Sand Mountain is a huge pile of sand 600 feet high in the Nevada High Desert. Just about every weekend, off-road vehicles of every size and shape race around the dune area. On holiday weekends, some of the fastest hill climbers in the country compete in unofficial races up Sand Mountain.
Sand Mountain recreation area is just under 5,000 acres, with all the action occurring around the huge dune base. A paved road leads off highway 50 to the base of the mountain. Just about any car can drive the road up to the dune area but playing in the sand is only for off-road capable vehicles.
Camping at Sand Mountain
The camping area is located at the base of the mountain, campfires are permitted, but there is no wood available. Reservations are not required to camp here. There are toilets, but no running water or electricity. Fees are $40 for 1-7 days and $90 for an annual pass. – Collected by BLM. Bring plenty of water and gas. Sand Mountain is out in the middle of nowhere.
Booming Sand Dune
Sand Mountain is a booming dune, and the sound can be heard as you climb down from the top of the dune. Your weight compresses the sand, and it emits a booming noise. About the only time, you will hear the booming noise is when there are no off-roaders around.
Sand Springs Pony Express Station
A quarter-mile west of the turn-off to Sand Mountain, there is a dirt road leading to one of Nevada’s best-preserved Pony Express stations. From the parking area, it’s a short hike to the ruins, which consists of the station’s rock walls. The station was only used by the Pony Express one year before it went out of business. This site was dug out of archaeologists’ dunes in 1975 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Sand Mountain Blue Butterfly
One of the few inhabitants of the dune is the Sand Mountain Blue Butterfly. The butterfly is closely associated with its host plant, the Kearney buckwheat, which grows within the dune system. This wild buckwheat is the only food source for the butterfly larvae. About 1000 acres of the recreation area is considered Blue Butterfly habitat.
Before You Go
Typically by the end of March/April, temperatures will be in the mid-60s to 70s, and daytime riding can be enjoyed. The recreation area is public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management as a designated off-highway-vehicle recreation area. Be sure to bring plenty of water if you plan to visit Sand mountain.
If you plan a journey along Highway 50, take the short side trip and see this amazing mountain of sand. Sand Mountain is located east of Fallon, Nevada, about 25 minutes along Highway 50 (about 100 miles east of Lake Tahoe). If you visit in the early months of the year, it is possible to see a little snow here and there.