Sangre de Cristos and Great Sand Dunes

The Sangre de Cristo range is located in central southern Colorado, and stretches down into New Mexico. This straight and narrow fault-block mountain range rises abruptly over a vertical mile from the San Luis Valley to the west. Winds blow across this desert valley and deposit fine sand particles below a low pass in these mountains, forming the spectacular Great Sand Dunes, North America's tallest dunes. Rivers flow out of the mountains and around the dunes, containing them in one spot. This is truly one of North America's most special places.

Sunrise on Humboldt Peak
Sangre de Cristos, Colorado
Crestone Needle Sunrise Light
Sangre de Cristos, Colorado
Blanca Peak Sunrise
Sangre de Cristos, Colorado
Crestone Needle Alpenglow
Sangre de Cristos, Colorado
Lily Lake Dawn Reflection
Sangre de Cristos, Colorado
Macey Sunset Reflection
Sangre de Cristos, Colorado
Horn Lake Sunrise
Sangre de Cristos, Colorado
Macey Foggy Reflection
Sangre de Cristos, Colorado
Sangres Sunset Pond
Sangre de Cristos, Colorado
Humboldt Dawn
Sangre de Cristos, Colorado
Blanca Peak Dawn
Sangre de Cristos, Colorado
Crestone Needle Waterfall
Sangre de Cristos, Colorado
Milwaukee Peak Reflection
Sangre de Cristos, Colorado
Crestone Needle Portrait
Sangre de Cristos, Colorado
Mt Lindsey Morning
Sangre de Cristos, Colorado
Crestone Needle Sunrise
Sangre de Cristos, Colorado
Hiking Humboldt
Sangre de Cristos, Colorado
Crestone Needle Dawn
Sangre de Cristos, Colorado
Humboldt Peak Sunrise Panorama
Sangre de Cristos, Colorado
Zapata Green
Sangre de Cristos, Colorado
Ellingwood Reflection
Sangre de Cristos, Colorado
Zapata Sunset
Sangre de Cristos, Colorado
Broken Hand Sunrise
Sangre de Cristos, Colorado
Mt Lindsey Mist
Sangre de Cristos, Colorado
Huerfano River Sunset
Sangre de Cristos, Colorado
Huerfano Paradise
Sangre de Cristos, Colorado
Willow Lake Canoe
Sangre de Cristos, Colorado
Kit Carson Mountain
Sangre de Cristo Range, Colorado
North Crestone Ghost Trees
Sangre de Cristo Range, Colorado
Lily Lake Shadow
Sangre de Cristos, Colorado
Macey Lake Fog
Sangre de Cristos, Colorado
Upper Macey Reflection
Sangre de Cristos, Colorado
San Luis Evening
San Luis Valley, Colorado
Ponderosa Dunes Sunset
Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado
Blue Dawn
Great Sand Dunes, Colorado
Fiery Dunes Sunset
Great Sand Dunes, Colorado
Medano Twilight
Great Sand Dunes, Colorado
Dunes Evening Light
Great Sand Dunes, Colorado
Dunes Moonset
Great Sand Dunes, Colorado
Sunset Ripples
Great Sand Dunes, Colorado
Sunset in the Great Sand Dunes
Great Sand Dunes, Colorado
Deep in the Dunes
Great Sand Dunes, Colorado
Dunes Sunset
Great Sand Dunes, Colorado
Touch of Sunlight
Great Sand Dunes, Colorado
Dunes Moonshine #1
Great Sand Dunes, Colorado
Sea of Sand
Great Sand Dunes, Colorado
Two Ripples
Great Sand Dunes, Colorado
Orange Dunes
Great Sand Dunes, Colorado
Blue Dunes
Great Sand Dunes, Colorado
Dunes Pink
Great Sand Dunes, Colorado
Dunes Western Sunset
Great Sand Dunes, Colorado
Dunes Tree
Great Sand Dunes, Colorado
High Above the Dunes
Sangre de Cristos, Colorado
Light in the Sand Dunes
Great Sand Dunes, Colorado
Stormy Dunes
Great Sand Dunes, Colorado
Hiking in the Dunes
Great Sand Dunes, Colorado
Storm Over the Dunes
Great Sand Dunes, Colorado
Stormy Dunes Sunset
Great Sand Dunes, Colorado
Windy Dunes
Great Sand Dunes, Colorado
San Luis Sunflowers
Great Sand Dunes, Colorado
Dunes Sunflowers
Great Sand Dunes, Colorado
Dunes Sunflowers Closeup
Great Sand Dunes, Colorado
Stormy Sunflowers
Great Sand Dunes, Colorado
Dunes Rain Light
Great Sand Dunes, Colorado
Dunes Sunflowers #3
Great Sand Dunes, Colorado
Dunes Sunflower Sunset
Great Sand Dunes, Colorado
Medano Creek Hiker
Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado
Hiking Through the Dunes
Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado
Wind Ripples
Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado
Blowing Sand
Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado
Peach Dunes Sunset
Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado
Big Dunes Sunset
Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado
Twilight Dunes Camp
Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado
Dune Shade
Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado
Life Above the Sand
Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado

Geology of the Sangre de Cristos

Sangre de Cristo map

The Sangre de Cristo range is one of Colorado's few fault-block ranges, geologically similar to the Tetons or Sierra Nevada. The main uplift of the Sangres happened about 15 million years ago, so these are some of Colorado's youngest mountains. Interestingly, until about a half million years ago the northern part of the San Luis Valley was filled with a giant lake, until it drained catastrophically cutting a channel to the Rio Grande. It's possible that the Great Sand Dunes were initially formed from sand from the dried up lakebed of the ancient Lake Alamosa.