Utah’s combination dune and rock-crawling mecca
— Utah’s Sand Hollow State Park has the distinction of having a large dune system and sandstone formations that’re perfect for OHV rock crawling. During a recent trip there we were especially impressed with this little-known OHV area. Moab is Utah’s most famous rock crawling mecca, and most duners head to Coral Pink. Sand Hollow State Park is not far from the Coral Pink Sand Dunes and is south of the Zion National Forest and Park, just 15 miles away from St. George, Utah. This new state park has primitive camping, improved sites and RV sites with full hook-ups, and it’s open year round. There’s even a small reservoir in the park for cooling off on personal watercraft after a summer ride through the dunes, desert and ancient rock formations.
Built in 2005, Sand Hollow has access to 15,000 acres of OHV prime real estate including Sand Mountain, and the land is being transferred from BLM to Utah State Parks. Day use fees are $7, and primitive camping is $9 a night. OHV access to Sand Mountain is via the primitive camping area, and there’s a new day-use parking lot and staging area complete with a tunnel for OHVs under the park access road. There’s also a 50-site RV campground with 50-amp electrical hookups plus water, sewage and an RV dump station. Fees for RVs are $21 per night, but there’s no direct access to the OHV area from the RV campground.
Soft red sand forms the dunes, and the consistency is more like flour or silt than beach sand. It saps power and is harder to get on top of, so paddles are a really good idea for the steep dunes. However, if you plan on rock crawling, too, lowering the pressure in stock or mud tires to 5-6 psi will help flotation. There are also sandwashes to rip around in and high-desert terrain. Altitude at the park headquarters is 3014 feet.
Sandstone rock formations provide a great view and challenge. This natural stone house should have a boom box blaring out the theme to The Flintstones. Willmmmaaaaa!
RENTALS AND TOURS
Utah is a state big on tourism, and there is a lot private land open for OHVs in the Zion National Park area. UTV and ATV tour and rental companies are abundant in St. George. Premiere Recreation rents UTVs for $159 a day and ATVs for $105 to $125 per day. They also have guided tours, usually two- or four-hour, that start at $90 per person. That includes the ATV, delivery and the tour itself. If you’ve never been in the area, a guided tour is a great way to learn about the area, especially if you use GPS and mark waypoints at trailheads, intersections and points of interest.
There are also companies that operate aerial tours, ATV, Jeep tours and dune buggy tours, whitewater rafting, mountain bike tours and resorts nearby. ATV and Jeep Wilderness Tours has two- to six-hour tours in the Hurricane Sands/Sand Hollow area, and they even have helmets and gear. Red Rock Rails puts on guided two- and four-hour dune buggy tours. Log onto www.utah.com for a list of resorts in the area and to reserve campgrounds in Sand Hollow State Park.
Or you can explore the area on your own by map or GPS or tag along with local UTV, ATV or dirt bike riders. As you can see by the photos, it’s a scenic OHV hotspot with a lot of variety. You can find out more at www.duneguide.com or by calling the companies below.
From St. George, go north on I-15 to Hwy 9/Harrisburg Junction exit. Go east to Hurricane and turn south on Turf Sod Road. Go one mile to San Hollow access road. Park headquarters is at N37-09-719 W113-23-308.
Sand Hollow State Park Hurricane, UT ph. (800) 322-3770
UTV/ATV RENTALS & TOURS
ATV & Jeep Wilderness Tours Hurricane, UT ph. (888) 656-2887
Premiere Recreation Club
640 E. St. George Blvd. St. George, UT 84770 ph. (435) 656-2686
Torque Motorsports Rentals
112 W. State St. Hurricane, UT 84737 ph. (435) 635-9001
Red Rock Rails
291 N. Main St. Leeds, UT 84746 ph. (435) 879-8827
Zion Country Action Tours
ph. (888) 848-9228