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 - todays park visitor. Natural Features: 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. Recreation: 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 parks forests and alpine terrain, including the Mosca Pass Trail, Dunes Overlook/Sand Ramp Trail and Indian Grove Trail. Facilities: Pinon Flats campground offers 88 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 Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. 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. Nearby Attractions: 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 Park 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. ACTIVITIES Interpretive Programs: Educational Programs Hiking Visitor Center: Ranger Station Day Use Area: Amphitheater
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
Near the DUNES!!! Can be windy!
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.
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.
This camp is in the sand dunes park. Has quite a bit of amenities. You will see and hear neighbors but there was enough space to be comfortable. Great site for everything you need
Great Sand Dunes National Park is a unique experience that is worth the stop. The camping is nice though admittedly lacking shade in a lot of sites. Some sites can be small so pay attention if reserving for a mid to large size RV. The dunes are fun (try renting a sand board for a little adventure) but if you've done the sand and have more time Mosca Pass is a great trail with lots of trees and just outside the park is Zapata Falls, which is a hiking must! It is a short (.25 mile) hike to a beautiful campground. The ride up can be bumpy but worth it.
Arrived here in august it was definitely a different place. We were surprised at how little people were here in august. The place was pretty basic.. bathrooms and thats about it. Not really much wood to gather so planning on finding wood outside the park and bringing it in might be a good plan, Buying it is just ridiculous. The sand dunes were outer worldly and the view from our site was epic.
I arrived on a Sunday around 3pm. Loop 2 had a few sites available, but only for one or two nights. Loop 1 had around three or four sites available. Be sure to make reservations if you can! I got lucky and was able to snag site 18 for two nights. It is in a curve of Loop 1, with the mountains to the back and the dunes to the side. Not too far from the bathroom or the trail. The bathrooms have specified dish washing sinks, which was very convenient. Bring your own soap of course, for the dishes and the bathroom. The bear proof lockers were plenty large enough to fit coolers and dishes. It snowed on me while I was there and was very windy!
The Oasis right outside the park was a nice place to stop and eat or grab some last minute supplies. The short drive to Zapata falls is also worth it!
I was camping in a SylvanSport GO which handled the snow like a champ. Some of my water spilled in the front storage of the GO, but they had already thought about that and put in a drain plug! You can even use that front storage as a cooler in a pinch! Check them out at https://www.sylvansport.com/
We made our way up to GSDNP on a whim during the first week that the campsites were open. During this time of the year (April-May) all sites other than group sites are first come-first serve. We arrived around 3pm and got the second to last site available, so, as with all National Parks, arrive early or make a reservation if you can! We stayed on loop 2, which is the upper-most of the non-group sites, requiring a bit further of a walk to the dunes. Out site was well leveled, clean, and well kept, with a bear bin, table, and fire ring. The site host was very friendly and helpful, and the site store is a short walk away--it carries the typical assortment of goodies and firewood, as well as sunscreen and the like if you forget an essential. We had excellent views of the dunes as well as the neighboring Sangre de Cristo mountains. The campground was a short walk from the visitor center along a beautiful trail that offers access into the wilderness area that shares a boundary with the park. The sites are also a
Pinon Flats Campground is a National Park Service campground nestled in the grass of the high plains at the base of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range, Great Sand Dunes and along the Medano Creek.
Nearly every site is a good one. There are 88 regular tent/RV sites divided evently between the first two lower loops and 3 group sites in the upper loop. Check out the National Park Service's webiste: https://www.nps.gov/grsa/planyourvisit/pinonflatscampground.htm
for more complete information.
If you are not reserving a site, get there early…and early or mid-week serves up better selections. Weekends are packed during the summer.
There is plenty to occupy your time if you are a hiker, brought your MTB, or your snow saucer. Hiking to the top of the Dunes is invigorating, but taxing. I highly recommend utilizing trekking poles and bring plenty of water. Mid-summer, I would also encourage you not to wear open toe sandals, as the sand gets blistering hot. Reported summer temps are between 80-140 degrees. Evenings were cool and we bundled up.
The views from the campsite are breathtaking, wildlife abundant, and stargazing is, well… stellar! In mid-summer the mosquito's were thick but with topical agents, we were fine at dusk.
The panoramic view from atop the Dunes were fantastic! Give yourself an hour to make the climb, especially if you have some little ones. Tote that snow saucer for a wild ride down the Dune, beware that speeds can get frighteningly fast…but hey, its sand.
Storms rolled in over the Dunes unannounce each day but blew in, over and out quite rapidly. Sunsets were captivating and colorful. Medano creek was shallow but refreshing by mid-July…but is a wild playground in May and June with snowmelt runoff from what we heard.
While camping there, hike the trails, hike the Dunes, visit the Visitor's Center…and definitely make time to drive up and hike into Zapata Falls, which is about eight miles outside of the GSDNP&P. There is a small sign along the road coming in, drive a dusty 3+ mile gravel road up to the parking area and hike the remaining half mile. Pack your sandals or water shoes. The waterfall is secreted inside a mountain crevase and you must walk the frigid mountain water in. Yes, your feet will go numb…but it is worth it…a 30ft cascade at 9400 foot elevation.
This trip was a highlight and we anticipate a longer return stay…a definite must do!