The Great Sand Dunes Park in the southern region of Colorado is a direct contrast to the majestic peaks of the San Juan and Sangre de Cristo Mountains that flank this portion of the state. The dunes, which will be in close proximity to your Monte Vista Inn, are the product of erosion from the nearby mountains, due to wind and rain over many, many years. The result of nature's work is a breathtaking collection of sandy hills that are still in constant flux as the wind continues to blow and the sand continues to move into new formations. This Colorado park is abundant in activities for visitors of all ages and we have tips for enjoying the park to the fullest.Zapata Ranch5305 State Highway 150Mosca, Colorado 81146(719) 378-2356http://www.zranch.org/
Zapata Ranch is located within Great Sand Dunes Park and offers bison tours for those interested in catching a glimpse of these magnificent creatures within their natural habitat. The herd of 2,000 bison resides on a 50,000-acre pasture on the ranch, where they are allowed to roam free and unhindered by branding or any other type of human intervention. The bison tour lasts about two hours and visitors are likely to espy other types of wildlife along the way, including coyotes, elk and a variety of birds.Great Sand Dunes Visitor Center11999 Highway 150Mosca, Colorado 81146(719) 378-6399
To learn more about the Great Sand Dunes Park, spend some time in the newly refurbished visitor center. The facilities have been expanded and include video presentations, exhibits and a first-class bookstore offering posters, tapes and informative books. The back porch provides a viewing scope for an excellent look at the sand dunes from a comfortable distance. The center is the spot for booking campsites, arranging for guided tours and providing general information about the park and its amenities. Rangers are available on site to provide information and answer questions about the park or the wildlife that lives there. The visitor center also provides bathroom facilities and wheelchairs designed for the sand. The center is opened daily between Memorial Day and Labor Day, with variable hours throughout the rest of the year.Sand Dunes Pool and RV Park1991 CR 63Hooper, CO 81136(719) 378-2807http://www.sanddunespool.com/
Cool off from a trek through the hot sand with a dip in an over-sized, naturally hot Artesian pool, located close to your Monte Vista bed and breakfast. The swimming pool is kept at a delightful temperature that ranges between 98 to 100 degrees F. The facility also includes a 25-person therapy pool and a baby pool. The concession stand offers a variety of lunch items, including burgers, hot dogs and burritos. Tomato and cucumber salads feature ingredients grown on site and soft serve ice cream makes the perfect finish to your meal. The swimming pool is opened year-round, six days a week, with shorter hours between the months of December through February. The facility closes every Thursday and for 10 days during the month of April for cleaning and maintenance, so be sure to verify availability before booking your trip.