Medano Pass Road Closed Due to Flash Flood Damage
The Medano Pass Primitive Road in Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is partically closed due to severe road damage from flash flooding. “Visitor safety is our primary concern in making this closure,” said Acting Superintendent Karl Cordova. “Recent heavy thunderstorms have washed down ash and debris from areas burned by last year’s wildfire, covering sections of the road. Fast-moving waters have also carved out parts of the roadbed. Vehicles could easily become trapped in these areas.”
The road is currently closed from the second creek crossing (5.6 miles east of Pinyon Flats Campground) to the Medano Lake Trailhead (1/2 mile below the Medano Pass summit). All of Medano Canyon is still open to hiking and horseback riding. Visitors may still access the Point of No Return parking area with most passenger cars, and Castle Creek Picnic Area with high-clearance 4-wheel drive vehicles. The main Dunes Parking Area and paved park roads remain open.
The Sand Ramp Trail is also closed to all visitor use north of the Medano Pass Road. more…
This closure will remain in effect until further notice. Crews are working to repair the road. For the latest information, please contact the Visitor Center at 719-378-6399.
General Caution: The road passes through sections of forest that were burned in a 6,249 acre wildfire in 2010. Burned, standing trees may fall at any time, especially during wind. Thunderstorms may produce dangerous debris flows that can trap people or vehicles, and that may make the road impassible. The water in Medano Creek contains soot and ash, especially in lower sections; soot levels may increase during rainstorms or snowmelt. Upper sections of Medano Pass were not burned; water is clear higher on the pass.
Current Flow of Medano Creek
From Great Sand Dunes, the Medano Pass Road crosses Medano Creek nine times on its way to Medano Pass. See the current cubic feet per second (cfs) flow of Medano Creek. This current flow chart is shown as a graph over the past month. Creek flow is normally highest at dawn, and lowest in late afternoon. Peak flow for an average season is about 40 cfs (cubic feet per second). When creek flow goes over 50 cfs, the road is closed for safety, since water that high can sweep a vehicle downstream.
Call the Visitor Center at 719-378-6399 for more details and any daily changes.