Reaching a height of 750 feet, the sand dunes in Colorado’s San Luis Valley are the largest dunes in North America, and they attract thousands of travelers each year. But, something equally impressive lies beyond these mountains of sand. Looking like massive shark teeth, a collection of ten 14,000-foot peaks pierce the sky and tower over the valley. These mountains in the Sangre de Cristo Range not only provide a dramatic backdrop to Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, but they also offer the chance to experience amazing hikes and other adventures beyond the park’s boundaries.
Outside of the park, you’ll not only encounter rugged mountains, but also several other ecosystems, including wetlands, grasslands, and the Riparian area where cottonwoods, aspens, and alders thrive along lively creeks.
With such a rich landscape surrounding the park, there’s plenty do after you’ve slid down the dunes, like hiking to waterfalls, fishing, biking, and viewing bison. Before you head to the sand dunes or the surrounding area, check out these eight amazing things to experience beyond the boundaries of the national park.