WHERE TO RIDE: SAND HOLLOW STATE PARK

— Off-road wonderland in Hurricane, Utah —

By the staff of Dirt Wheels

Here you see Sand Hollow’s red sand transitioning to slick rock with the lake in the background and some desert routes beyond that.

Many of us live in states that seem driven to limit or even fully eliminate off-road recreation. In light of that, it is satisfying and rewarding to visit Utah and experience a state park teamed with BLM land like Sand Hollow. Sand Hollow is not far from the state’s southern and western borders and likewise relatively close to Zion National Park. You’ll find the typical yet spectacular southern Utah red rock inside the park, as well as be surrounded by it in every direction. With a total of 20,000 acres, there is plenty to experience. Just over 1300 acres are water for boating and other water sports, and 6000 acres are available for OHV use. With a mix of state and BLM land, Sand Hollow was opened to the public in 2003, and it has become a major draw for off-roaders.

You are allowed to drive right to the water’s edge. Naturally, this is dependent on the quantity of beach-goers littering this area. On a Monday we had the sand to ourselves

This park is equally famed for the red sand dunes and the highly technical slick-rock trails. There is a great deal of dune area, but it isn’t all just one big sandbox. The sand areas are divided by incredible rock formations in the upper areas and bounded by the blue man-made lake at the lower edges. You are free to drive or ride the rocks in the OHV area, but there are some named, marked and designated routes. Some are just shy of insanity.

In addition to the sand and the rocks, there are some desert routes that allow you to build more mileage. Even though they are well-traveled, we haven’t seen many people on them.

This day-use parking area is close to the water and to off-road trails. It has nice bathrooms with showers.

One of the draws of Sand Hollow is a wide range of activities. If the whole family can’t deal with days of off-roading, the Beach at Sand Hollow (BASH: www.thebeachatsandhollow.com) is the park store and rental agency, with food, ice cream, and off-road and boating equipment for sale and rent. For all of your recreational needs, BASH has kayaks, paddleboards, boats and watercraft rentals. In addition, BASH has ATV and UTV rentals and conducts ATV tours.

Near the red sand is plenty of red sandstone that is gradually taking eons to return to being sand. It makes for fun and challenging driving.

Sand Hollow has restrooms with showers, an RV dump station, some paved and more improved parking, and a boat ramp. There is an RV park, plus more primitive remote RV parking closer to the off-roading areas. As you might expect, the park is open year round. From April through September, the summer gate hours are from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Those camping are welcome to stay but cannot leave or have anyone come in outside of those hours. We have missed the 10 p.m. deadline before and had to find a place to sleep outside the park. During the winter season, the hours shorten to 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The park has a variety of rules, but they all make sense. Unlike California, helmets are not required for adults, and unfortunately helmet use is minimal.

Day use is $15 per vehicle up to eight people, but for those over 62 years of age, the cost is $10 per vehicle. You can walk in for $5 a person. An annual pass is available for $75 or $35 for seniors. There are group rates as well. Both campgrounds have fire pits, tables and access to restrooms with showers.

This tunnel separates the general area from the OHV area. Be careful of your required whip antenna. We broke one off. Note the whip drag marks on the ceiling.

The Westside campground has full hook-ups for $38 per night with a limit of two vehicles per site. Extra vehicle fees apply to a second vehicle. The sandpit campground has three different site types and prices. Sites with no hook-ups run for $28 per night. Sites with water and electric are $35 per night. The primitive camping area is $25 per vehicle, but there are no facilities.

The sandpit campground has three levels of accommodations, ranging from primitive camping to partial hook-ups. You can ride/drive off-road right from these sites.

Sandpit campground group sites have no hook-ups, but they are $95. That covers the first four vehicles. The limit is 16 vehicles per site, but the extra vehicle fee applies for vehicles 5 through 16. Though it doesn’t affect that many people, be aware that a $15 five-day permit is required to fly a drone in the park.

If you are not a camper, there are numerous local hotels and even more in nearby St. George, Utah.

Contact information: Sand Hollow State Park (435) 680-0715, https://stateparks.utah.gov/parks/sand-hollow/3351 South Sand Hollow RoadHurricane, UT 84737

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