Get your sandy fix without having to fight the crowds of Great Sand Dunes National Park at the North Sand Hills Recreation Management Area.

Take a ride on the wild side as you explore 300 acres of open sand against a backdrop of granite, offering an incredible mountain setting for off-highway vehicle (OHV) enthusiasts – including full-size vehicles, sand rail riders, razors, custom-built sand rails, dirt bikes, ATV’s, and dune buggies. It’s the only open sand dune area in the state for OHV recreation. Be aware of when and where you’re allowed take off-road vehicles at the space prior to starting the engine – restrictions do apply.

OHV recreation isn’t the only kind of adventure found here. It’s also a prime spot for viewing wildlife and catching views of Park and Medicine Bow Mountain Ranges.

There are a number of trails located between the two main dunes, which offers a connection to a national forest to the north. The North Sand Hills consists of large flat sandy areas, small dunes, and even bowls. For extreme hill climbs, pay a visit to the eastern side of the dunes.

North Sand Hills Recreation Area. Photo Credit: Liz Chavez, (Facebook)
North Sand Hills Recreation Area. Photo Credit: Liz Chavez, (Facebook)

This outdoor playground, often known as the Walden Sand Dunes, is located in Jackson County, just 11 miles northeast of Walden (close to the border of Wyoming). To get there from Walden, take Highway 125 north for about 10 miles before turning right onto County Road 6 for about 3.5 miles. From there, you’ll hang another right onto county road 6N, where you’ll continue for about 2 miles before reaching the dunes. Here’s a look at where it’s located on the map.

Editor’s Note: Before visiting, here are a few things to know first. All off-highway vehicles (OHVs) operated on public lands or trails throughout the state must be registered. Second, the area is closed annually to motorized use from December 15 to April 15. If visiting, plan to carry at least 1 gallon of water per person. There are no fees and camping is allowed. For more details, click here.

While tracking down this sandy destination, please remember to follow the core principles of Leave No Trace.  Always leave what you find. Pack it in, pack it out. Respect wildlife and be considerate of other adventurers. Let’s keep it wild and have fun out there!

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