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Author Topic: Great Sand Dune National Park - where to stay?  (Read 1773 times)
Brian Diehl
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« on: February 22, 2010, 04:38:54 PM »

At the end of March we are heading out to southern Colorado and one of the places we intend to check out is the sand dune park and preserve.  I wondering where might be a good place to stay overnight?  Any ideas?

We also intend to go check out the Mesa Verde National Park as well and introduce the girls to the old cliff dwellings.

Between the two we may stop in and check out Cumbres and Toltec Scenic R.R. and Chimney Rock.  Depending upon time we may make it all the way over to Canyons of the Ancients National Monument as well.  I think this should be able to keep us busy for a week!
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rv_safetyman
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Jim Shepherd


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« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2010, 05:38:42 PM »

Brian, the Great Sand Dunes in kind of out in the toolies. About the closest town is Alamosa.  There are probably some RV parks on US 160.  I did not go to the GSD website, but I would guess you did.  I just don't recall much in the way of RV parks in the area.  Then again it has been a while.

I am assuming you are taking the bus and a toad.  If so, you can probably visit the park in one day by commuting from Alamosa.  I can't remember how old the girls are, but any age will love the dunes.  Might want to get a couple of snow dishes for them to slide down the dunes.

As far as the Cumbres R.R., you might want to rethink that one.  It is a long trip and very pretty, but I think the girls would get bored.  We have taken young kids on the Durango-Silverton R.R. and they got bored fairly quickly.  That trip is shorter and more scenic, but they still got bored.

You will be close to Monument Valley when you are at Mesa Verde and that is a favorite place for us. 

Jim
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Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
85 Eagle 10/Series 60/Eaton AutoShift 10 speed transmission
Somewhere between a tin tent and a finished product
Bus Project details: http://beltguy.com/Bus_Project/busproject.htm
Blog:  http://rvsafetyman.blogspot.com/
niles500
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« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2010, 06:39:58 PM »

Brian - If I haven't totally lost my memory - There's RV sites @ the Dunes and one or two just outside the park entrance (nothing special) - Ain't much to do in Alamosa - It's a long way to the top of the dune - Bring swimsuits and inner tubes as you cross a creek to get to the dunes - Mesa Verde is the greatest place for kids - HTH
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usbusin
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« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2010, 07:29:39 PM »

Stayed at the Great Sands Dunes National Monument with our 37' truck conversion plus toad for one week.  This was last July.  Beautiful place.
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Gary D

USBUSIN was our 1960 PD4104 for 16 years Ustruckin' is our 2001 Freightliner truck conversion
Madmike
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« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2010, 10:00:38 AM »

You can stay in the park or you can stay about a mile out side of the gate at a local camping spot.
In the park is first come first serve and does fill up in the spring when the river is running. They have bathrooms, sinks, fire pits and your typical camping things. I do not think they have power but you will have to check on that one. It is fantastic and veiw is awsome. The campground out side of the park has power and showers, it cost more and it can be very busy, but the people are nice. They have a gift shop and seel ice and firewood also. It is one of my favorite places so if you have any questions just let me know.
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Fredward
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« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2010, 10:44:25 AM »

Brian,
When is your "spring break". Are you driving straight through leaving Friday returning Sunday?
Fred
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Fred Thomson
Brian Diehl
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« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2010, 06:27:06 PM »

Thanks for the ideas everyone!

Madmike, thank you for the input on the campground in the park.  I'm hoping it will have space for us as we will be early in the season.

Fred, we are leaving after work on Thursday, March 25th and returning either Saturday or Sunday, the 3rd or 4th.  We will drive until about 10pm or so Thursday night and then we should be able to get to the dunes the next night.  If not, we would probably just stay at a Walmart in either Colorado Springs or Alamosa depending upon how far we got.

Jim, thanks for the feedback on the railroad.  I had thought from the map it might be a museum, but what you say makes me think it is not!  We will also be bringing our snow sleds for the dunes!
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rv_safetyman
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Jim Shepherd


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« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2010, 08:15:53 PM »

Brian, again I am going on some pretty old memory, but if you do the train ride, it is a long day. 

To refresh my memory, I went to:  https://www.cumbrestoltec.com.  It looks like the trip distance is 64 miles, but the schedule would suggest that takes 6 hours one way by train.  I did not see that they have a formal museum.  I recall having a ball looking at the train equipment, but I doubt the girls would enjoy it as much. 

It is a great trip, as it the Durango-Silverton.  Of the two, I like the D-S better.  Would guess the D-S might not start up that early.  Both areas have been hammered by snow this winter, so you will want to check their schedule.

Adults will really enjoy either trip, but young kids, even mechanically inclined kids, tend to get bored. 

Maybe a compromise is to do the combo train one way and bus the other (not sure that is available with D-S) and take a DVD for the girls if they do get bored (we did not have that option in the old days)

Jim
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Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
85 Eagle 10/Series 60/Eaton AutoShift 10 speed transmission
Somewhere between a tin tent and a finished product
Bus Project details: http://beltguy.com/Bus_Project/busproject.htm
Blog:  http://rvsafetyman.blogspot.com/
niles500
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« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2010, 11:48:35 PM »

Brian - The station in Durango is a "living" "operating" museum - Almost none of the parts necessary to maintain the trains are available anywhere - They are mostly hand made on site - I don't know the interest level of your children - But the tour is well worth it for those who are interested - For those who aren't, the location of the station is in the middle of a tourist trap - There's plenty for others to do while waiting for the rest to tour the depot / with a working turnstile (AIR) - As a rule when traveling I always encourage others to do what ever is in front of them at the time - Saves the woulda, coulda, shoulda's and "We may never pass this way again" (Seals & Crofts) - HTH
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