There are a lot of fairly private picnic area turn-offs with tables and grills in the park - it's a wonderful place to do your own thing for lunch. The driveway is probably 20 miles, and you need provisions for a day trip. It is a spectacular piece of nature. Options for dinner in Alamosa are limited, options in La Veta an hour east are better and Taos is the best. Depends on where you plan to spend the night.
Enjoy climbing the dunes!
Thanks for the suggestions!
We haven't decided where exactly to spend the night - will probably base it on where the best eats are!
so, if anyone has specific recommendations for Alamosa or La Veta - or anywhere else, that would be great! (We are heading up to Denver after, so Taos is probably to far south for us).