Tales from the Trail: UFOs of Southern Colorado

Change up your running terrain, take in the breathtaking landscape, and maybe spot something strange in the sky.

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Location: Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in Mosca, CO

Trail: High and Star Dune Trail

“I pointed westward… There were two small, shiny, cigar-shaped dots floating eerily still in the dusty pink and purple sky. They were identical in size and shape,” writes Megan Brown on Medium. She was staying in Hooper, Colo., with her family, during a trip to Great Sand Dunes National Park. “Tiny circular lights were flying in the space between the two objects.”

Megan’s story isn’t uncommon for visitors to the area. Not only is the park home to the tallest sand dune in North America, it’s also home to more than 60 record UFO sightings.

According to the New York Times, reports of UFO sightings in the area can be traced back to settlements of the 1600s – three and a half centuries before the fervor of the space race in the 60s.

With its rare combination of ecosystems, the park carries a feeling of being otherworldly. Plus, its dry air, high elevation, and minimal light pollution make it a perfect place for stargazing. In fact, Great Sand Dunes was officially designated an International Dark Sky Park in 2019.

If you’re feeling ready to put your calves to work, hit the dunes at dusk says The Official Site of Colorado Tourism, “when the light gives them a rich gold color and shadows snake across their wind-sculpted ridges.” After, as the sun goes down, you can top off your run in the dunes with an expansive view of the cosmos… and maybe something out of this world.