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  #1  
Old May 30th, 2010, 21:13
xj-grin xj-grin is offline
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Medano Pass - Great Sand Dunes NP

So we decided on a whim to take a day trip to Great Sand Dunes today, and decided to go in "backwards", westward over Medano Pass. For those who haven't been before, two things (1) GO! (2) Medano Pass is kindof the backdoor into the park, coming over the Sangre De Cristo's from the Walsenberg/Gardner side, and dropping into Sand Dunes NP on the eastern edge at the mountains (main entrance is on the southwest side of the park). The mountains between the pass and the park are actually not part of the NP, but are federal land part of the Great Sand Dunes Nature Preserve, so it is somewhat a wilderness area with (1) a 4wd road, and (2) primitive campsites, complete with "bear lockers" -- the Sangres are big time bear habitat...

Without further ado -- we drove the 1.5 hours south of CS to Walsenberg, and headed west about 30 miles on CO Hwy 69 to the turn to FS Road 559 - Medano Pass. It was a perfect, if cool, day - 65 degrees. Medano Pass is a fairly uncomplicated 4wd road, really probably don't need to use 4wd all that much, except for the low range, as it is steep in parts (and has 9 stream crossings on the way back down into the park of Medano Creek...)

Just getting started, view of the Sangres from the start of the Medano Pass road:



Less than 1/2 way up, looking back at Spanish Peaks:


Cool road, great views:




We had a nice picnic about 3/4 of the way up, awesome views to the SE:



Coming over the top, with tremendous aspens on the way back down:



The first (and shallowest) of the 9 main-channel water crossings:


No. 2

Last edited by xj-grin; May 30th, 2010 at 21:18.
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Old May 30th, 2010, 21:16
xj-grin xj-grin is offline
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Re: Medano Pass - Great Sand Dunes NP

Cont:

26 campsites on the park side, all have these big brown bear lock boxes... some real nice, real big, group type sites:


and then, all of a sudden...


The scale is just tremendous (second time this week I have been overwhelmed by the hugeness of it all)


Last crossing... just touched the rockers (34cfs today, they close the trail at 50 cfs)


WOW




Right where the NP starts, Medano Creek intersects the eastern portion of the dunes, creating this odd, semi-beach-like setting -- the sand is hot, the water is COLD -- the boys had a blast!







the beached whale is me...
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Old May 30th, 2010, 21:17
xj-grin xj-grin is offline
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Re: Medano Pass - Great Sand Dunes NP

Cont:

some knuckle-dragger types were boarding the dunes pretty well too!


Gorgeous!




Great day!
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Old May 30th, 2010, 21:31
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Re: Medano Pass - Great Sand Dunes NP

Yep, definitely gotta put that on my "go see" list. Shoulda gone that way when I went to Pagosa Springs.....
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Old May 31st, 2010, 14:43
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Re: Medano Pass - Great Sand Dunes NP

Looks like an awesome trip. I'm with Yella, thats going on my list.
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Old May 31st, 2010, 16:42
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Re: Medano Pass - Great Sand Dunes NP

I love the sand dunes I was there as a kid long time ago
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Old May 31st, 2010, 16:57
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Re: Medano Pass - Great Sand Dunes NP

I love the sand dunes I was there as a kid long time ago
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Old June 1st, 2010, 21:36
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Re: Medano Pass - Great Sand Dunes NP

beautiful trail, by far one of my favorite. went last summer, and i am actually going in a few days before i deploy next week to slovakia. recommend to any one
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Old June 2nd, 2010, 20:07
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Re: Medano Pass - Great Sand Dunes NP

I did it when I was stock, lo these many years ago. Went too fast across the water crossings, bow waves coming in the vents! I don't think I understood the concept of four-lo back then.
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Old June 2nd, 2010, 20:11
xj-grin xj-grin is offline
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Re: Medano Pass - Great Sand Dunes NP

virtually every stock rig we saw up there had a front-license-plate-"boner" from running the water too fast. There was two drowned vehicles on the road on Sunday, one an XJ, but I couldn't find the owner to lend a hand.
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Old June 3rd, 2010, 07:32
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Re: Medano Pass - Great Sand Dunes NP

Very cool man I'll be taking this trip for sure this summer .

I've been wanting to take medano pass for years .
Did you head up Mosca pass trail to the glacier stream ?
Its one of my favorite places here in Colorado !
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Old June 3rd, 2010, 07:56
xj-grin xj-grin is offline
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Re: Medano Pass - Great Sand Dunes NP

No Mosca this trip, since it was already a 12 hour day trip with two young kids. We may end up on Mosca next time around if I wimp out on Blanca...
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Old June 3rd, 2010, 08:51
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Re: Medano Pass - Great Sand Dunes NP

Yeah , I suppose you got to make a weekend of it . Seeing those pictures bring back allot of memory's from a couple of trips I took back in my single
without kids days .
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Old June 14th, 2010, 12:27
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Re: Medano Pass - Great Sand Dunes NP

I've been to those dunes a ton as a kid
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Old June 16th, 2010, 09:58
XCastleXJ XCastleXJ is offline
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Re: Medano Pass - Great Sand Dunes NP

OH... EM... GEE... lol. as soon as im off work im calling up the boys to see when they want to set up a camping trip. thats incredible. from one extreme to another, both being gorgerous.

AHHHHH!!! i need out of this damn cast so i can get the jeep in shape and wheel!
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