There are no dining facilities in the park, but just outside the park entrance, next to Great Sand Dunes Lodge, the Oasis Store and Restaurant (tel. 719/378-2222) has basic groceries and a gas station (open daily Apr-Oct), plus a restaurant, open May through September, with hours of 8am to 7:30pm from Memorial Day to Labor Day and shorter hours at the beginning and end of its season.
You'll find a number of restaurants in downtown Alamosa. We like the Mexican food at Oscar's Restaurant, 520 Main St. (tel. 719/589-9230), open Tuesday through Sunday for lunch and dinner; and Mrs. Rivera's Kitchen, 1019 Sixth St. (tel. 719/589-0277), open Monday through Saturday for lunch and dinner. Most items at both restaurants are under $12. For American food -- especially beef -- try True Grits Steakhouse, 100 Santa Fe Ave. (tel. 719/589-4540), which is open for dinner nightly and for lunch Saturday and Sunday. The decor pays homage to John Wayne, and most prices are in the $8 to $20 range. You’ll find a number of restaurants along Alamosa’s Main Street, many of them chains but also a few good independents. I like the spicy Mexican fare at Cavillo’s, 400 Main St. ([tel] 719/587-5500), and the local Gosar Sausage sandwiches and hoppy microbrews at the San Luis Valley Brewing Company, 631 Main St. ([tel] 719/587-2337; www.slvbrewco.com), located in a restored historic Art Deco redbrick. Dinner adds steak, seafood, and pasta to the mix, with specialties like jambalaya and green chili pasta Alfredo.
North of town and bordering the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, Zapata Ranch,5305 Colo. 150, Mosca ([tel] 719/378-2356; www.zranch.org), is a historic 110,000-acre ranch that raises cattle and bison in the shadow of the Sangre de Cristos. The ranch limits its occupancy to 25 guests, and emphasizes natural horsemanship, sustainable ranching practices, and overall ecological viability. Three-night to weeklong stays run $1,252 to $2,300 adults for adults and $1,000 to $1,840 for kids 7 and under.
Picnic & Camping Supplies
For groceries and other necessities, there is a surprisingly good selection at the Oasis Store and Restaurant (tel. 719/378-2222), just outside the park entrance at Great Sand Dunes Lodge. For more grocery choices, head to Alamosa and stop at City Market, 131 Market St. (tel. 719/589-2492; www.citymarket.com). You'll find a variety of camping supplies, plus groceries and just about everything else you might want, at the Wal-Mart SuperCenter, 3333 Clark Ave. (tel. 719/589-9071; www.walmart.com).
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.