While Glamis in California gets all the headlines and Silver Lake in Michigan has its own following, there's a premier sand dune riding area in Idaho.
Called the St. Anthony Sand Dunes, this massive riding area offers all of the thrills you could possibly want.
Located some 40 miles northeast of Idaho Falls, the St. Anthony Sand dunes consist of some 10,000 acres of dunes rising up to 600 feet high — a prime roosting area.
So how many acres are 10,000 acres? Well, let's put it another way. The dunes stretch for 15 miles.
That's plenty of riding area, to be sure.
The Egin Lakes access is located midway along that 15-mile stretch of dunes. To the east are small, rolling hills suitable for beginning ATV riders or youngsters. To the west are challenging hills—some 600 feet high.
Surrounding the dunes is another 10,000 acres of juniper and sagebrush. The federal Bureau of Land Management administers the land, and notes that the dunes and the juniper/sagebrush areas together make up the Sand Mountain Wilderness Study area.
A Wilderness Study Area is a tract of land that meets criteria set by Congress for potential inclusion in the Wilderness Preservation System. That means that if Congress does decide to designate the area as Wilderness, then riding will be banned.
Mandatory safety rules are:
- All ATVs must have a 6-foot whip with a red or orange flag at the top. The whip must be mounted on the top rack.
- Jumpers should have a spotter at the top of the dune when jumping to provide for the safety of the jumper as well as other riders in the dunes.
Officials stress that you should yield the right-of-way to uphill riders; check over a dune crest before descending; watch for children, hikers, horse riders and others; use caution when going around the lake because children use that area to ride their ATVs and motorcycles.
To get to the Egin Lakes access, take the North Rexburg exit off US 20. If northbound, turn left. If southbound, turn right onto 1900 E. (Parker-Salem Highway and the Red Road). Travel 6.3 miles north to the second flashing light. Turn left and travel .85 miles to the split in the road. Travel right over the railroad tracks and continue on 500N. for 2.9 miles. At the Egin Lakes Access sign turn right onto the gravel road.
It is recommended that you make reservations at the Desert Oasis (208-624-3275, less than 2 miles from the access) or the Sand Hills Resort (208-624-4127, 7 miles from the access). Both locations provide access to the dunes.
Camping is allowed north of the Sand Hills Resort, west of Red Road.
For more information, contact the Bureau of Land Management Idaho Falls, 1405 Hollipark Drive, Idaho Falls, ID 83401; the recreation planner at (208) 524-7500; or the Eastern Idaho Visitor Center at (208) 523-1012 or (866) 365-6943.