Today a different scenery awaits - Great Sand Dunes National Park, where the tallest dunes in North America are the centerpiece in a diverse landscape of grasslands, wetlands, forests, alpine lakes, and tundra. Against the backdrop of rugged 14,000' peaks in the Sangre de Cristo mountains—the 30 square mile sand dune field, with no designated trails—invites you on an adventure. The natural and diverse system of the park ranges from great sand dunes to forests, from cottonwood groves to majestic mountain peaks and tundra. The highest elevation in the park is 13,604' above sea level.
The Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge is also worth a visit while in the area. Of the more than 500 species of birds in Colorado, over 300 of them can be found in the valley. But it’s the hopping, dancing and rattling calls of the sandhill cranes numbering up to 20,000 that make the San Luis Valley especially impressive for bird enthusiasts.