The hunt for the perfect off-roading location frequently brings drivers to America's expansive West. With vast stretches of open land and thousands of acres of wilderness ready to be explored, this region is a hotbed of off-road driving. One of the premier places to venture to is found in Northern Nevada, where Sand Mountain and its surrounding recreational areas can act as a great place to test off-roading skills.
About the area
Nestled approximately 25 miles outside Fallon, Nev., is the Sand Mountain Recreation Area. It is comprised of more than 4,700 acres of open land, and nearly all of it has been designated for off-road use. While some specific areas are closed to motor vehicles, much more remains open to the public, and it has become a popular site for off-road driving.
Sand Mountain, which is the main dune, extends over nearly 2 miles. Its calling card is what is known as "singing sand," as the surface makes groaning noises when riders cross over it. The sounds come about from the unique shape of the sand, as well as the way grains rub against each other under pressure, creating a one-of-a-kind environment for drivers.
The unique area started its formation thousands of years ago, when Lake Lahontan dried up and left a large empty space behind. Without water, the hill on the edge of the lake rose up 600 feet above the ground, and became somewhat of a beacon for adventurers. That is certainly true now, as off-roaders often make the pilgrimage to Sand Mountain to test it out for themselves.
Part of the reason Sand Mountain regularly attracts so many experienced off-road drivers is because of its wide array of terrain. The land is ideal for dune bashing, and various stretches of land throughout the area also provide spots for rock crawling. Add in the climate changes, which can bring everything from desert conditions to snow to the region, and you have an unpredictable location that has enough variables to challenge even the most skilled drivers.
What to expect
If you're eager to bring your off-road vehicle to Sand Mountain, you should make sure that it - and you - are ready to handle the different obstacles you may encounter. ATVs are the most common sight on the grounds, although it's not strange to see a few souped-up trucks exploring the land as well. Because of the lack of large vehicles, you'll likely have plenty of room to test your latest truck modifications and explore the wide open spaces.
Before taking off on your adventure, you should be aware of a few rules put in place for the safety of all drivers on Sand Mountain. For example, all vehicles must have whip flags measuring 8 feet attached to them when in the dunes, and visitors are not allowed to have burning tires on their rides. Other rules are in place for camping and camper safety, and drivers should check up on those regulations before planning a multi-day trip to the area.
There is a fee for off-roading at Sand Mountain, with passes available on a seven-day or yearly basis. However, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are free, so those drivers who don't mind heading out during the week will be able to enjoy the land at an incredibly low cost. Additionally, those who visit in the spring or fall can reap the benefits of near-perfect weather conditions, Dirtopia reports. Summer is also a good time to visit, but only for those who don't mind the heat, as the temperatures can reach high levels and winds whip dust around the area.