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blueBlack Sand Ramp Trail


11.9 mile 19.1 kilometer point to point


Ascent: 1,456' 444 m
Descent: -1,857' -566 m
High: 9,237' 2,816 m
Low: 7,913' 2,412 m


Avg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 26% (15°)


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Trail shared by Kristen Arendt

A fairly arduous trail skirting the northeastern edge of the dunes.

Kristen Arendt

Features Views · Wildlife


The Sand Ramp Trail is most commonly used to access the various backcountry campsites along the foothills of the dunes. It isn't necessarily a scenic destination as it skirts the dunes at the same elevation along the base of the mountains meaning that the scenery is fairly uniform along the way.

You can starting hiking on the Sand Ramp Trail either from Loop 2 of the campground or at the Point of No Return Parking area. Note that while Medano Pass Road from the campground up to Point of No Return parking area is designated as a 2WD road, it is best to have a vehicle with some ground clearance and ideally 4WD to get to Point of No Return. After this, Medano Pass Road turns to a primitive 4x4 road and high clearance and 4WD will be necessary to navigate the sand, creeks, and rocks along the way.

After the first two miles, much of this trail is, at best, sandy soil, and in some places pure sand. You'll also be hiking up and down along the foothills, so this combination of factors can make this hike quite grueling. Allow for more time than the mileage indicates and come prepared as the trail is more isolated.

If you are interested in backcountry camping at one of the seven primitive sites along Sand Ramp Trail, you must obtain a free permit at the Visitor Center. Permits are granted on a first come, first served basis.

Flora & Fauna

Ponderosa pine, aspen, narrow-leaf cottonwood, pinon pine, rocky mountain juniper, yucca, prickly pear cactus and a variety of wildflowers in late spring/early summer.

Elk, deer, pronghorns, rabbits, squirrels, and chipmunks. Birds such as pine siskins, juncos, bluebirds, robins, grosbeaks, magpies, ravens, hawks, and woodpeckers. Mountain lions, bobcats, and black bears also inhabit the higher altitudes of the Sangre de Cristos, and while you probably won't see them on your hike, be aware that they are active in the area.


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Sep 15, 2018
Demetrio Ruiz Garay
Jun 1, 2018
Kate Muller
Jun 11, 2017
Holly Masters-Litton
Jun 10, 2017
Kate Muller
Nov 26, 2016
Mike Lewczak
May 30, 2016
Landon Cunningham
Great trail. Difficult but a fun challenge! 11mi
May 15, 2016
Darcy McGuckin
May 14, 2016
Rachel Lowrance
We were not expecting how hot and sandy the first mile or two of the trail was, but it was a fun and fairly challenging hike.

Trail Ratings

  2.8 from 4 votes


  2.8 from 4 votes
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in Colorado


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1,637 Since Sep 29, 2015
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