Medano Creek at Great Sand Dunes National Park

A look at the crowds at the Great Sand Dunes in 2019.

As Medano Creek continues to have an above-average flow this season thanks to a wet winter, crowds have flocked to the Great Sand Dunes National Park to catch a glimpse of this natural wonder.

Long lines of cars were found at the park’s entrance over the weekend, accompanied by crowded parking and stretches of people to be found along the water’s flow. It took us around 45 minutes to get through the park’s main gates at around 10 AM, with a slightly shorter line still present when we left the park at 2:30 PM. Several hundred people could be found along the creek’s banks throughout the time we were there.

Thankfully, the Great Sand Dunes National Park is an easy place to find some separation from the crowds. A short hike into the dunes can have you feeling like you’re the only person there. The view from the top of High Dune, the second-highest dune in the park, revealed less crowding on parts of the creek further from the easy-access walkway.

Medano Creek hit its peak flow on June 9 and has been decreasing in flow since. On June 15, the creek was flowing at 45 cfs, still above the average annual peak of 40 cfs. This year, the creek peaked at an extremely high 71 cfs on June 9.


Spencer McKee is OutThere Colorado's Director of Content and Operations. In his spare time, Spencer loves to hike, rock climb, and trail run.

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