Great Sand Dunes National Park

Star Dune - Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado (November 4, 2006)

Great Sand Dunes National Park Here is a photo gallery of my hike to Star Dune, the highest dune in Great Sand Dunes National Park. Star Dune is located on the west side of the park, and its large pointy shape can be clearly seen from Highway 150 while approaching the park.

My hike begins with me standing on the summit of High Dune, which I climbed first from the main parking lot.

Great Sand Dunes National Park From High Dune, this was the view looking out towards Star Dune, the pointed dune to the left. What an adventure it was getting out there!
Great Sand Dunes National Park After running down High Dune, I turned back to snap this photo. You can see my foot prints in the dune and the two gentleman (visiting from India) standing at High Dune. Their presence gives perspective with understanding how large these dunes are.
Star Dune
Star Dune
I went down and up two small valleys before approaching Star Dune. I chose to hike on the ridge to the right, which brought me to the very steep but doable eastern face of Star Dune.
Great Sand Dunes National Park, CO A nice shot of Mt. Herard (alt. 13,297 feet).
Star Dune Getting closer! Notice the two sets of foot prints from other hikers. Don't be deceived, once that ridge softens off, one still has quite a way to go ... and it's a steep incline! :p)
Great Sand Dunes National Park Near the top, I was so ecstatic! :)
Great Sand Dunes Colorado At the summit of Star Dune, facing east.
Great Sand Dunes National Park Looking towards the west and the San Luis Valley.
Great Sand Dunes National Park What a workout it was to make it to Star Dune!

Adjacent is a self-portrait. :)

Star Dune, CO Heading back, I traveled south through a dune valley that eventually led me to the Medano Creek bed, but I was about a mile or two away from the visitor center and parking lot. I was told some who plan to go directly to Star Dune walk down the creek bed (from the parking lot) and then go up a dune valley, as opposed to my visiting High Dune and then traveling straight west to Star Dune. Either way is doable. The adjacent photo is the view looking back at Star Dune as I traveled south down its main valley.

Photos by Steve Garufi in Buena Vista, Colorado. His web site: Twitter: @SteveGarufi.

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