The Great Sand Dunes National Park
By: Macy Vance
The Great Sand Dunes is a national park that has the tallest sand dunes in North America. The tallest one in the park is named Star Dune which rises 755 feet from its base. High Dune is another tall sand dune and is 699 feet tall. The sand dunes are taller than the Great Pyramids by 200-300 feet. The park also has some of the most fragile dune systems in the world. The park altogether is about 150,000 acres. There is a giant range of elevation with a low of 7,520 feet and a high of 13,604 feet. It takes an average person around an hour to hike to get to the first ridge. These are just a few interesting facts about the Great Sand Dunes while there are many more things to learn about the dunes.
Going to the Great Sand Dunes will be an awesome trip if you know the essentials needed before going. The climate changes frequently with the different seasons. In summer the high temperatures are usually around 80 degrees, but the sand temperatures reach around 150 degrees. You should come early in the morning or in the evening during summer to avoid burned feet, lightning strikes, and heat exhaustion. Fall usually will have excellent weather and the temperature reaching from the 60's - 70's. Winters are sunny but cold with highs in the 20's. Be prepared for blizzards anytime and the temperature dropping below zero at night. Spring is anything between blizzards and swimsuit weather. If you would like to camp, there are 6 different campgrounds within 40 miles of the visitor's site. There are many things to do at the Great Sand Dunes such as sand sledding, sandboarding, horseback riding, hiking, backpacking, and swimming. If your Achilles' heel is any of those things then you should take a vacation to the Great Sand Dunes.
The sand dunes have a long history from their creation to being named a national park. The Great Sand Dunes National Park has not been open to visitors for a long time, but the sand dunes themselves have been formed for years. No one knows exactly when the dunes were formed but some researchers say they formed less than 440,000 years ago. In 1932, Herbert Hoover, the 31st president, named the sand dunes a national monument. In 2004 the Great Sand Dunes were titled a national park. They are located in Colorado around the cities Alamosa and Albuquerque. About 300,000 people visit the Great Sand Dunes in a year. The sand dunes have an amazing history that goes back 11,000 years.
SO Many Animals and Bugs!
- The Great Sand Dunes is home to a few species of bugs that only live there out of the entire world. A couple of them are, the Great Sand Dunes Tiger Beetle, the Circus Beetle, the Robber Fly, and the Werner's Ant-Like Flower Beetle.
- There are regular animals and insects that live there also such as, amphibians, birds, fish, spiders, millipedes, centipedes, mammals, and reptiles.
How The Sand Dunes Were Formed
The craziest day I ever had took place back when I lived in Colorado. There was this major storm that carried all of these weird things across the country. The day started out normal but then the weather took a turn and it started to get really windy. It was like everyone had lost their minds in my family because they started running around not paying attention to anything. I wasn’t sure what was happening and I was super confused. When a giant tornado brought truck loads of sand down my street that was when I freaked out. The sand tornado just kept going and then all of a sudden everything stopped. I didn’t know what to think by then but I knew it was awesome. We all went outside and there were giant sand mountains right down the street! The sand mountains turned out to be called sand dunes and few years later the dunes were named the Great Sand Dunes and years from that they turned into The Great Dunes National Park! I learned a lot from that wild day and I hope that no one else has to live through something like that.