On a business trip coming back from Santé Fe, I decided to take the back way up US 285 to Alamosa. I had a brand new Suburban for my trip that would last a couple more weeks as I headed back to Denver, then making stops along the way up to Glacier National Park. And I didn’t feel like looking at the interstate…again. Normally this ride is hot and dusty but in the winter is has a quiet serenity to it. I was in no hurry.
Arriving in Alamosa I headed east on US 160 for 14 miles before turning north on county road 150 to Great Sand Dunes National Park. I arrived at the gate and presented my National Parks Pass and ID. Then the Ranger said the strangest thing to me as he handed me a map. “Good Morning Mr. Polley. Welcome to Great Sand Dunes National Park. Enjoy it, you are the only one here today.” Yep. I had an entire national park to my self. No tourists, no lines, no….anything. This was going to be great.
I proceeded straight to the main visitors center to get my bearings, enjoyed the displays, learned about why this odd desert landscape was tucked into a valley of the Rocky Mountains, and took my sweet time. Then, I meandered around the park. In no particular direction. I made my way toward the dunes and just wandered around. The entire time I was there, I saw one other visitor. And we avoided each other once we were aware of our mutual existence. This place is an odd natural wonder in the summer. The blowing dust and sand of a dessert in the middle of Colorado is a sight to see. But in the winter it is completely different; a desert covered in snow. It defies logic in my brain and doesn’t make any sense. But it is a must-see destination, especially in the colder months.