Site Details

descriptions and directions

Cottonwood Marsh photo by Peter Burke

Accessible Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve - Alamosa County
Aliases: Mosca Pass Trail
Ownership: Federal - NPS
Description: Although the majority of the park and preserve lies in Saguache County, the part accessible by passenger vehicle is almost entirely in Alamosa County. (The county line runs due east-west just north of the campground loop.) The sand dunes themselves, though magnificently scenic, support no vegetation and thus essentially no birdlife. The rest of the park is another matter. The hillsides along the main park road access excellent pinyon-juniper forest, as does the campground loop. Any of the PJ in the park could produce Pinyon Jay, Bushtit, Mountain Bluebird and many other species. A couple of streams escape the Sangres along the entrance road, and stringers of riparian habitat follow them some distance out onto the plains. In the riparian areas look for Red-naped Sapsucker, Downy Woodpecker, Dusky and Cordilleran Flycatchers, Spotted Towhee, and Lewis' Woodpecker (populations variable). A semi-recent burn across the road from the Visitor Center may be worth special attention if you are looking for woodpeckers. If you have time to hike, the Mosca Pass trail is highly recommended. In addition to the habitats already mentioned it also samples good mixed-conifer forest and various montane shrubland and willow habitats. Those with sturdy legs should be able to get up into areas with Hammond's Flycatcher, Wilson's Warbler, Lincoln's Sparrow and the like. A Winter Wren was found singing two miles up this trail in June 2005.

Habitat: Pinyon-Juniper Forest, Lowland Riparian, Burn Area, Foothill Shrub, Sagebrush, Mixed Conifer Forest, Streamside Willow
Elevation: 7500-8500 feet
Directions: From US 160 fourteen miles east of Alamosa and five miles west of Blanca, turn north on CO 150 and proceed about sixteen miles north to the park entrance. Alternatively, from CO 17 just north of the tiny town of Mosca, head east on Six Mile Lane (CR 6N) sixteen miles to a T intersection, then turn left onto CO 150 towards the park entrance.
Other Wildlife:
Other Attractions:

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Latest Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve Sightings from eBird


CBRC Records from Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

SpeciesAccession No.Date(s)
Rivoli’s Hummingbird31-92-297/17/1992
Anna's Hummingbird31-85-36 7/28/1984
Yellow-throated Vireo51-94-575/21/1994