Should St Anthony Sand Dunes Be on the Sport UTV Bucket List?
January 2018: We and our riding friends were starting to plan out our main UTV riding trips for the year. Nowadays the major campgrounds need reservations months in advance. You need to do this while sitting in your PJ’s sipping coffee and watching it snow 6”.
We all live in Salt Lake City, so we have an incredible amount of riding within this state. In fact, it is on most riders’ bucket list. Including the state making it into every off-road magazine – telling the world to come over and visit, I wish they would stop telling everyone.
Our friends, Pat & Laurie, have a 2017 Polaris XPT 2-seater. We bought ours at the same time during the winter of 2017-18. We built our turbos just the way we wanted. The sand machines were born, and man we could not wait to go riding!
We bought the yearly pass to our local sand dunes that spring – Little Sahara down by Delta, Utah. It takes 1 hour and 45 minutes to get there from Salt Lake City, so we go on day rides all the time.
Come back to sleep in our own beds after a long hard run!
I have been going to Little Sahara since I was 13 years old. My dad used to take me with him on Easter weekend to watch his friend Al drag race in the sand – back when they used to have them on the Easter weekend.
They say the sand moves every year, but Sand Mountain looks the same now as it used to back in 1975!
For the last three years, Pat and I have been riding our sand dunes on a regular basis and getting to know the lay of the land pretty well. In fact, Pat was the one who cost me a lot of $$ he was nice enough to let me take my wife Jackie and I to test drive his 2015 Polaris XP1000 we were hooked.
We have got to know where the biggest and smoothest sand bowls are, and with these new Polaris’s we can be from one end to the other pretty fast.
We made our plans to head to the sand dunes in St Anthony, Idaho – the destination sand dunes. We were more than excited to go check out the lay of the land and experience for ourselves what the magazines and all the social posts were raving about.
My brother-in-law Tim was the first person I heard coin the phrase “Check out the lay of the land” & I have used it ever since.
June 1st, we headed up to Idaho. It had been raining up there for three days straight, and as we drove within 30 miles of the dunes, we were caught in a heavy rainstorm. You could hardly see over to the mountains. Visibility was way down, so as we were driving over we did not see the dunes until we were almost to the entrance of Idaho Dunes RV Park! We made it.
We love how wide the entrance is and the camping spots areas we get set up in our RV spot, and there is plenty of room to store our trailer for the RZR XPT.
It is still raining, so we just get all settled in and choose not to go riding in the rain. Some of the more adventurous groups went riding, but I figured that is why we brought the 5th wheel – to stay out of the rain.
Saturday morning is absolutely gorgeous – not a cloud in the sky and I can tell the sand dunes are calling.
There is a little trailer that cooks breakfast in our RV Park, so we decide that is the way to go this morning. We are her first customers – early risers.smile
We load up and buckle in… Here we go out to the sand dunes for the first time and this is going to be great. Not sure where we are heading so we take a right and play in the small dunes, and end up at the campground on the top end. These dunes are smooth and easy transitions. After checking out the campground, off we go to check out the large dunes we had heard and read all about!
We arrive at Choke Cherry Hill, and there is only one other group at the bottom. We chat with them for a minute and find out they have lived up there all their lives, so they give us some pointers on where to go from this point.
At this time, we drop the girls off at the bottom of the hill and we both go for it up Choke Cherry. I found out quickly that low gear was not how I should attempt this hill, surprised so I turn around ¾ the way up and head down to the bottom.
Pat takes the hill with no problem and onto the top, he goes. I shift into high gear and head up the hill – this time making it to the top, but not with a whole lot of speed.
After picking up Laurie and Jackie we go play in the big dunes – up and down we go, just having a blast! We end up at the last part of the dunes called Devil’s Dune – this is a hill that is big, smooth and fast. When we get to the top turning left, we start picking up speed and end up topping out the Polaris XPT at 80 Mph… What a rush!
Then we come back heading toward the campground and get to Lake Egin. This is incredible scenery – it is like a mirage, but only real.
The dunes are creamy-white sand with the smoothest transitions at the bottom, so you don’t bottom out like we are used to back home at Little Sahara.
The surroundings are just beautiful hills on the outskirts. And Lake Egin with green trees and shrubs along with lots of green farms surrounding most of the dune area.
For the next two days, we have the time of our lives and enjoy the trips over to St Anthony for a meal or two.
The temperature was perfect and already the wife is talking about our trip up there next year.
Not until we go back to our own sand dunes is when we realize how much different the two dune areas are.
I do not want to say bad things about little Sahara, but now we know what is out there to compare the two. St Anthony wins hands down.
We have not been to many other sand dunes other than Sand Hollow in southern Utah. But, I will have to say my love for sand dune riding at St. Anthony should be on any dune rider’s bucket list.
It might not be until you get home and have time to think about how great they were, that you will be wanting to make it a yearly adventure – at least we want to.
Thanks again for taking the ride with me, and hope to talk about the next adventure. Until then, my recommendation is to put St. Anthony dunes on your bucket list now!
Owner of UTV Service specializing in shocks and suspension.
I have always loved making cars and now UTV’s run and handle there best. I do not believe in taking short cuts and when something comes along that does not fit my values I will not sell or back that product.
Business owner for over 35 years. 3-Time Nascar short track champion at our local race track Rocky Mountain Raceway in Salt Lake City, Utah
2017 Polaris XPT 2-Seat Turbo-Current
2015 Polaris XP1000 -Sold
2011 Polaris RZR 800- Sold