Dates: 5/21 - 26, 2017
(6 days, 5 nights; Sun-Fri)
Assembly Point: Albuquerque, NM
(airline service to Albuquerque; Timberline van shuttles to Sand Dunes prior to tour and return to Albuquerque following tour)
Pick up time: airport 8am, hotel 8:30am Drop off time: 5pm
Tour Cost: $2,195
(includes all lodging, all meals, park entrance fees, transfers, leaders, trail maps & narratives)
Additional Single Occupancy Lodging Cost: $375
Of the many magnificent landscapes that we embrace as a part of our hiking tours, perhaps none is more startling than that offered by Great Sand Dunes National Park, America’s newest national park.
Nestled against the grand backdrop of the rugged Sangre De Cristo Mountains in southern Colorado, the dunes are the centerpiece in the surreal setting that defines the magnificence of the Rocky Mountain West. Distantly removed from any ocean or desert, the dunes present an incongruous contrast with the snowclad peaks that hover above. Created by the persistent winds that blow across the San Luis Valley, the dunes soar to an elevation of 750 feet and are the tallest dunes in North America.
In the season ahead, we’ll again visit the Great Sand Dunes National Park in the context of a 6-day hiking program that also includes the high alpine country of the Sangre De Cristos in northern New Mexico.
We’ll assemble in Albuquerque early morning of Day 1 for The Great Sand Dunes and Northern New Mexico Hiking Tour, and van shuttle north through the San Luis Valley into Colorado. We’ll pause along the way, midway between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, for a visit to amazing Tent Rocks. We’ll hike among the striking sandstone spires (4 miles) and then resume our shuttle to Great Sand Dunes National Park.
We’ll spend our first two nights at the Sand Dunes Lodge and hike into the Sangre De Cristos the next morning. We’re headed to the summit of Mosca Pass (9,751'), a moderate hike that showcases the many life zones embraced within the park (7 miles).
We’re up on Day 3 and in the cool early morning, before breakfast, we’re off to play in the sand, if climbing the 750-foot High Dune can be characterized as playing. We’ll return to the lodge for that well-earned breakfast and then head to Ojo Caliente Spa.
Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs is one of the oldest natural health resorts in the country. The sulphur-free, geothermal mineral waters have flowed from a subterranean volcanic aquifer for thousands of years. Over 100,000 gallons per day come to the surface, revitalizing those who soak in the long believed, healing waters. (SPA is the acronym for the Latin phrase Salus Per Aquas, which means "health through water.") In this relaxing setting you will get to choose your afternoon, whether a hike, a long soak in the hot springs, joga or massage, reading, exploring, these are some of your choices. We will dine at the Ojo Caliente restaurant and then doze off to a peaceful sleep.
Day 4, we will van shuttle to the Taos area. We'll go to the Rio Grande Gorge Recreation Area. We’ll descend into the gorge overlooking the confluence of the Rio Grande and Red Rivers. We’ll hike to that confluence and then along the Rio Grande before climbing from the gorge to return to our trailhead (8 miles).
Day 5, we’ll challenge Gold Hill, New Mexico’s third tallest peak at 12,711'. Far less traveled than nearby Wheeler Peak, Gold Hill commands views no less spectacular than Wheeler’s. Several of the mighty “fourteeners” of Colorado line the northern horizon while Wheeler looms to the south (11 miles). We'll be glad we had a relaxing day on Day 3, today is a day of exercise!
On Day 6, following a final overnight in Taos, we’ll return to the Taos Ski Valley and hike to beautiful Williams Lake on the slopes of Mt. Wheeler. After our hike, we'll van shuttle to Sante Fe for lunch and chocolate,with a little time to explore Sante Fe and get the last bit of shopping completed. Then our final return to Albuquerque where our hiking trip of The Great Sand Dunes and Northern New Mexico concludes.
|Day 1||Tent Rocks Hike (trailhead between Albuquerque & Santa Fe)
van shuttle to the Great Sand Dunes National Park; overnight at Great Sand Dunes Lodge
|7 - 10|
|Day 2||Mosca Pass; overnight at Great Sand Dunes Lodge||13|
|Day 3||Drive to Ojo Caliente Spa, day hike there and free time at spa; overnight at Ojo Caliente||6|
|Day 4||Leave early and drive to Taos area and hike Rio Grande Gorge Recreation Area; hike to confluence of Rio Grande and Red Rivers; overnight at El Pueblo Lodge||10|
|Day 5||Gold Hill (3,300’ elevation gain) (New Mexico’s 3d-highest peak); overnight at El Pueblo Lodge, Taos||14|
|Day 6||Hike Williams Lake in the morning; drive to Sante Fe, have lunch, afternoon to look around and shop, van shuttle return to Albuquerque||6|
Total hiking mileage: 56-59
Routes, mileage and accommodations are subject to change due to safety, road/trail conditions, weather and availability.