Pleasant summers and cool to cold winters are the rule here. Daytime summer temperatures average 70° to 80°F (21°-27°C), with nighttime lows often dropping into the 40s and low 50s (single digits and 10s Celsius). Thunderstorms are common in July and August. High winds can be expected at any time and are often especially ferocious from April through early June, when northeast winds have been clocked at over 90 mph. From fall through spring, expect moderate daytime temperatures; winter days can see daytime temperatures in the 40s (single digits Celsius), but winter nights are usually below freezing and often below zero. Snowfall averages a bit over 3 feet annually, with March being the snowiest month.

Avoiding the Crowds

Overcrowding has not been a major problem at Great Sand Dunes. In recent years, the park has received fewer than 300,000 visitors annually, compared to almost 3 million at Rocky Mountain National Park, just a half-day's drive north. But national park status and the additional acreage and attractions have been producing an increase in visitation. Therefore, we suggest that you try to visit at times other than school vacations and holiday weekends. Early fall can be especially pleasant here. Memorial Day weekend is particularly busy, with limited parking and traffic congestion. If you do happen to visit on a busy day, a hike along Sand Ramp Trail usually gets you away from the crowds.

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Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.