Not far from Las Vegas, Sand Hollow State Park provides off-road enthusiasts with a little-known gem of a destination in the wide expanses of St. George, Utah.

It’s an ideal place for boating, fishing, mountain biking and hiking, and a treasure to ATV and SxS riders who like the variety of the land: higher elevations of sandy dunes contrasting the desert-like riding on the valley floor in more than 16,000 acres of OHV area to ride and explore.

The trails in Sand Hollow are unmarked, so the degree of difficulty can be hard to judge. Most riders go in pairs, and are equipped with a GPS and cell phone in case they get lost. Large red sandstone boulders scattered throughout the higher elevation keep things interesting, as do the trails that wind through boulder formations. There are several rock crawls that make being part of a team helpful, since they are far more easily traversed with the help of a spotter. High elevation trails frequently run along the cliffs, offering exceptional views and a peek at the valley and desert terrain below. It’s a lot of territory to cover even in two days, but try to check out some of the park’s historic sites, including Fort Pearce and the preserved Dinosaur tracks!

Sand washes mark Sand Hollow Valley where riders can enjoy a five-mile desert trail that leads to a dirt road. Following that road another eight miles leads to Fort Pearce and to rock formations along the river where hundreds of years ago Native Americans who roamed this part of the country drew petro glyphs that can still be seen today. Further along the dirt road is a parking area where vehicles can be left as you make the short walk to see Dinosaur tracks that date back millions of years, and were preserved in what was once mud.

There are numerous ATV and SxS/UTV tour and rental companies in nearby St. George, many specializing in outfitting first time riders – with automatic machines – and providing helmets, eye protection, gloves, certified guides and instructors. These services make it possible for novices to enjoy the sport and explore this picturesque area.

 The town of St. George has plenty of hotel accommodations, or the park has places for both tent and RV camping. Sand Hollow has three campgrounds that range from primitive to full electrical and RV hook-ups, and there are bathroom and shower facilities available. Rates are $15 to $28 depending on the choice of amenities.