Dunes Hiking

Del Norte, Colorado 81132

Dunes Hiking

Dunes Hiking Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"Middle Frisco Trail follows sparkling, gurgling Middle San Francisco Creek and its tributaries up to San Francisco Lakes. Starting among stands of ponderosa pine and Douglas fir, the trail slowly gains elevation, eventually switchbacking up to a nice spruce-fir forest and subalpine meadows.

Wildflowers are abundant along the trail in July. Keep an eye open for elk and cattle. Near the upper lake, there is an ancient bristlecone pine forest. The lower part of the trail is fantastic when the aspen are golden yellow and orange. The lakes are snuggled in high basins between Bennett Peak and Pintada Mountain."

Dunes Hiking Trip Reports

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8/11/2006
Lot of fun hiking the dunes, but watch out for the weather--changes quickly. By the time we reached the top, winds were at 40-50kts. By the time we scrambled down, it was pouring rain. Didn't finish the hike, but had a ball playing in the sand. Great place for kids!
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5/29/2006
This is a fascinating area. There are no officail trails marked. You just make your way to the top of the sand dunes. You learn very quickly that you need to stick to the ridgelines if you want to make any progress. If you attempt to go straight up the side of a dune, you will slip back 3 steps for every 4 steps forward. The sand becomes very hot in the afternoon so hike in the morning if possible. All in all this was an extemely enjoyable experience.
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11/12/2003
As a kid, I had never seen such radically different landscapes. Huge dunes, extending for miles, bordered on 2 sides by towering snowcapped mountains. Wow! Either on the dunes or in the mountains it is spectacular. In the summer a full moon night is the best time to hike, so you don't burn your feet. I just went in November, barefoot, first thing in the morning, to get the isolated feeling that a desert can give you. The warmth of the sun & sand is perfect then. The car campgrounds are nice enough and offer nice views of the dunes. Summer can get busy. Bring a snowboard for descents. Or just roll down the steep slopes with a smile & a laugh & find sand in places you never knew about. The hike up can be as quick as you like, you soon learn that a staight line to the top is not the fastest route. There are unlimited options to roam far and wide and avoid all people...just bring water.
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8/21/2003
Spactacular views of this contrasting landscape and find your self as alone as can be. The trail nessled on east side of park shows you geologic marvals and great veiws of the sangre de cristos. It seems like two contrasting worlds. The hike is fairly easly except of all the sand. And there are good sights for backcountry camping along the why that make for a easly low intesnity backpacking experenice or if you chouse to go fearther you can go up the sand ramp trail taking you alittle of ten mile form the point of no return. But overnight paking is by permite only so make sure to stop and vistor center before starting. Have fun, go dune jumping or wade in the sandy creek beds. A perfet trip for the whole family.
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9/4/2000
This area is extremely unique. With views of 14 thousand foot mountains and giant sand dunes on either side. The sand dunes are huge, and create quite a spectacle. You will often see wildlife drinking from the creek that runs along the East side of the dunes. Although I wouldn't recommend driving from a distance to see the dunes, I would recommend stopping by if you are in the area
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Dunes Hiking Photos

Trail Information

Del Norte
Nearby City
12.9
Distance
Out-and-back
Trail Type
Difficult
Skill Level
6 to 8.5 hours
Duration
Best from mid-June to mid-Oct
Season
USGS Jasper and Horseshoe Mountain; Nat Geo Trails Illustrated 142 South San Juan Wilderness/Del Norte (Middle Frisco Creek is on this map, but the trail isn?t.)
Local Maps

Trail Log