r One of Utah’s largest sand dune recreation areas is only about an hour drive from Springville and Spanish Fork. The Little Sahara Sand Dunes comprises an area of about 60,000 acres. To express it another way, it is an area about 12 miles long and 10 miles wide.
This can be a fantastic time of year to visit the sand dunes because of the cooler weather. And if it turns out to be a snowy day, the dunes can create a wonderful sledding opportunity. The sand dunes are popular with ATV riders and a lot of action can be seen on the weekends. On the quieter side is the Rockwell Outstanding Natural Area, which is a 9,000-acre vehicle free zone.
The Little Sahara Sand Dunes are the result of ancient Lake Bonneville which receded 15,000 years ago according to the BLM. The southwesterly winds across the Sevier Desert deposited the sand where it is now. They are migrating dunes moving north and east about 5 to 9 feet per year.
A ridge in the middle of the dune field known as Sand Mountain, and at a right angle to the prevailing wind, causes the wind to flow around the mountain creating bowls of sand around the mountain. Sand Mountain is 700 to 800 feet high and makes a challenging slope for sand toys. The sand dunes are white because the sand particles are made of quartz granules.
To reach the sand dunes from Nephi, travel west on Utah Highway 132 to Juab County Road 1812. The entrance to the sand dunes is 4 miles west of Jericho Junction. The BLM has a Visitor Center. There is a use permit of $18 per day per vehicle. For more information, the telephone number of the visitor’s center is 435-433-5960.