Here we go again, bringing you another set of our favorite riding spots throughout the United States! Last time we took a good look at some of your favorite places to ride in the southern states. Now it’s time to take our talents out west and highlight some of your favorite locations in that region. Shoutout to our Facebook and Instagram followers for helping us compile this list!
The Western US is like a goldmine when it comes to off-road sanctuaries, so of course this isn’t an all-inclusive list. But we think it’s a pretty dang good start if you’ve never ridden out west and are curious what that side of the country has to offer. So read on and let us know if there are any other western gems that are worth checking out!
The Dumont Dunes are located about 40 miles north of Baker, California. The park encompasses over 8,000 acres of public land. It’s mostly made up of sand dunes, but you’ll find some rocky areas and water crossings as well. Let’s be real, though—if you’re planning a trip to Dumont, you’re in it for the dunes. Sand dune enthusiasts will find themselves challenged by the big bowls, steep climbs, and flowing transitions.
The remote location of this park makes it the perfect destination for people who want to focus on riding and nothing else. While nearby towns have plenty of comfortable amenities, they’re all a decent drive away. But if you’re looking for a nature-filled getaway, pitch a tent anywhere in the park and connect with the dunes in a way you can’t do anywhere else. There’s plenty of wide-open sand riding if you don’t want to stick to a path, but you’ll also find a scenic tour route with trail markers if you’re in it for the sights and wildlife.
Can you handle the heat?! That’s a great question to ask yourself while planning your visit. Temperatures soar up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer. If you’re looking for something a little more comfortable, check out the dunes in the winter, when highs are usually in the 70s. And true to desert form, no matter when you go, you’ll experience frequent strong winds and low humidity.
|STYLE:||As its name suggests, Dumont Dunes is home to miles of dunes. You’ll find steep hills and jumps of all sizes, along with some rocks and water crossings.|
ATVs, UTVs, dune buggies, sand rails, and motorcycles are welcome to enjoy the open-desert riding.
|COST:||• Weekly pass = $30 regular / $40 with holidays|
• Season pass = $90 regular / $120 with holidays
The season runs from October 1 through September 30.
Holidays include the weeks of Halloween, Thanksgiving, New Years, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and Presidents’ Day.
|EXPERIENCE LEVEL:||There are dunes of all sizes, making Dumont Dunes perfect for riders of all experience levels. The main dunes are tall and steep, requiring sand tires, lots of horsepower, and a good deal of experience. The smaller ones, however, are perfect for beginners and don’t require specialized equipment.|
|OPEN:||The park is open all year long with the exception of Christmas week.|
|ACCOMMODATIONS:||Camping is permitted anywhere in the dunes, but you are limited to a maximum of 14 consecutive days.|
Campsites are available on a “first come, first served” basis and there is no additional charge once you have purchased your park pass.
Please note that campfire permits are required if you want to utilize a campfire, propane stove, lantern, or open-flame grill. Click here to purchase permits.
|AMENITIES:||There aren’t many amenities located in the park itself (aside from a few restrooms), so make sure to come prepared with all you might need for a full day of riding. Cell service in many parts of the park is very limited—all the more reason to think ahead, come prepared, and travel in groups!|
Food, fuel, and basic necessities can be found in the nearby cities of Baker, Shoshone, and Pahrump.
|GOOD EATS:||• Los Dos Toritos: This authentic Mexican restaurant is family owned and operated. Patrons come back again and again thanks to the freshly-made guacamole and famous nachos!|
○ Price = $
• The Mad Greek Café: As the name suggests, this place serves delicious Greek cuisine in a quaint, relaxed atmosphere. Customers love the interesting Greek decor!
○ Price = $
• Marketplace 15: Here you’ll find Korean food, noodles, and a sushi bar all freshly made to order. With indoor games and a relaxed atmosphere, you’ll want to stay for hours.
○ Price = $$
Dumont Dunes is pretty isolated from most of civilization, so you’ll have to drive a bit to get to any of these restaurants. All are located in Baker, California, which is about 40 miles south of the park.
|EVENTS:|| There aren’t many scheduled events throughout the year. Holiday weeks will bring about slightly higher prices and an influx of visitors, which is great if you’re in it for the social aspect of riding.|
The only other thing on the Dumont Dune Riders event calendar is an annual cleanup event that takes place every spring. It’s a great opportunity for riders to come together and beautify the dunes!
The Imperial Sand Dunes in Southeastern California (better known as Glamis) is one of the hottest dune spots in the country. If you’ve got an itchin’ for some dunes, this 118,000-acre ocean of sand in southern California just can’t be beat. You’ll find a wide variety of challenges—some dunes are small enough for newbie riders and others measure over 300 feet above the desert floor.
As with any dune experience, you’ll largely find free-form fun here. You don’t follow trails or markers, but there are landmarks you’ll want to keep an eye out for. Sights like Oldsmobile Hill and the Ceiling Hill provide awesome ascents, technical routes, and breathtaking vistas. And some of those views might look familiar—the Imperial Sand Dunes have been used as a filming location for several movies, including Star Wars and The Scorpion King!
Glamis is home to one major off-road event each year, and that’s Camp RZR. This event, organized by Polaris, is packed with vehicle demos, giveaways, and entertainment. It’s definitely one you don’t want to miss!
The dunes extend for over 40 miles at an average of 5 miles wide. It’s one of the largest masses of sand dunes in the country!
|STYLE:||The endless miles of sand are perfect for dune riding. More than two-thirds of the sand dunes are open to off-road vehicles. Other areas are closed off to vehicles, making it perfect for sightseeing by foot or on horseback.|
|COST:||• Weekly permits = $35 in advanced / $50 on site |
• Seasonal permits = $150
|EXPERIENCE LEVEL:||These dunes are appropriate for riders of all experience levels, as long as you stick to what you know. The large, steep dunes should be avoided by everyone except for the most experienced riders.|
As with dune riding anywhere, it’s imperative that you have a flag on your machine and keep an eye out for other rider’s flags. It’s all too easy to collide coming over the top of a dune if you’re not careful.
|OPEN:||The dunes are open to riders daily from October 1 through April 15. (Trust us—you don’t want to ride during the off season. Way too hot.)|
|ACCOMMODATIONS:||Dry camping is a big part of the Glamis experience! If you want to stay on site, make sure to come prepared with a generous water supply and generator (if you’re bringing an RV). Camping spots are available on a “first come, first served” basis.|
If you’re looking for lodging options that offer a little more than the bare minimum, don’t worry! There are plenty of rental companies located in and around Glamis.
Companies like Camp ‘N Style will even deliver a fully stocked RV directly to your camp site for anywhere from $378 to $2,632, depending on the size of the camper and the length of your stay.
|AMENITIES:||• Public restrooms and telephones are located throughout the park|
• Ranger Station is open 8:30 AM-5:00 PM daily
○ Maps and brochures
○ First-aid station
○ Emergency assistance
|GOOD EATS:||• Archie’s Place: This community hangout serves authentic Mexican food at a low price. It’s family owned with fun, quirky decor. The homemade salsa is reason enough to make the trip!|
○ Price = $
• Boardmanville Trading Post: Opened in 1968, this place is a neighborhood favorite. They’ve got delicious food, cold drinks, and foosball tables. What more could you want?
○ Price = $
• Inferno: If you’re in the mood for wood-fired pizza, gourmet burgers, or refreshing adult beverages, this place is for you. It helps that the staff is so friendly and personable, too.
○ Price = $$
Glamis is huge and very isolated, so you’ll have to drive quite a bit (about an hour) to get to any restaurant. These are just a few options in three different directions from the park—perfect for stopping on your way there or after a full weekend of riding!
|EVENTS:||Glamis is home to one of the largest off-road events: Camp RZR, hosted every year by Polaris themselves. It’s a weekend full of free demo rides, autograph sessions, prize giveaways, and entertainment. The 2019 event even included a few Nitro Circus shows!|
Moab may very well be the Holy Grail of ride spots. It’s home to countless trails, the likes of which you’ve never seen anywhere else. No matter where you go, you’re guaranteed to be rewarded with incredible views and memorable experiences.
From the endless rolling sandstone to the natural, crater-like hot tubs (some of which are 50 feet across!), most areas have an almost alien-like appearance. And the entire landscape is cut into dramatic cliffs and bluffs by eons of erosion from the Colorado River, only adding to Moab’s beauty.
You won’t find off-road trails like these anywhere else in the world. Moab truly is one of a kind, and something that every rider should experience at least once in their lifetime. Whether you’re there for the technical rock crawls, the high-speed desert rides, or the gorgeous views, you won’t be disappointed.
The best part? The convenience! As long as you have the right gear, UTVs are street legal in town, making it all too easy to stock up in town and then hit the trails for a day full of adventure and surreal views.
|SIZE:||Hundreds of miles of trails|
|STYLE:||Moab offers sandstone, rock crawling, and beautiful vistas. There are even some short-course tracks for the most experienced riders to show off on.|
|COST:||• Daily permit = $30/vehicle|
|EXPERIENCE LEVEL:||Trails vary from very easy to very difficult.|
Don’t attempt the hard stuff without the right gear and the right amount of experience, but we will note that the best views are found on the most difficult trails.
|OPEN:||The trails in Moab are open 365 days a year.|
|ACCOMMODATIONS:||Moab is one of the hottest off-roading destinations in the entire country, so suffice it to say there are more camping and lodging options than we can list here.|
Click here and then go to the “Lodging + Campgrounds” tab to see what’s available! From primitive camping to hotels to high-end resorts, there’s something for every budget and preference.
|AMENITIES:||Again, Moab is such a large and popular place that you can find pretty much any amenity and attraction just a short drive away. Some of the local services include:|
• Group tours
• RV dump stations
• Shower facilities
• Movie theaters
The Moab Information Center should be your first stop upon arriving. It’s conveniently located in the city’s center and the staff there can give you more information on any of these amenities, plus more. They also have a gift shop and free WiFi!
|GOOD EATS:||• Hidden Cuisine: This restaurant’s South African chef brings unique and original food and wine selections to the Moab area. It’s a hidden gem for tourists and a favorite for the locals.|
○ Price = $$
• Jailhouse Café: Fuel up with a hearty breakfast before spending a full day on the trails! This small restaurant serves up big flavor until noon each day.
○ Price = $
• Quesadilla Mobilla: This food truck, located in downtown Moab, is inspired by the owners’ love of the great outdoors and is ranked #1 in the area on many travel sites. Stop by and see why!
○ Price = $
Your drive time to each of these restaurants depends on where in Moab you’re riding. No matter which trails you pick, you’re never too far from delicious food!
|EVENTS:||Rally on the Rocks is one of the most highly-anticipated events on our calendar each year! This week-long event brings together rock lovers from all over and gives them the opportunity to do what they love in one of the most beautiful places in the world. The week is full of daily guided group rides, free dinners (included with event admission), and raffles and giveaways. It truly is a memorable experience. Come on a guided tour with us and see for yourself!|
As far as the rest of the year goes, there’s always something going on in Moab. Hiking, concerts, marathons, rodeos—the list goes on and on. Click here to see what’s going on in Moab at any point during the year.
The Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area (SVRA) is located near Borrego Springs, California, extending into both San Diego and Imperial Counties. It boasts 85,000 acres of wide-open desert landscapes, perfect for off-road enthusiasts who appreciate challenging sand dunes and stunning natural views. With free camping available nearly anywhere throughout the park, you’ll never have to leave—and with so much to do, you won’t have to. When you need a break from riding, there’s always hiking, biking, geocaching, and sightseeing!
Speaking of seeing the sights, Ocotillo Wells is full of them. In addition to the miles of sand dunes, you’ll see tons of other interesting and unique landmarks. Barrel Springs is full of mesquite sand dunes with springs seeping from the ground. Shell Reef is made of fragments of fossilized oyster shells and is estimated to be 4 million years old! The Gas Domes area has countless mysterious waterholes that are constantly producing gas bubbles. And Devil’s Slide even has some old abandoned mines that are said to be haunted—a must-see if you’re into spooky stuff!
Ocotillo Wells is an extremely popular attraction and some of the more favored sections of the park tend to get crowded on the weekends. But with so much space and virtually unlimited camping spots, you have the option to be social and hang around the densely populated spots, or stake your claim in a more quiet and remote area. No matter what kind of mood you’re in, this is the destination for you.
|STYLE:||Ocotillo Wells is made of wide-open desert landscapes that are open to off-highway exploration. You’ll find plenty of sand dunes, along with some other interesting sights, including springs, reefs, and waterholes.|
|COST:||Free! No fees are collected for camping or day use.|
|EXPERIENCE LEVEL:||Like any good off-road destination, the park offers something for everyone.|
Elevation at Ocotillo Wells ranges from 176 feet below sea level to 790 feet above sea level. The varied elevation, along with the extreme terrain and intense climate, provide a good challenge for the more experienced riders.
Smaller, more tame dunes are perfect for riders without specialized vehicles or those who are new to the sand dune scene.
There is even a youth track for the young ones to practice on! The Soens Youth Track allows riders 12 and younger to practice in a fenced enclosure lined with hay bales, as long as they are running on a 70cc or less engine.
|OPEN:||Seven days a week, 24 hours a day|
|ACCOMMODATIONS:||Open camping is permitted in certain areas throughout the park for up to 30 days per calendar year.|
|AMENITIES:||The following amenities are located in the Quarry, Main Street, and Holmes Camp areas:|
• Vault toilets
• Shaded rest areas
• Picnic tables
• Fire rings
• Pay showers (25 cents per minute)
NOTE: Water is not available, so bring your own if you’re camping!
The following amenities can be found in the nearby communities of Borrego Springs, Ocotillo Wells, and Salton City:
• Vehicle repair shops
• Public telephones
• Grocery stores
• Gas stations
• RV parks
• Shops and restaurants
|GOOD EATS:||• Carlee’s Place: This place serves gourmet pub-style food in a casual atmosphere. Stop by and see why they say, “It’s always cooler at Carlee’s!”|
○ Price = $$
○ Drive time = 25 minutes
• Kendall’s Cafe: If friendly service and delicious home-style cuisine is your thing, this is the place for you. They’re open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so stop by anytime!
○ Price = $
○ Drive time = 25 minutes
• Red Ocotillo: This restaurant serves traditional American fare made with fresh ingredients from their garden, located on site. And our favorite part? They’re pet friendly!
○ Price = $$
○ Drive time = 25 minutes
|EVENTS:||Several off-road and nature-related events take place at Ocotillo Wells throughout the year. There’s almost always something special going on, and the OWSVRA Facebook page will keep you updated.|
Events include group rides, desert cleanups, holiday parties, and day camps for kids.
Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area (casually referred to as Coos Bay) is actually a series of three dune areas along a 40-mile stretch of the Oregon coast between Coos Bay and Florence. This area features towering coastal dunes like nothing you’ve ever seen before. Some reach up to 500 feet above sea level—talk about a daunting dune! The park offers coastal dunes, cool air, and lots of trees. It’s a dune park you can visit any time of the year when you feel like traveling off the beaten path and connecting with nature.
Its proximity to the Pacific Ocean keeps the area cool all year round and it’s right off the 101, meaning it’s easy to get to for anyone living along the West Coast. The cool temperatures attract a flood of visitors in the summer for DuneFest and UTV Takeover.
One of the cool things about the Oregon Dunes is that it has so many primitive camping spots right on the property. It’s the perfect environment for a real “back to nature” adventure. And speaking of adventure, the dunes are flanked on one side by the ocean and the other by endless acres of forests, so there’s plenty to explore if you’re the outdoorsy type. If you’re looking to get away and just ride, these dunes are perfect for you.
|STYLE:||The park offers dunes, dunes, and more dunes. There are some opportunities for trail and beach riding, as well.|
Click here for a list of access points for open-area dune riding.
Click here for a list of access points for trail riding.
|COST:||Riding at Oregon Dunes requires you to purchase both a forest pass and an Oregon OHV permit.|
Pass prices vary depending on where and when you plan to visit. Reduced prices are available for senior citizens and disabled visitors. Click here for more information.
|EXPERIENCE LEVEL:||There is something for everyone! The diverse landscape offers challenges for everyone from beginners to experts.|
|OPEN:||Many areas of the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area are open to the public all year long.|
Sometimes access to certain areas may be limited due to maintenance work or wildlife needs. For example, beach access is limited from March 15-September 15 in observance of the Western Snowy Plover nesting season.
Click here for updated information on park closures.
|ACCOMMODATIONS:||The park has nearly 40 developed campgrounds, offering everything from primitive camping spots to RV sites, some of which have electric hookups.|
Click here for more information on pricing and reservations.
|AMENITIES:||The Oregon Dunes offers a wide variety of outdoor activities, so whether you’re wanting to ride for days or try out several different hobbies, you’ll stay busy the entire time.|
• Bird watching
• Picnic spots
• Scenic overlooks
The Recreation Page of the USDA Forest Service’s website has more information on nearby amenities.
|GOOD EATS:||• 7 Devils Brewing Co.: While the hand-crafted ales are the main attraction for this place, they also serve a delicious selection of pub-style cuisine. There’s a kids’ menu too, so you’ll find something for the whole family!|
○ Price = $
• Blue Heron Bistro: This small-town restaurant serves traditional German cuisine, fresh seafood, and more. It’s all made from scratch using locally-sourced ingredients.
○ Price = $$
• Little Italy: The mission of the Italian family who owns and runs this restaurant is to make you feel at home while treating you to the best Italian food along the Oregon coast.
○ Price = $$
Like many off-road destinations in the West, the Oregon Dunes cover a pretty huge part of the Coos Bay area. Drive time to each of these restaurants will vary depending on where you choose to ride.
|EVENTS:||UTV Takeover happens every summer in Coos Bay, and it’s one of our favorite events of the year! This event is jam-packed with drag races, new machine demo rides, raffles, music, treasure hunts, night rides, and more. Come hang out with us if you’re in the area!|
All prices and information reflect what was posted as of 2/26/2020. For the most accurate and up-to-date information, be sure to check the park’s website while planning your visit.
Updated by Megan Huber on 2/26/2020.