Trail

Montville Nature Trail and Mosca Pass, Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado

Mosca, CO
Length: 17.00 mi.
Type: Out & Back

About This Trail

[Total: 0    Average: 0/5]

ACTIVITIES: Hiking, sandboarding, splashing, fishing, biking, ranger talks,

LENGTH OF HIKES: 1 mile or 7 miles

OUT AND BACK OR LOOP: Out and back

DIFFICULTY OF TERRAIN: Easy

ELEVATION GAIN: Little

PARKING FEE/PASS: Park fee

CHANGING TABLE: No

NURSING BENCHES: No

DOGS ALLOWED: No

BIKES/HORSES/MOTORS ON TRAIL: No

CELL RECEPTION: Spotty

DRINKING WATER AVAILABLE: Yes

POTENTIAL CHILD OR BABY HAZARDS: Heat exposure near summer

GEAR SUGGESTIONS: Sun hats in the summer, extra water on hikes

Welcome to the tallest sand dunes in North America. These 30 square miles of Sahara-like expanse with five dunes jutting up over 700 feet tall into the sky offer a never-ending sandbox that will delight those toddlers who can spend hours in one
at home. Bring a shovel and bucket for constant digging entertainment, and expect to shake sand off of everything for days after you get home.

There are two choices for trails in this park. Keep it simple and toddler friendly by walking the 1-mile well-trafficked Montville Nature Trail with no elevation gain. Toddlers and new walkers can easily complete this one. From there, if you want to push on or if you are babywearing a little one and aren’t as worried about distance, you can continue for the moderate 7 miles out and back with some elevation gain up Mosca Pass Trail, reaching 1,459 feet at the summit. This is all uphill on the way out and down on the way back and offers great views of the sand dunes. Keep an eye out for bighorn sheep on the rocky hills as you meander through ponderosa
pines and aspen forests.

Another highlight of this park is a stream that in the springtime is no more than 2 to 3 inches deep and very wide between the dunes and the campsite. The Albanese family said this was their kids’ favorite activity. “We also hiked up the sand dunes
but had to carry our kids most of the way.”

Remember, walking on sand is twice as hard as walking on dirt, so make sure you plan accordingly when you head out with your little walker. Visit for the day or overnight it. The campsite is 0.25 mile from the dunes, with an easy downhill walk. Remember, you have to get back up later in the day, so bring snacks to bribe little ones back to camp. Evenings can be chilly even in May, so dress accordingly. Expect mosquitoes in June around the campsite and no-see-ums (tiny biting gnats) early in the spring.

WHY IT’S A FAVORITE
“The water is all snow melt so it’s cool but not so cold because the sun warms the shallow water. This was our kids’ favorite activity. They spent hours just running around and playing in this stream. We felt very safe having them do that because it’s so shallow.” —JESSE ALBANESE

INSIDER’S TIP
You know a park is truly all family friendly when wheelchair options are made available in the least likely places. If you are traveling with a family member in need of an all-access wheelchair, the park has a big, sand-friendly wheelchair so the
whole family can head into the dunes.

Share This Trail

Trail Features

Seasons Fall, Spring, Summer, and Winter
Stroller friendly No
ADA accessible No
Water fountains Yes
Bathrooms No
Cell reception Spotty
Pet friendly No
Nearby convenience store No
Camping Nearby Yes
Emergency support
within 5 miles
No

Trail highlights

Camping Nearby, Creek / River, and Viewpoint

Trail Contributor

[Total: 0    Average: 0/5]

Hike it Baby Trail Guide is managed by the Family Trail Guide team. If a trail has been “abandoned” by the initial owner, it gets adopted by the team. Also, if there are no trails in the area, the Family Trail Guide team researches trails that are family friendly in the area to insure that hikes cover all areas where Hike it Baby hikes.

Weather

Trail Map