St Anthony Sand Dunes
Exploring Rexburg, Idaho
St. Anthony sand dunes, located near Rexburg, Idaho, are the ultimate summer dune destination! The dunes stretch about 35 miles in length and range from 1 to 5 miles in width, this 41,000 acre dune span is pure bliss for a diehard dune fan. At an elevation of about 5000 feet, the dunes raise from the valley floor 200-300 feet. During mid summer months the temperature rarely rises above 90 degrees and the St Anthony dunes are even enjoyed by snowmobile enthusiasts during the winter months. Getting these from Southern California is a
Indian legend claims that in the days of old, a great battle was fought in this land of sagebrush and sand. Ten thousand warriors came together in a fierce battle that raged on for many moons. It lasted so long that the gods became angered and called the great wind which blew for weeks on end. The great winds caused the sands to rise and swallow the battling warriors. If you have the courage to open your soul to the spirits of those warriors, you will become a dune warrior. Then if you listen closely you will hear the battle cries of the ancient desert warriors in the wind.
We had a recent gathering at the St Anthony's sand dunes. We stayed on the East end of the dunes at the Sand Hills Resort. Sand Hills Resort is the nicest of the 3 main camping areas St Anthony's has to offer. The only downfall of Sand Hills Resort is the long ride to and from the huge dunes on the West end of the dune system. It has lots of trees for shade with grass at each site, power and water hook-ups for your RV, and some sites have a sewer hook-ups. The resort has a store with basic necessities, full bathrooms with showers, and even laundry facilities.
The dunes near Sand Hills Resort are relatively small compared to the far West end of the dune system, but are still tons of fun! Most of the half bowls in this area have lava rock and ancient tree stumps at the bottom so keep an eye out for these obstacles.
The other 2 camp sites near Egin lakes, Desert Oasis, and the BLM campground, are located about 5 miles West of Sand Hills. Both of these sites are more primitive but both are improving each year with the addition of trees for shade, and RV hook-ups. Both Sand Hills resort and Desert Oasis are privately owned and are on a reservation basis with the BLM camp ground being on a first come fist served basis.
On most of our ventures to the extreme West end of the dunes we would send a truck over with gas for all the ATV's. It made for a perfect spot to stop on the way out to top off with gas to ensure you had plenty for the 'good stuff' on the West end of the dunes.
Heading out on a ride from Sand Hills resort are route markers that guide you to the West end. Once near the Egin lakes area the dunes begin to get taller and your speed increases. Thunder Mountain is usually the first destination. It's a huge mountain of sand that offers challenging hill climbs. Heading west the next major bowl is Deadhorse bowl. It's probably the biggest bowl I have ever been in. It's a 5th gear throttle pinned type of bowl!
Choke Cherry Hill is the next destination. It's nearly vertical and raises a few hundred feet from the valley floor. It's defiantly not for the weak at heart. If you don't get a good run at this hill, it will eat you alive!
The final bowl at the extreme West end of the dunes is Devil's Dune. It's a massive half bowl that begs your motor for more RPM's. Climb into this bowl with everything your motor has to offer, get to the top and head around its sweeping curves, click 6th gear and hang on as the G-forces suck your eyes to the back of your head and your body is mashed to your seat. It just doesn't get any better!!
I highly recommend taking a week to visit St Anthony sand dunes. It's a LONG drive(12 hours North of Las Vegas) but well worth it. Being a diehard duner, I've been to many dune areas. St. Anthony's is by far the best summer dune destination!