Little Sahara Sand Dunes

The Little Sahara sand dunes cover much of the territory that is known as the Little Sahara Recreation Area. Found in central Utah, this area also features sagebrush flats, and plenty of hills that add to the overall landscape. The dunes themselves are the main attraction, and most of the people that they attract enjoy ATV riding. It is possible to take a dune buggy or any other number of 4x4 contraptions out on the sand for a spin, and you don't have to be a seasoned vet to enjoy such a pursuit.

The Little Sahara Recreation Area more specifically calls Utah's Sevier Desert home. Formed over the course of many years, it owes a lot of its creation to the ancient Sevier River. This river once flowed into prehistoric Lake Bonneville, and over time it formed a sizeable river delta region. Subsequent to the virtual disappearance of these bodies of water, the sandy terrain that was left behind was formed into dunes by desert winds. The winds continue to cause the Little Sahara sand dunes to shift several feet on an annual basis, so the area is always a work in progress. Lake Bonneville also played a role in creating some of state's other natural wonders, including the Great Salt Lake and the Bonneville Salt Flats.

The Little Sahara Recreation Area is exactly what its name implies. Recreational pursuits are what draw visitors in, with the options for things to do including ATV riding, hiking, and camping. The area covers almost 60,000 acres, so there is plenty of terrain to explore. Some portions get more attention than others in the ATV world, and they include Sand Mountain and White Sands Dunes. Sand Mountain rises some 700 feet, and it presents an especially challenging obstacle for hill climbing enthusiasts. In the White Sands Dunes area, riders of all abilities can take on dunes and bowls alike. For hikers and general sightseers, there are some areas of the park that are vehicle-free.

Camping is something that many people look to do on Utah vacations, and it's easy to understand why. The great outdoors impresses on so many levels in this Western state, and there are numerous campgrounds that provide places to rest in some of the most dazzling spots. For visitors to the Little Sahara Recreation Area, there are several campgrounds to select from. The Oasis Campground is the most complete in the land. It offers 114 individual campsites, some of which are paved for RVs and other vehicles, and guests enjoy easy access to some dunes.

The White Sands Campground is another popular place to spend a night or more at the Little Sahara Recreation Area, partly because of its access to dunes. During holiday weekends especially, the Sand Mountain area features a camping area that tends to cater to the party crowd on holiday weekends especially. Rounding out the campgrounds that can be found in the Little Sahara Sand Dunes area is the Jericho Campground. It caters well to large groups and is essentially an overflow area. Dispersed camping can also be enjoyed throughout the area for those who prefer.

A recreation permit fee applies for the Little Sahara Recreation Area, and those who live in the area might be happy to know that special annual permits can be purchased. Either way, the fee includes use of the area's facilities, including its campgrounds. The normal permits expire at dusk the day after they are purchased.

As for other things that visitors to this sand dunes Utah expanse might take note of, the Willard R. Fullmer Visitors Center is open year round, while the campgrounds are only available during frost-free months. Also, communities that provide things such as hotels, groceries, and gas are found close to the Little Sahara Recreation Area. They include Delta, Ephraim, and Nephi. Salt Lake City is situated northeast of the Little Sahara Recreation Area. The drive from the park entrance to the Utah capital takes about two hours.

Image: El Frito (flickr)

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