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Mosca Pass Trail

 4.0 (14)

A steady climb with incredible views of the Great Sand Dunes and foothills of the Sangre de Cristos.

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Point to Point

9,718' 2,962 m


8,176' 2,492 m


1,546' 471 m


3' 1 m



Avg Grade (5°)


Max Grade (11°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Family Friendly A fairly easy trail with great views. Turn back whenever you want!


Mosca Pass Trail is easily accessed from the Great Sand Dunes Visitor Center parking lot. Pick up the trail at the north end of the parking lot and cross 150. From here, you'll start the steady climb up the pass. There is another small parking lot located up the road from the visitor center where you can also park and start your hike.

Mosca Pass Trail follows Mosca Creek as it winds through aspens and evergreens. While it is a singletrack trail and there are some rocks and roots to avoid, overall the footing on this trail allows you to keep your eyes on the scenery as you climb up into the Sangre de Cristo mountains.

The first part of the trail is situated in a small valley and you won't have very many expansive views unless you turn around and look back the way you came. Around two miles, you begin to emerge from the creek drainage to more expansive meadows where you can enjoy the view.

The trail ends in an open meadow at County Rd. 583 and while this may endpoint may at first seem unimpressive and not worth the effort you just put in to climb the pass, just turn around and get ready to enjoy the views on your way back down. The steady climb has earned you some spectacular views of the sand dunes framed by the foothills of the Sangre de Cristos.

Flora & Fauna

Pinon pine, aspens, narrow-leaf cottonwoods, ponderosa pines, and blue spruce. You will see variety of wildflowers in the late spring/early summer such as Indian paintbrush, pasque flowers, candytuft, coral bells, shooting star, fireweed, and columbines.

Deer, elk, squirrels, rabbits, hawks, jays, ravens, magpies, woodpeckers, and a variety of other birds. 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.


Shared By:

Kristen Arendt

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 14 votes


  4.0 from 14 votes
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Trail Rankings


in Colorado


10 Views Last Month
4,285 Since Sep 29, 2015



Mad for Mosca
May 26, 2018 near Westcliffe, CO
Midway up the trail looking back toward the dunes.
Sep 21, 2019 near Westcliffe, CO
Approaching the summit of Mosca Pass Trail.
Sep 12, 2016 near Westcliffe, CO
Returning from the upper trailhead
May 8, 2018 near Westcliffe, CO
Great Sand Dunes from the Mosca Pass Trail
May 8, 2018 near Westcliffe, CO
Returning to the wilderness
May 8, 2018 near Westcliffe, CO



Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
All Clear 93 days ago See History
Add Your Check-In


Oct 5, 2021
Tammie Stouter
Jul 25, 2021
Josh Nazarenus
Apr 4, 2021
Ariel Rodriguez
Sep 20, 2020
Atsuko Ohtake
Sep 12, 2020
Nick Barendregt
An amazing hike with great views and tons of different scenery! Rivals the quality of the dunes. 6.2mi — 2h 18m
Sep 7, 2020
Jill Serbousek
3.2mi — 2h 14m
Aug 12, 2020
Tom Herr
Moderate forested mountain hike with most of the elevation gain early. Very enjoyable hike. 7.2mi
Jun 30, 2020
Mark Stevens
Definitely worth the hike with the mountain views and trees all around.