The 12 mile trip up from the Park takes about 4 hours, yes it's that rough. AND you will stop alot to take in the amazing views.

Even if you don't camp, take the drive, it's worth it. You will need high clearance 4 wheel drive, all wheel drive will not cut it here.

  • Review photo of Medano Pass Primitive Road — Great Sand Dunes National Preserve by Jason L., August 27, 2019
  • Review photo of Medano Pass Primitive Road — Great Sand Dunes National Preserve by Jason L., August 27, 2019
  • Review photo of Medano Pass Primitive Road — Great Sand Dunes National Preserve by Jason L., August 27, 2019
  • (9) View All

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Medano Pass Primitive Road — Great Sand Dunes National Preserve have wifi?

No, according to campers on TheDyrt.com, Medano Pass Primitive Road — Great Sand Dunes National Preserve does not have wifi.

Is there cell phone reception at Medano Pass Primitive Road — Great Sand Dunes National Preserve?

According to campers on TheDyrt.com, Verizon signal is unknown, AT&T is available, and T-Mobile is unknown.