HEADS up: If you’re headed to the Great Sand Dunes National Park coming from the north on Highway 285 and down Highway 17 you’ll find yourself detoured due to road construction on Lane 6 North.

Your better bet is to not travel Highway 17 into the Sand Dunes this summer, but get yourself onto Highway 160 to the national park and surrounding attractions. The road construction is expected to begin on May 16 and last through Labor Day weekend. Delays of 30 minutes will be normal for people who live or do business off Lane 6 North, just north of the town of Mosca.

The construction route is approximately 16 miles long and is an east-west connector between State Highways 17 and 150. The route serves the local community and region and provides access to Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, San Luis State Wildlife Area, Zapata Falls, Bureau of Land Management lands, and Forest Service lands.

Memorial Day Weekend

The exception to the road closure will be during the Memorial Day Weekend, from May 27 to June 5. The national park has worked it out with the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, which is coordinating the road work, to open Lane 6 during that heavy visitation period to the Great Sand Dunes.

Otherwise, the Great Sand Dunes doesn’t think the summer visitations will be hurt by the Lane 6 road work, said Public Information Officer Kathy Faz. Instead, the national park will be focused on making sure visitors who’ve been traveling for hours to get into the Sand Dunes find the amenities they need most – clean restrooms, water, and other restful moments.

“When you’re a visitor and traveling so far, the first thing you want is to take care of your basic needs like a potty break,” she said. “We want to make sure we have the level of customer service that people are going to need.”

More on the Lane 6 construction

The proposed improvements include resurfacing, restoration, and rehabilitation of the roadway.  During this period, visitors to the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve should avoid Lane 6 and instead detour south to US Hwy 160. Partial route access will only be as far as the San Luis Lakes State Wildlife Area (an 8-mile stretch of the road) for travelers accessing the SWA and only accessible for local access. Local access is defined as local private property owners living along Lane 6 and federal property owners (areas not publicly accessible, administrative use only).

All users (travelers and local access) accessing any portions of Lane 6 should expect delays up to 30 minutes. Travelers or local traffic using Lane 6 to access Great Sand Dunes, businesses along Hwy. 150, and Hwy. 17, Zapata Subdivision homeowners, and other public lands along Hwy. 150 will be affected. 

The project is divided into East and West Sections and each section will experience full closure of both lanes 24 hours per day as noted below.

  • May 15-July 20: West section full closure (8 miles) – access to San Luis Lakes SWA from the East via CO Hwy 150.
  • May 27-June 5: Lane 6 open 24 hours, no construction occurring.
  • July 20-Sept. 1: East section full closure – access to San Luis Lakes SWA from the West via CO Hwy 17.

It is important for travelers to plan by noting the distance of the detour to available facilities such as gas stations, restrooms, grocery stores and restaurants.

For information on how this will impact travel to Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, contact the visitor center at 719-378-6395 during visitor center operating hours, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

For information on how this will impact travel to other businesses or impact local private property owners, please contact Alamosa County Road & Bridge at 719-589-6262 during operating hours, 7am to 5:30pm, Monday through Thursday.

Here is more general information on the construction project.

Great Sand Dunes and Alamosa County will provide updates through the county and park’s Twitter accounts: @GreatSandDunes @Alamosa_County using #Lane6NUpdates