Montville to Visitor Center

Round Trip Distance: 0.6 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 8176 - 8267 feet
Cellphone: 0-2 bars
Time: 30 mins.
Trailhead: Montville/Visitor Center
Fee: $15/vehicle
Attractions: Short connector

The Montville to Visitor Center trail is located in the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in the San Luis Valley north of Alamosa, Colorado. The trail provides a connecting route between the Montville trailhead and the Visitor Center that is 3 tenths of a mile long.

This post begins at the Montville trailhead and travels to the Visitor Center and back.

The trail starts out by skirting the contact zone between the sand sheet of the valley's floor and the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

The path itself is mostly sandy and tends to be primitive in nature.

The area the trail passes through shows the scars of a past fire with younger grasses and bushes growing up around the remains of the burned trees.

Before reaching the Visitor Center the trail crosses the highway.

The trail becomes firmer after crossing the road as it courses its way through the pinyon and juniper trees for the final stretch to the Visitor Center.

At the Visitor Center the trail dumps out into a side parking lot and comes to an inglorious end. If you continue across the parking lot for about 100 feet you can pick up the sidewalk that leads up to the building.

The Visitor Center is a whole other world of exploration with its small museum and gift shop.

On the way back you get the chance to see the dunes from yet another vantage point.

And it is hard to view the dunes without also taking notice of the mountains in the background.

We encountered other hikers while photographing the trail for this post. Several of them had parked at the Visitor Center and hiked this trail enroute to the Mosca Pass trail. We also saw a family that had begun at the Pinyon Flats campground and hiked the Wellington Ditch trail and were now on their way to the Visitor Center. The trail between the Montville trailhead, although lacking any official name, does serve as an important connecting route. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.