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Medano Pass

No Reviews
Location Westcliff, CO
Rating Moderate,
Length 20mi
Time 3hrs

Vehicle Types


Fun backroad into Great Sand Dunes National Park.

Back way into Great Sand Dunes National Park. Camp in numbered designated sites only along route inside park or at Pinon Flats Campground. Picnic next to stream at base of giant sand dunes. Great fall color. Fee required entering or leaving park at main gate on south side. Unlicensed vehicles are not allowed inside the national park, but you can access the 100-mile-long Rainbow Multi-Use Trail via F.S. 412. MVUM for 2009 shows this trail open to 50″- wide vehicles all the way to Hermit Pass, Trail #98, and beyond.


Trail Ratings Defined

Mostly easy with a few steep, rocky spots. Soft sand inside the park may require airing down tires. Numerous water crossings can be deep in the spring. Trail is closed when water is too high.






High Point


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Current Conditions

(719) 378-6399N.P. Visitor Center

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Submitted by Steve
Very cloudy and rainy with some high water crossings with the monsoon rain. Sand however is damp and doesn’t require airing down. There is one puddle that is near three feet deep at about 9000 feet so if you’re not lifted it could be an issue. I have a lifted Gladiator with 35” tires and it was near the top of the tires. Check at the visitors center or online first.

Submitted by Andy
It is a fun ride. It was dry and dusty most of the was. I drove from the National Park to Highway 69. I didn’t encounter any obstacles that required a spotter along the way. There are numerous creek crossings, but the water was low and the crossings are easy. The sand section near the park is in good shape and we got through without spinning a wheel. This is a very scenic route, from the dunes on the west side to Wolf Creek Ranch on the east side, there is a lot of variety. The highlight of the ride was a sighting of 2 Mountain Lions together beside the road, about halfway across. There are also dozens of Beaver Ponds and Lodges that can be seen from the road. On the way down, I encountered a guy in a Lexus Sedan, following a line on his WAZE App. He was stuck when I got to him but was still thinking that he had found a shortcut to the National Park. I helped him get unstuck and turned around. This route is easy, but not that easy.

Submitted by Michael
Medano Pass, entering from Eastside, Wolf Creek Ranch to West and towards the Sand dunes in the early morning, summit at 7 am. I would consider this trail as between easy to moderate, however, 4×4 is required with some minimal clearance, not necessarily high. In mid-July 2020. Beautiful scenery, lots of wildlife around, and fantastic dispersed camping just off the trail with Bear proof boxes. Only 1 available spot left but 2 were also marked with an upside-down tent and a Camp chair at the entry of them (no reservations required to the best of my knowledge). Coming in towards the dunes, there is loose sand, that should be respected. The 9 water crossings were pretty shallow and easily managed during this dry period, ok on 35’s did not hurt. Airing down was not needed for me at this time, but I could see where it could be needed depending on Vehicle/Rig. I will do it again, during the fall as there is plenty of Aspens in the area.

Submitted by Robert
Traveled west to east in a stock ’19 Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited with tires deflated to 20 psi. Great trails with amazing views, quite a bit of traffic over the Labor Day weekend. Creek crossings were shallow with the exception of one that was almost to the bottom of the Jeep, but the creek beds are rocky so there was no problem crossing them slowly. Lots of dispersed camping sites, but all taken or reserved by empty vehicles parked on them. This would be a perfect first time trail, the most difficult part being the soft sand near the Great Sand Dunes National park, you will definitely want to deflate your tires. Due to the close proximity of the park, and the dispersed camping, there is a fair bit of traffic on the trail in case you get into trouble, and we saw two park rangers while we were crossing it. There are a few mildly rocky sections, but nothing outside the scope of a novice in an adequately capable vehicle.


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