If you are new to dune riding, or have never ridden Little Sahara State Park in Waynoka, Okla., why not try it in the dark?
That is how my first adventure in the land of sand started. We hit the sand at 10:00 pm and rode until sunrise. We saw all kinds of little critters scooting across the sand you would never see during the daylight. The constantly changing sand, combined with headlights casting shadows that danced all over the place, illuminating all kinds of real and imagined obstacles, made for an unforgettable ATVing experience.
Most of us ride the dunes by sunlight, but if you ever get a chance, give it a try by headlight!
Waynoka, as it is commonly referred to, is a 1,520-acre sand playground that offers many different types of riding within the dunes. On the east side is a relatively large flat area where many impromptu drag races seem to just magically happen.
To the west and northwest are the largest dunes, offering fantastic views, especially of sunsets with the Glass Mountains in the distance. In the middle there are cottonwood trees, yucca plants and stands of tall grass that form trails. For the aggressive riders, this is where some of the best games of "cat and mouse" play out.
For those of you who are new to sand riding, you can have a great time on just about any old ATV you have in the garage. From 90cc two-wheel drives to 700cc 4x4's, even on stock tires, you can have a blast. Once you become addicted to slinging sand— and trust me, you will become addicted—you can always add paddle tires to give you that added traction that always comes in handy in the dunes.
The original entrance to the park is just four miles south of Waynoka, Okla., on Highway 281. This area includes primitive tent camping, RV hookups, covered pavilions, toilets and showers, as well as a dune entrance. You can even ride your ATV to a convenience store with everything from snacks and gas to hot meals.
A campground to the north features two separate areas that include camping and RV hookups, plus showers and bathrooms. This area is a little more family oriented, but you are not allowed to ride an ATV into town from this campground. As with many OHV areas around the country, plan to arrive very early on holiday weekends, as large crowds are the norm.
The cost is $10 a day per driver to enter the dunes. Those who bring their own vehicle to Little Sahara State Park are required to follow park rules and regulations.
All vehicles must have a whip attached to the ORV that extends 10 feet from the ground to the top of the whip. All vehicles must have a 6" x 12" flag attached within 10" of the whip's tip. It must be bright solid orange in color with no writing. All vehicles must have a bright white front and red rear lights powered by the vehicle for night use.
Full coverage helmets are strongly suggested. Riding is at your own risk. Please stay within the posted park boundaries.
All operators under the age of 18 must wear a helmet.
Double riding is not allowed on ATVs unless the vehicle is specifically manufactured for a passenger.
There are a grocery store, gas station and restaurant in the town of Waynoka, along with very limited lodging opportunities. If you are not into camping, you'll find several motels 26 miles to the north in Alva, Okla.
Little Sahara is operated by the Okalahoma State Parks system, which is to be commended for numerous improvements to the park over the last few years to try and keep up with the site's growing popularity.
For more information, call Little Sahara State Park at (580) 824-1471.