PUT THIS ON YOUR LIST AND GO THERE.
Take a high clearance 4 wheel drive. Plan to spend days. It’s unexpected, random and unique. In high mountain country. Get ready to hike desert sand dunes, burn your feet on the sand, throw sand, eat sand; run, trudge, sled, roll down sand, feel the heat and then in the same day potentially hike to a high, cool mountain lake above 11,000 feet.
We hiked to the highest point on the sand dunes, took us maybe an hour, we ran down quite a bit-in seconds. Our tracks during the run down, disappear instantly, like we’d never been there, the 34 degree avalanche rule applying to sand as well.
A beautiful sight of rolling, soft sand dunes. Butted up against the Sangre de Cristo mountains, blown from the San Juans and continuous because of Medano creek carries it away only to be blown by the ever-steady winds back into place upon a dune.
After, we took the trail for 4 wheel drives. Got stuck in the ‘Extremely Deep’ sand. Got unstuck by deflating our tires. Then entered the National Forest Preserve to the North, led by a winding trail crossing creek after creek. Even by scouting each stream we still managed to flood our engine: it drained nicely! We camped. Fly fished in the ‘must be trout here’ stream (didn’t see one.) And made the hike to Medano Lake the next day. The 3.5 mile one-way hike was mostly snow packed. At points we fell knee deep into the snow. The work, effort and hike paid off. That view from the lake. Something our minds can’t imagine. Hard to process the beauty of the natural giant ampitheater surrounding the still frozen lake and it was June. We skiied down, with our boots, stumbling/running when our boots stuck: refreshing!
The back forest road=not really a road, at points like stairs of boulders protruding in every direction like a mis-led cactus of stone. We may have scratched the bottom of the X-Terra a few times but it made it thankfully! Not sure how: a nail biting, creep upon, over, bumping ride we’d never experienced before. That itself made the trip!