We had a large group come out to camp with 3 dogs. It was a HUGE space and we had it all to ourselves! We were less than 1 hour from Great Sands but we could see the dunes and Mt. Blanca. Sunrise and sunset were amazing from this view.
Directions to get here were complicated at first because it is so far off the road and we came in at night but once we found it, it was easy to find again and the directions made complete sense!
It was perfect weather for this time of year because it wasn't super hot but if you are here in the Summer then be prepared for no shade.
Like others have said, find a shaded spot. I was there in early September and the days were still warm and sunny. I didn’t need to reserve as the campground was only a little more than half full. Proximity to the dunes was great. If you want the creek experience then you must go in Spring…completely dry in the Fall. There was a lot of deer around and the site was plenty roomy and level. Mosca Pass hiking trail next to the campground and the trailhead is within the Great Sand Dunes National Park. It’s a nice moderate trail.
The road to Zapata Falls is super rough but passenger cars shouldn't have any problem as long as you keep it slow. The campground itself is zigzagged along the hillside. There are big firepits, picnic tables and bearsafe lockers for your food at every site. Some sites have tarps laid out where ideal tent sites are. There are multiple RV sites as well. The camp host is super friendly and does a good job upkeeping the grounds. The is no water access and pit-toilets. There is hand sanitizer in every bathroom though. Just a heads up, the country store down the road towards Great Sand Dunes was closed for the season when we visited, so make sure you have plenty of ice and gas.
Joyful Journey is a lovely little hot springs in the middle of the San Luis Valley. The Sangre de Christo Mountains tower in the distance and on a moonlit night, they positively glow from the farthest pool. The water in these springs have trace amounts of lithium which makes them even more relaxing than others I've tried.
The springs is popular and can be a bit crowded, so be sure to reserve your spot ahead of time. Bring your own towels, as they can't always keep up with demand and flip flops are also a must for the showers. However, camping lets you stay a bit later than other folks and being able to wonder across the parking lot to the campground after a good soak instead of driving is a huge draw.
Since the campground as its just an extension of the parking lot there is room for large rigs. It features all the all the basics with a clean and close shower house, electrical hookups and grills. The nightly fee includes access to the pools and continental breakfast in the morning. Pets are allowed for an additional fee.
There are also yurts, teepees and motel rooms available to rent.
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.
My family and I made our first trip to The Great Sand Dunes this year. The campground had lots of amenities and was in a great location. This was our first RV trip and we found the RV spots were pretty packed in together. But they are all in 1 line, the view was great, and bathrooms are really close. This is a great place to stay a couple nights.
This this site offers primitive camping, I do not know if they have hookups or not for campers. It's a very beautiful area! Very desert, Western, with Incredible rock formations throughout. If you're into rock climbing you will love it here! There are many many campsites, but they each seemed private enough. We were there in July and only saw a handful of other campers. I was very pleased to find this place. We'll definitely Camp there again! There are composting toilets, no showers, and no access to River water.
First off the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado, i feel are underappreciated. It is amazing to see a desert that sits right behind the Rockies that still have snow on them. Anyway, the campground inside the park are the Pinyon Flats. This is a standard campsite for a park, most spots are of similar size and offer picnic tables and metal fire rings. There are a lot of spots, almost 100. Choose a spot wisely here as it can get very hot, some spots do not have tree cover. In the busy summer you should always try to reserve here as it attracts a lot of visitor.
There is a fee to camp in these spots as well as a fee to enter the park. If you enter the park after hours you can avoid that entry fee but will still need to pay the campsite. If not you will end up paying both fees which i think is crazy. We only ended up staying in these spots for one night and them moved on to the Zapata Falls campground which is outside the park (i will review that at another time)
The spots are located a stones throw from the dunes which makes exploring very easy an accessible. For a unique experience, head over to the nearby town of Alamosa to rent a sand board. Take a hike anywhere on the dunes and ride them down! Its a lot of fun. Overall this is a great spot, you cant go wrong.
This site takes reservations, but we had great luck with finding a campsite same-day. The sites are very well-maintained, accessible, and perfect for car camping or RV camping. They also have running water in the bathrooms, a dishwashing station, and a drinking water spout. Such luxury! From the campsite, it was only a short saunter into the Dune field (15 min), so this gave us plenty of time to explore the Dunes and preserve. The sites seemed very family-friendly and had ADA compliant sites.
We stayed here to be close to Great Sand Dunes. We got in late at night and the road was very rough and harder to follow after dark. The campsites are set up on the hillside and offer very little flat space. They do have tent pads so you don't have to worry about sleeping on too much of a pitch. They also include picnic tables, fire rings, and bear lockers. They are serviced by pit toilets. We were not able to find running water, but it may have just been because we were there in the winter.
It was a very cold night on the mountain side and got down to 14 degrees, so be ready for that if you are going in the winter.
We hiked to the waterfall in the morning and it was well worth it. The view from the trail head was very pretty and we were glad we saw it.
The payment machine was broken while we were there and it ended up being by donation. We gladly paid to stay.
Let me start by saying that I'm not a huge fan of the KOA campgrounds, so take my star rating with a grain of salt. Having said that, this is a cute little campground.
We were towards the back of the campsites, but there is really nothing out there to block your view. It is WIDE OPEN, let me tell you. Only a short drive from Great Sand Dunes NP, we found the location to be ideal plus we got some late night pizza ordered up which is saying a lot out there.
Staff was very helpful and the guests were even nicer. I'd have no problem going back to this site. I'd try for the National Park first, but this one was just fine. Amenities were better than most NP or SP's I've visited since, but again that is a trade-off for being closer to the action.
Oh, and bring your Elmer Fudd accent. This place is overrun with rabbits. Not a bad animal as far as infestations go.
There are around 90 primitive tent only campsites here in addition to a couple dozen RV sites, cabins, and a mini lodge.
$25/night for a tent only site, but the location to the park can’t be beat and the fee includes two showers (unlimited time).
Some sites have picnic tables (not in the best shape) and all have fire rings.
The general store is open from 8am-8pm, along with the restaurant. Everything was pretty reasonably priced and the food was good. They also rent boards for surfing the sand dunes.
The view of the sunset and Milky Way were priceless. We would definitely return.
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.
The campground was nice, but we took our atv and the trails are very narrow, and when encountering another atv, theres really no where to get around. There were also lots of people walking and hiking the trails, making it very dangerous on an atv.
One of my favorite campgrounds. Stayed on a weeknight (but during busy season of late July), and it was only half full. Views are amazing, including of the dunes. Sites are far apart for lots of privacy. 10-minute walk to the creek and falls, which are phenomenal. I loved being right there so we could go to them twice without conquering the road up more than once. Yes, the road sucks, but our rented Toyota Corolla made it. Just bring your patience and go SLOW. No water, pit toilets only. Fine by me, because I prefer the quiet and less-crowded conditions that primitive campgrounds tend to foster.
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.
This campground is in a secluded lovely valley on the south fork of the white river. Good fishing opportunities and trails for hiking and horseback riding. Spring cave is open seasonally April 15-aug15 with permit required to protect the bats from White nose syndrome. The cave is beautiful, and also wet and cold. Helmet and lights and good warm clothes are essential!
Campsites are close together, some smaller and some better or groups. Site#5 can fit 4-5 tents. Pit toilets which are kept very clean by camp host. Equestrian trailer parking available.
Easy pull in spots for your RV and campers. Well maintained bathrooms and facilities to use after a sandy day at the dunes. Relatively close to the dunes (About a 15 minute drive to the parking lot from the campsites). Would recommend staying here!
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.
We loved this camp site! It was our first time to tent camp in Colorado and it was great. Several sites to choose from. Some have views of the dunes, some are more secluded. Bathrooms were clean. Very spacious tent site with a fire pit. Our tent sleeps 6 and we had no trouble fitting in the spot.
Rio Costilla is an awesome place to camp. it isn’t hot during the day like most campgrounds and is always green. It’s a mountainous terrain with a 7 small lakes that has a stream running through them and all through the camgrounds. It also has one amazingly clear blue lake that you have to hike about 1/2 mile to get to. It’s beautiful! you can go fishing in all the lakes and is regularly stocked but also has native fish in the lakes too. This campground does get a little chilly in the night, even in summer, so bring a good sleeping bag. It will drizzle sometimes but it’s nice. There is dew on the grass every morning. There is no running water at this campground, so bring plenty. They have port-o-potties by every camping site and they keep them very clean. They also have cattle that roam around the campground but they never bother you. The hikes they have at this place are AMAZING!! The mountain is covered with tall pines and some aspen, so it’s never too hot. There Is also a large variety of mushrooms and toadstools growing on the hikes. It’s really neat. If you’re lucky, you’ll see some deer on one of your hikes. The views you get as you hike farther up the mountain are breathtaking! This place is awesome and my favorite camping grounds.