The biggest OHV open tract of sand in the country, the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area is part of a huge sand sea, more broadly known as the Algodones Dunes, which extend into Mexico. More than 118,000 acres of the fantastic formation, some of which rise to 300 feet tall, are open to off-roaders. The main off-roading area is south of Highway 78 and given the scorching summer temperatures, prime time riding season is between fall and spring.
The most extensive dune field in the Silver State, the Winnemucca Dunes runs nearly 40 miles and boasts a great desert-mountain backdrop. Off-roading is allowed on the majority of this mixture of Bureau of Land Management land and private land.
The Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area lies within the largest coastal dune sheet in the U.S., which lines the Pacific margin along the Beaver State’s central and southern shore. Here you can find striking sand barrens interweave with pockets of temperate rainforest, offering a unique landscape for dune-ready ATV and UTV riders. During the summer, fog is common which often reduces visibility, but enhances the overall maritime atmosphere.
Gleaming quartz grains heaped up to 400 feet high draw four-wheeler and side-by-side riders to the St. Anthony Sand Dunes, also known as the Idaho Dunes. Among the defining features are the spectacularly steep Choke Cherry Dune and the nearby Dead Horse Bowl.
At roughly 2,000 acres, the Hot Well Dunes is not a large sand-riding area in size, but it is a fun one. It has one major dune with numerous peripheral sand tracks and tubs fed from the hot artesian wells that make for a great post-ride soak.
About 60,000 acres of open dunes mixed with sagebrush and juniper define this outstanding Bureau of Land Management area in central Utah’s Sevier Desert. The plentiful sand, which comes sourced from the vanished Pleistocene Lake Bonneville, provides some of the best dune-riding in the Intermountain West. Popular areas include the well-developed and varied trails of Black Mountain and the low-slung, beginner-friendly dunes south of it, but the pinnacle is Sand Mountain: a 700-foot-tall dune posing an alluring challenge to even experienced riders.
Nearly 1,600 acres of sand dunes, derived from ancient deposits of the Cimarron River, offer some of the best ridings in the central U.S., at the aptly named Little Sahara State Park. While the dunes top out around 75 feet, this site offers an extensive playground for ATV, UTV, and dune buggy.
The only sand dunes east of the Mississippi River open to off-road vehicles await at Silver Lake State Park along Lake Michigan. There is a 450-acre off-road scramble area with quite the stunning backdrop.