WHERE TO RIDE: AMERICA'S BEST DUNES; Coast-to-coast Guide
We can all agree that shredding sand is one of the most enjoyable forms of ATVing. To do that, folks from all four corners of our great country head out to their favorite dune areas to enjoy the thrills of sand-blasting with their four wheelers. To showcase some of the best ride areas in the country, the Dirt Wheels sand-spewing crew have compiled a list of awesome rides, from Arizona to Wyoming. We had a lot of help from sand specialists who, along with us, have enjoyed traversing the wide range of duning opportunities throughout our nation. These areas are as diverse as the riders who go there and seek out the latest sand sensations.
ARIZONA 1. HOT WELL Contacts: (928) 348-4400. www.blm.gov/az/outrec/camping/hot_well/dunes. Location: 35 miles southeast of Safford, Arizona. From Safford, take Highway 70 east, seven miles. Turn right on BLM’s Haekel Road and proceed 25 miles south. AREA INFORMATION Total of 4000 acres, of which only 2000 are open to off-road use. Low, rolling vegetated dunes with trails around vegetation. Camping allowed, with several established campsites and a large overflow area. There’s no drinking water, electricity or phones on site. Two flowing hot well water tubs for soaking. Safety rules and regulations are required, and safe riding is encouraged because there are pedestrians in the area. There is a $3 per vehicle per day fee, or a $30 annual pass can be purchased to use the area, which needs to be purchased at the BLM office in Safford. 2. CINDER HILLS OHV AREA Contacts: (520) 526-0866. www.pr.state.az.us/partnerships/ohv/ncentral.html Location: Ten miles northeast of Flagstaff off State Highway 89. AREA INFORMATION Cinders OHV area encompasses approximately 13,500 acres of open country. The riding area is a strange mixture of Ponderosa and Juniper-covered forests with trails winding through the trees. There are also very long and steep hills suited for ATVs, buggies and other vehicles. But be forewarned, this is a challenging ride spot with loose volcanic-type rock ranging in size from very small pebbles to stones about one inch in diameter. Altitude is 6500 feet, so bring extra jets and equipment to properly tune your vehicle for optimum performance. Dispersed camping in most of the area is allowed, but there are no toilets or drinking water on location.
CALIFORNIA 3. DUMONT DUNES Contacts: (760) 252-6000. www.ca.blm.gov/barstow/dumont.html. Location: 33.9 miles north of Baker on Route 127, turn right on Dumont Dunes Road and head east on graded road into the dunes. AREA INFORMATION 2300 acres of very steep, smooth, barren sand dunes with no vegetation. Camping is allowed and there are BLM restrooms, but there is no running water, drinking water, or other services at the area. Nearest services are in Baker. The camping area is a hard surface consisting of rock and sand mixture, and the dunes drop directly to the base of the desert floor. Dune profile is steep, with razorbacks at every turn of the wheel. A semi-permanent ranger station is located on site, and a ranger is usually present on most weekends, as well as holidays during the off-roading season. There is also a dune host at this location during the off-roading season. A California Green Sticker or Red Sticker must be displayed on the vehicle, and an adequate muffler or spark arrester is required. Non-resident California OHV permits are also required. These can be purchased from the Barstow BLM office as well as some businesses in Baker and Las Vegas. For more information on this, visit the BLM website shown above. Cell phone service is sporadic in the area, so be fully prepared with supplies when camping at Dumont.
One of America’s premier sand playgrounds is the legendary Glamis Sand Dunes. This 70,000 acre expanse of sand is located in southeastern California, and has some of the biggest dune extravaganzas of the year, centered around the Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and the Easter holidays.
4. IMPERIAL SAND DUNES Contacts: (760) 337-4400. www.ca.blm.gov/elcentro/ImperialSandDunes. Location: (four main areas) Mammoth Wash is ten miles southeast of Niland on the Niland/Glamis Road. Glamis is 25 miles east of Brawley on State Highway 78. Gordons Well is 15 miles west of Yuma, AZ, north of Highway 8. Buttercup Valley is 15 miles west of Yuma, AZ, south of Highway 8. AREA INFORMATION Mammoth Wash has approximately 8000 acres of riding area. Glamis and Gordons Well combined consist of approximately. 70,000 acres. Buttercup Valley is approximatel 7700 acres. Mammoth Wash has moderately high, soft rolling dunes with some good bowls and sharp razors. The Mammoth Wash and Ogilby areas are both primitive and isolated with no facilities whatsoever. Glamis, Gordons Well, and Buttercup contain high, smooth rolling dunes with big bowls, steep faces, and occasional razorbacks, all contained in an area that’s perfect for all types of vehicles. Glamis and Gordons Well are both primitive with BLM vault toilets situated in various areas. Glamis Beach Store is located on Highway 78 on the east side of the dunes. Gecko Road (west of Glamis, near Cahuilla Ranger Station) and Buttercup have paved access with designated camping pads and vault toilets. Cahuilla Ranger Station is located on the corner of Gecko Rd. and Hwy. 78, toward the west side of the dunes. OHV registration is required, as are whip antennae, and an adequate muffler and spark arrester. Be sure to visit the BLM website for a complete list of the rules and regulations. There is also a $25 fee each week for a visitor’s primary vehicle (which should be purchased in advance of arriving at the ISDRA), and a $90 annual pass is also available. Annual passes are available through the BLM website or at the BLM ranger station. BLM can also provide more information about obtaining the season passes, as well as provide visitors with safety information and GPS coordinates for popular locations within the Imperial Dunes. It is also suggested that you pack all of your trash back home with you. We’ve featured two of these riding areas in our March/April and May/June 2007 issues. 5. JOHNSON VALLEY OHV AREA Contacts: (760) 252-6000. www.ca.blm.gov/barstow/johnson.html Location: Off Hwy 247 approximately 25 miles east of Victorville, and 55 miles southeast of Barstow. Exit at Camp Rock Road, Bessemer Mine Road, or Boone Road, and the area is approximately ten miles north of the highway on a graded dirt road. AREA INFORMATION Johnson Valley is comprised of a series of dry lake beds, which are surrounded by rocky mountainous terrain, rolling hills and sandy washes. The valleys that are in-between the mountains have a variety of terrain to explore, including serious rocky trails, as well as steep, sand-covered hillsides. One of California’s largest open riding areas. 6. OCOTILLO WELLS SVRA Contacts: (760) 767-5391. www.ohv.parks.ca.gov Location: Ocotillo Wells is located directly adjacent to Hwy. 78, about 100 miles northeast of Sand Diego and 25 miles west of Hwy. 86. AREA INFORMATION Ocotillo Wells SVRA has approximately 80,000 acres of desert terrain to be explored. Elevation in the park ranges from below sea level to about 400 feet above sea level in some of the mountain ranges. Trails are clearly marked with “street sign” type markers, and a detailed trail map with sectional grids and GPS coordinates is available at the ranger station. There are plenty of ramada-style camp spots, vault toilets, and some showers near the ranger station on the California State Park land. However, there are no electric or water hookups within the area. All off-highway vehicles must be registered, displaying either a Green Sticker, Red Sticker, or a street-legal registration tag. Rules within the park are strictly enforced, and there are no fees collected for camping or day-use. 7. OLANCHA DUNES Contacts: (760) 384-5400. www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/ridgecrest. 1.html Location: Two miles east of Olancha on Hwy. 190. You’ll also need to drive on a soft, sand access road for about one mile to reach the main riding area. AREA INFORMATION This is a small 600-plus acre area with coarse grain sand. Camping is allowed, but there are no improvements at the riding area, nor are there any facilities available. A California Green Sticker, or Red Sticker, and an adequate muffler and spark arrester are required. There are no fees to use this land. Be fully prepared with adequate supplies and amenities when you visit this location, and bring everything that you will end up needing during your stay, including plenty of water. 8. OCEANO DUNES STATE VEHICULAR RECREATION AREA Contacts: (805) 773-7170. (805) 473-7220. www.oceanodunes.org Location: 12 miles south of San Louis Obispo, and west of Highway 101 on the beach. AREA INFORMATION California’s last remaining coastal sand dunes that are still open to off-highway vehicles. Also known as Pismo Dunes SVRA, this dune complex is geologically unique and also provides an impressive playground for off-highway enthusiasts that visit from throughout the United States. There are approximately 3,500 acres within the state park boundary, 2000 of which are a buffer/preserve area, and 1500 acres which are set aside for camping and OHV use. Note that during the Snowy Plover season (March through September) the 1500 acre riding area is reduced to about 1100 acres. This scenic location is comprised of various-sized dunes, ranging from small rollers to larger bowls. Speed limit is 15 mph on the beach and near campsites. Camping is allowed south of Post two on the beach and in the open area. Reservations for camping are highly recommended well in advance and can be obtained by calling (800) 444-7275. Illegal camping fines are $270 per night and the violator is required to leave (regular camping fees are $10 for each night, and $5 per primary vehicle for day use). Vault and chemical toilets are provided, but your water must be brought in and trash must be packed out. Campsites with service and hookups are available outside the riding area, but OHVs must be trailered into the riding area. A California Green Sticker, muffler, and a flag are required on all off-highway vehicles (Red Stickers and OHV noise restrictions are enforced.)
9. RASOR OHV AREA Contacts: (760) 252-6000. www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/barstow/rasor.html Location: The riding area is located between Interstate 15 and the Mojave National Preserve, about 25 miles southwest of Baker. Access roads are Basin Road and Rasor Road east of the I-15. Both of these roads are graded dirt roads. AREA INFORMATION This location offers rolling hills, open valleys, and sand dunes that invite riders who are willing to travel into the remote area. Elevations range from near 2427 feet above sea level, down to about 1275 feel elevation at the Mojave River. The location is well suited for all types of off-highway vehicles, including trucks and Jeeps. The easily accessed areas off the Rasor Road exit are used extensively for OHV and sand rail staging and play. Overall, the area is still undeveloped with no major improvements or facilities. Camping is permitted in all areas of the location that do not block travel in and out of the area. There are no fees to use the area, but vehicles must have current registration and safety flags. Riders and drivers should also exercise caution since there are no rangers present on a full-time basis. Helmets are required for all ATV and motorcycle riders. It is recommended that you visit the BLM website for more information before traveling to this area. COLORADO
10. NORTH SAND HILLS Contacts: (970) 723-8204. www.co.blm.gov/kra/NorthSandHillSRMA.htm Location: Approximately 10.5 miles northeast of Walden, off Highway 125 just north of the town of Cowdrey. Turn east on County Road #6 and proceed to BLM road #2509. Follow the bladed road to the right into the SRMA. AREA INFORMATION The North Sand Hills SRMA is the only OHV sand recreation area in the state of Colorado! It is a non-fee, primitive OHV recreation and camping area with 1400 acres total within the SRMA, of which 800 acres are open for OHV recreation. The camping areas are dispersed primitive sites, and only two free-standing toilets are on site. The trail system in the SRMA begins in the sand, winds through the aspen and sagebrush, and leads both to the dunes and up into the Colorado State Forest. The North Sand Hills SRMA is a great family location. A donation tube is located on site to help the BLM maintain this special area and keep it open for free use! Vehicles need to be equipped with flags, and safe driving is advised. An OHV sticker or registration is required from your state of origin. Bring your own supplies, and be sure to pack out any trash.
IDAHO 11. ST. ANTHONY DUNES Contacts: (208) 524-7500. www.id.blm.go Location: Six miles west of St. Anthony, 50 miles northwest of Idaho Falls. AREA INFORMATION 10,600 acres and 15 continuous miles of pure sand. Ever-changing dunes from small to very large, with various dune systems linked by a series of trails. This is one of the most challenging and fun places to visit, offering deep bowls, smooth transitions, and steep razorbacks. It also has one of the tallest and steepest naturally forming dunes in the U.S.—Choke Cherry Hill. Camping is permitted at the BLM site on the south end of the dunes (a.k.a. The Meadows), and there are restrooms and a parts store on this location as well. The BLM sites range from basic to improved with full hookups, and the fees are $25 to $60 per day, depending on the size of the camp spot and the amenities provided. There are also two RV parks, Desert Oasis and Sand Hills Resort, situated along the northeastern edge of the dunes. Vehicles should be equipped with spark arrester and safety flags. It is recommended that you stay off any vegetation, drive in a safe manner, and respect horseback riders. No fees, but OHVs are required to have safety flags and current ORV registration sticker. KANSAS 12. SYRACUSE SAND DUNE PARK Contacts: (620) 384-2480. www.syracusesandpark.com Location: The park is located near the intersection of Highways 50 and 27 just outside the town of Syracuse, Kansas, which is approximately 15 miles east of the Colorado border. AREA INFORMATION This 1300 acre off-road park was opened to the public on July 4, 2007. The location is comprised of an expanse of low-rolling dunes, with some occasional bowls, a few small hills to climb, and a series of bladed trails for exploration. The tallest dune is less than 150 feet, and elevation at the Park is 3200 feet. So, be prepared to tune your engine for optimum performance if you come from a lower elevation area. The terrain lends itself best to ATVs and UTVs. Private camping sites are also located in the area, as are stores that sell parts and supplies in the nearby town. Fees to use the park are $5 per driver, $100 for an individual annual pass, and $25 for each additional immediate family member pass. Safety equipment is suggested, and whip flags are required.
LOUISIANA 13. THE DUNES INC. Contacts: (318) 748-4057. www.thedunesinc.com Location: One hour south of Alexandria, Louisiana on Highway 165, near Forest Hills. AREA INFORMATION This is one of the few privately owned ride spots in the country. It has 360 acres of wet sand, which is caused mostly by the southern humidity, and the fact that the area is bordered by two lakes which are on the premises. There are a couple of small dunes to climb, but the location is fairly flat and has plenty of open area to ride your ATVs and motorcycles. The size of The Dunes lends itself better to quads and bikes. This is definitely a family oriented ride spot, and it includes a camping area with hookups, showers, food, picnic tables, a playground area for the kids, and an ATV wash area. The website for The Dunes Inc. has all of the information you’ll need to plan a trip, and it also includes all of the rules and requirements to use the area. MICHIGAN 14. SILVER LAKE STATE PARK ORV AREA Contacts: (231) 873-3083. www.michigan.gov/dnr Location: On the shore of Lake Michigan, north of Grand Rapids between Ludington and Muskegon. AREA INFORMATION This location offers nearly 2000 acres of scenic dunes, of which 450 acres are an open riding area on the shore of Lake Michigan. Tall rolling dunes over 200 feet in elevation are prime for ATVs and buggies. Some areas are semi-wooded, but most of the area is open with no vegetation. The off-road area is open during the year between the dates of April 1 through October 31. Nearby State Park has 249 campsites with electricity, showers available at campgrounds. Also, several other campgrounds located in the area. Note the one-way traffic pattern areas within the open dunes for safety reasons. Machines must carry a square orange flag of 50 square inches on a ten-foot pole (mounted in front of vehicle) and have a muffler that complies with the Michigan State ORV department requirements. Fees required for day use, season passes also available. Also, voucher system is in effect, which is designed to meter the daily amount of vehicles into the dunes. So, plan ahead and get your voucher right when you arrive, which can be obtained at the DNR office on Fox Road about 1/4-mile away from the dunes’ entrance. NEVADA 15. AMARGOSA BIG DUNE Contacts: (702) 515-5000 www.nv.blm.gov Location: 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas on Highway 95. The dunes are located north of Amargosa Valley and south of Beatty. If you are traveling from the south, drive approximately 7.5 miles north from the junction of Highways 95 and 373. From Beatty, drive about 19 miles south on Hwy. 95 from the junction of 95 and 374. AREA INFORMATION Big Dune encompasses a total of 11,000 acres, of which approximately 9600 acres are open for casual OHV use, camping and other recreation opportunities. The dune system is large enough to have plenty of fun with just about any type of off-road vehicle, and the height of the dunes at the tallest point is about 500 feet. The dunes are located on a valley floor with very steep windblown faces and smaller dunes near the base. There’s an area restricted to OHVs, set aside to protect the habitat of four different types of dune beetles. Camping is allowed, but the site is very primitive and there are no improvements or facilities. There are no vehicle requirements enforced, but common sense, whip flags and safe driving is encouraged. Visitors do not need to pay fees to use the land.
16. CRESCENT SAND DUNES Contacts: (775) 482-7800. www.nv.blm.gov Location: From Tonopah, follow Highway 95 toward Reno. Just 2.6 miles out, turn right and proceed northeast on Gabbs Pole Line Road for 9.4 miles. AREA INFORMATION It is estimated that the total open riding area at Crescent encompasses about 3000 acres. The main sand dune riding area is approximately 700 acres, consisting mostly of pinkish dunes with the largest reaching a height of about 400 feet. Camping is allowed, but there are no improvements or facilities. While there are no vehicle requirements, safe driving is encouraged. No fees or restrictions; however, it is recommended that in certain areas of the complex you stay on marked trails and do not harm the natural environment.
17. NELLIS DUNES Contacts: (702) 515-5000. www.nv.blm.gov Location: 20 miles north of downtown Las Vegas, at the northernmost portion of Las Vegas valley (exit Hwy. 15 at Apex Rd. and go southeast on frontage road). AREA INFORMATION Approximately 10,000 acres of open riding area for casual OHV free play and other recreational opportunities. The area consists of 3500 acres of windblown primary sand dunes that are low rolling and fun to ride on. The area also has dry sand and gravel washes, and other challenging land for OHV use. There are no restrictions for OHVs, and there are no facilities, signs, or dedicated roads at the site. This area is recommended as a day-use only area, and visitors should stay at the many hotels/motels in nearby Las Vegas.
18. SAND MOUNTAIN Contacts: (775) 885-6000. www.sandmountain-nv.org Location: 25 miles east of Fallon and north of Highway 50. AREA INFORMATION Managed by the BLM, this well-known central Nevada riding area covers approximately 4795 acres. The area is mainly one huge wide open dune that has an equally large “Superbowl,” with low-rolling sand dunes at its base and perimeter. The main dune system measures two miles long and a half mile wide, and is a whopping 600 feet tall. Camping is allowed and there are some vault toilets, but no improvements or services are available. Vehicle owners are required to have registration for their vehicle from state of origin. Be careful to not harm any natural vegetation, and respect wilderness study area boundaries that have been established to protect the Sand Mountain Blue Butterfly. This means stay on trails marked with green signs, and stay out of habitat restoration areas marked with red. BLM fees and rules are also in effect.
19. WINNEMUCCA SAND DUNES Contacts: (775) 623-1500. www.nv.blm.gov/Winnemucca Location: The dunes are located about ten miles N. off Winnemucca on U.S. Highway 95. AREA INFORMATION The Winnemucca Sand Dunes are one of the largest dune areas in the state of Nevada, spanning several miles in length. Off-road vehicle enthusiasts can drive their ATVs, buggies, and dirt bikes on the dunes, as well as its system of trails and desert land. Although the dunes do not reach a height above 100 feet tall, there is plenty of open riding area and lots of land to explore. You may camp at the location, but keep in mind that there are no facilities or improvements. There are also lodging opportunities available in nearby Winnemucca. There are no fees to use the riding area, or vehicle requirements other than a whip flag, mufflers and spark arresters. Riders should exercise common sense and safety, and be sure to pack out and dispose of all your trash. NEW MEXICO 20. MESCALERO SANDS NORTH DUNES Contacts: (505) 627-0272. www.nm.blm.gov> Location: 45 miles east of Roswell, 1.5 miles south of Highway 380. Turn south from 380 on a gravel road located between milepost 193 and 194. AREA INFORMATION 610 acres of 90-plus feet tall vegetated dunes on a major escarpmenteast of the Pescoe River. The dune field stretches over most of the area and lends itself well to ATVs and UTVs. The dunes are made up of quartz particles and are constantly changing due to the prevailing southwest wind. Camping is allowed, but no improvements or facilities are present. No specific vehicle requirements, but mufflers, spark arresters and flags are highly recommended. There are picnic shelters, tables, barbecue grills and restrooms. Day use/camping fees apply ($3 individual, $5 per vehicle, $5 overnight camping, and $15 for buses with more than 15 passengers.) All fees collected are used for maintenance and operation of the area.
OKLAHOMA 21. BEAVER DUNES STATE PARK Contacts: (580) 625-3373. www.touroklahoma.com/parks.asp Location: Three hours north of Amarillo, TX, and 85 miles west of Woodward, OK. Take U.S. Hwy. 270, 1-1/2 miles north of Beaver, Oklahoma. AREA INFORMATION 300 acres of open riding area, some of which is sand dunes, and other areas are covered with skunk brush and sage brush. Camping area consists of seven electric sites, and ten sites for tent camping. This hilly riding area is best suited for ATVs, UTVs and motorcycles. Safety flags and vehicle registration are required.
22. LITTLE SAHARA RECREATION AREA (OK) Contacts: (580) 824-1471. www.touroklahoma.com/parks.asp Location: Four miles south of Waynoka, west of U.S. Highway 281 on the northern banks of the Cimarron River. AREA INFORMATION One of the most popular ride spots in the Midwest, offering 1600 acres that are comprised of a combination of open dunes and trails. Dunes range in height from 25 to 75 feet, and they are forever moving and constantly changing. Area has 100 camp sites with water and electricity, the rest of the sites are unimproved. There are also group sites, picnic shelters, and public restrooms with pay showers. Vehicles are required to have an orange or red flag on a ten foot minimum height whip antenna. Headlight and taillights are required for night riding. There is a fee for camping, and for each vehicle operator, regardless of number of vehicles in your trailer. A well-stocked store is located on the premises with lots of off-road vehicle supplies.
a roost in virgin sand, with a pristine forest and lakes in the
background, is what duning is all about at the Umpqua Dunes, near
Oregon’s scenic Winchester Bay.
OREGON 23. CHRISTMAS VALLEY DUNES Contacts: (541) 947-2177. www.blm.gov/or/index.php Location: From Christmas Valley, continue east on Christmas Valley Road 8.2 miles. A BLM sign will direct you north on CR 5-14C for 8.4 miles, and then turn right on CR 5-14D. Go five more miles and turn east on CR 5-14E, then proceed five more miles until you reach the sand. AREA INFORMATION The location offers 11,000 acres of riding area which is well suited for all types of vehicles. Unlike the coastal Oregon dunes, these dunes are comprised of a combination of pumice and volcanic ash. The dunes are constantly changing in shape and size, but they are mostly low in elevation with some razorback ridges and rolling hills that can reach 60+ feet tall. The area is open year-round, with summer to late fall months being the most popular for visitation. The nearest services are in Christmas Valley (about 25 miles away), so it is suggested that you bring all the supplies you’ll need during your stay. This includes water, food, firewood and something to bring your trash and debris home with you because there is no waste disposal at the site. Be prepared to follow BLM and state rules for off-highway vehicle operation, and make sure you have valid registration and a whip flag on your vehicle.
24. OREGON DUNES NRA Contacts: (541) 271-6000. (541) 902-8526. www.fs.fed.us/r6/siuslaw Location: From Florence, head south toward Coos Bay on Hwy. 101. The dunes stretch all the way to North Bend, with several marked access roads. AREA INFORMATION There are 5,930 acres of open sand and 6,140 acres of designated routes. Class 1, 2 and 3 ATVs are allowed only on designated routes. Highest dunes in North America associated with an ocean. Dunes stretch along the Oregon coast for about 50 miles. The riding area includes open dunes, bowls, marked trail system, and a variety of vegetation including pine trees. Camping is permitted and available anywhere that is at least 200 feet from a paved road, and there are several improved campgrounds with a variety of facilities. Oregon’s off-highway vehicle regulations are strictly enforced and include a 12x8-inch flag on a nine foot pole. Adequate muffler rated at 93 decibels (max), and seat belts, along with a UL approved fire extinguisher, hydraulic brakes for a minimum of two rear wheels, and roll bars are required on open-roof vehicles. There is a fee for day use and camping facilities. Oregon OHV sticker or registration from state of origin required.
25. SAND LAKE RECREATION AREA Contacts: (503) 392-5100. www.fs.fed.us/r6/siuslaw Location: 15 miles south of Tillamook, take Sand Lake Road nine miles west, then go south. AREA INFORMATION Small but popular 1076 acre coastal sand dune riding area. The sand dunes begin at the estuary and extend to the northeast about 3.5 miles. The dunes are surrounded on three sides by a coastal forest and on the west by the Pacific Ocean. Paved camping area, as well as sand camping allowed. There are fees for each street legal vehicle, and a riding permit is required on summer holiday weekends, which is limited to 1200 permits. Purchase your permit in advance, because they do sell out. A 12x8-inch flag nine feet off the ground is required on all vehicles (including street legal vehicles). Sound restrictions on vehicles of 90 decibels (max) is strictly enforced, and OHVs must be registered in the state where you reside. Check website for more information about rules and regulations, especially rules for riders under the age of 16. TEXAS 26. KERMIT SAND HILLS Contacts: (432) 208-1011. www.kermitsandinc.com Location: From Kermit, take Hwy. 115 northeast about ten miles from north junction of FM 874. Call ahead and make arrangements to gain access into the front gate. AREA INFORMATION Kermit Sand Hills are a 100-mile belt of mostly low-rolling sand in Winkler County. The width of the dunes vary from three to 20 miles, and many of the dunes are more than 70 feet tall. Local Texans say the heavy, shifting sands are a natural barrier to travel. OHV enthusiasts would disagree, and say they’re a welcome sight when looking for a place to ride. There is a developed camping area with electric and water hookups located in the Sandhills Park, but there are no restrooms or other facilities at the dunes. Vehicle registration is not required, but headlights and taillights are mandatory at night, and ATV/motorcycle riders should wear eye protection and helmets. There is a fee to use the area.
27. LAKE MEREDITH NATIONAL RECREATION AREA Contacts: (806) 857-3151. www.nps.gov/lamr Location: Two areas; one is Rosita Flats located off U.S. Hwy. 87/287 near the Canadian River Bridge, 16 miles north of Amarillo. The other is Big Blue Creek, located off FM 1913, approximately 40 miles northeast of Amarillo. AREA INFORMATION The Lake Meredith National Recreation Area has several different types of terrain to ride through. Some is sand, others are hard-packed dirt, and there are plenty of areas that will pose a challenge to 4x4 vehicles and motorcycles. The area is open all year and there are sand drag races on occasion during major holiday weekends. Rosita Flats is the most diverse in terrain with 2479 acres. The Big Blue Creek area spans 2646 acres, and it is much drier and has more sand to ride through. Camping in the area is primitive with no facilities. Vehicle registration is required, headlights and taillights are mandatory at night, and ATV/motorcycle riders must wear eye protection and DOT-approved helmets.
28. RED SANDS Contacts: (915) 534-0500. Location: 30 minutes from downtown El Paso, on the east side of town. Take Montana Rd. east to the end of town and you can’t miss the dunes. AREA INFORMATION Red Sands is a ride spot where you will encounter locals with warm Texan personality and hospitality. The dunes themselves are not as large as other areas of the country, but they offer excellent riding opportunities for all sorts of vehicles. Red Sands is also close to hundreds of miles of open desert where off-roading is permitted. The terrain consists of mostly soft sand and brush, with very little rock and cactus. There are no bathrooms, water, or formal facilities on the premises, and there is no designated camping areas. An ATV rental place is also located near the dunes. You should ride safely, and always have registration for the state of origin of the vehicle you are operating.
UTAH 29. CORAL PINK SAND DUNES STATE PARK Contacts: (435) 648-2800. www.stateparks.utah.gov Location: Located about 22 miles northwest of Kanab on Sand Dunes Road. AREA INFORMATION 3500 acres of medium size dunes consisting of soft rust-colored and pink sand. A beautifully scenic area with a mix of barren dunes covered with vegetation, a variety of pine trees and sand trails. Area is located at 6000 feet, so temperatures are mild in summer and cold in winter. The elevation could affect engine jetting, so come prepared. Campground has 21 sites and modern restrooms with showers. There’s also a second camping area about two miles away from the State Park. A full-time camp host is present during the riding season. Utah off-road registration, or registration from state of origin is required. Riders from states with no registration should purchase a Utah registration. Flags required, and anyone under the age of 18 must wear a helmet. Children under the age of 16 must take a test in order to ride at the area, and children under 8 are not allowed to operate an OHV in the park. Keep off the delicate vegetation in the open areas. There is a fee for OHV day use in the park, and there is also a fee for campsites (which includes fees for riding).
30. LITTLE SAHARA RECREATION AREA Contacts: (435) 743-3100. www.utah.com/playgrounds/little_sahara.htm Location: About 115 miles south of Salt Lake City, and 31 miles west of Nephi. AREA INFORMATION 60,000 acres in the park, 40,000 acres open to off-road use. A vast, uncrowded open area consisting of free moving dunes up to 200 feet tall, with the legendary “Sand Mountain” reaching to a height on the vertical face of nearly 700 feet. The area offers everything from small dunes to larger dunes, with vegetation in flat low-lying areas between dunes connected by trails. Three primary campgrounds are located at the area that have flush toilets, water, fire pits and tables. There are other areas as well that offer dispersed primitive camping. Utah off-road registration, or registration from state of origin required. Riders from states with no registration should purchase a Utah registration. Flags required, and anyone under the age of 18 must wear a helmet. Fees are required for each vehicle entering the area. We suggest visiting the website above for more information before visiting this BLM-managed riding area. This location was featured in our January/February 2007 issue.
31. KNOLLS SAND DUNES RECREATION AREA Contacts: (801) 977-4300. www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/fo/salt_lake.html Location: 80 miles west of Salt Lake City on Interstate 80, 40 miles east of Wendover. Take exit 41 and follow signs to Knolls OHV Area. AREA INFORMATION 36,760 acres, of which 9600 are sand. A desert environment with extensive wind flats, small sand knolls, mud flats, and several trails crisscrossing the area. The dunes contain some vegetation. Camping is allowed at the area and there are toilet facilities, but there are no improved camp sites or water. There is a $6 entrance fee to use the area for each passenger vehicle, tow vehicle or self-contained RV. The nearest services are located in Delle and Wendover. A military bombing area is adjacent to the dunes, so don’t trespass. Elevation at Knolls is 4200 feet, and the riding area is open year-round. Same regulations as other Utah recreation sites.
32. SAND HOLLOW STATE PARK Contacts: (435) 680-0715. www.stateparks.utah.gov Location: From I-15 take the Hurricane Exit 16. Travel four miles to Sand Hollow Road and turn right. Go one mile and turn left onto the main park access road. AREA INFORMATION: You can boat and fish on Sand Hollow Reservoir, or ride the dunes. The park encompasses 20,000 acres, 15,000 of which are perfectly sculpted dunes waiting for you to make tracks. ATV riders must wear a helmet, and all vehicles need to have a whip flag for safety and visibility. The only downfall to this area is that you can’t ride your vehicle from the overnight camping area to the dunes. You must transport your machine from to the OHV staging area, which is about two miles away. This area is a zero tolerance location, meaning DUI laws apply and alcohol use while riding in the park is strictly prohibited. Youths between the ages of 8 and 16 years must be certified to legally ride and drive an OHV on public lands.
WASHINGTON 33. MOSES LAKE SAND DUNES Contacts: (509) 754-2011. www.moses-lake.com Location: On Highway I-90, take Exit 174 and follow signs south to ORV area. AREA INFORMATION This Grant County ORV area features a spacious 3000-plus acre park that commonly forms sand dunes with 40 to 50 foot drop offs. Be careful and check dunes before doing any high speed runs. Camping is available at site, but there are no improvements or facilities. Washington residents must have a current state ORV use permit on the vehicle, and all vehicles must have an adequate working USFS spark arrester and muffler. Vehicles from out-of-state must have their state’s ORV permit. No fees for using the riding area, but ORV sticker sales help fund Washington state riding areas, so it’s encouraged that you purchase one if your state does not issue a permit.
WYOMING 34. KILLPECKER SAND DUNES Contacts: (307) 352-0256. www.wy.blm.gov Location: 40 miles north of Rock Springs, approximately. 140 miles southeast of Jackson, off Hwy. 191 and County Road #17. AREA INFORMATION The 10,500 acre Killpecker OHV area is located within The Killpecker Sand Dunes system, which also includes the Greater Sand Dunes Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) which encompass approximately 41,000 acres. Off-highway vehicle recreation is allowed only in the eastern portion of the dune system. The dunes are mostly low, rolling piles of white sand, with the largest dunes rising to a height of about 150 feet. Off-road vehicles are only allowed in certain areas, so be sure to follow the rules and stay in the designated OHV areas. You may camp at the site, but keep in mind there are no facilities or improvements so be sure to bring everything you’ll need, and pack out everything you came with. Currently, there are no fees for camping or using the Killpecker Sand Dunes OHV area. However, you will need a state sticker, which costs $15 and can be purchased at the local motorcycle dealerships in Rock Springs. Also, be aware that the 22-mile road leading into the riding area is very rough.
WARNING: Much of the action depicted in this magazine is potentially dangerous. Virtually all of the riders seen in our photos are experienced experts or professionals. Do not attempt to duplicate any stunts that are beyond your own capabilities. Always wear the appropriate safety gear. Copyright 2008 Hi-Torque Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. Console Login