Little Sahara Recreation Area

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Little Sahara Recreation Area
Little Sahara Sand Dunes
Little Sahara National Recreation Area
Little Sahara sand dunes, April 2003
Map showing the location of Little Sahara Recreation Area
Map showing the location of Little Sahara Recreation Area
Little Sahara Recreation Area
Location of Little Sahara Recreation Area within the State of Utah
LocationJuab County, Utah
United States
Nearest cityEureka, Utah
Coordinates39°43′34″N 112°18′24″W / 39.72611°N 112.30667°W / 39.72611; -112.30667Coordinates: 39°43′34″N 112°18′24″W / 39.72611°N 112.30667°W / 39.72611; -112.30667
Area220 square miles (570 km2)
Governing bodyBureau of Land Management

The Little Sahara Recreation Area (previously known as the Little Sahara National Recreation Area)[1][2] is a large area of sand dunes, hills and sagebrush flats located in the northeast corner of the Sevier Desert in Juab County in the west central part of Utah, United States.[2][3][4]


The recreation area is managed by the Bureau of Land Management of the United States Department of the Interior.[5] A 9,000-acre (36 km2) portion of the northwest corner of the facility has been designated as The Rockwell Natural Area and is off limits to vehicles to preserve and shelter desert plants and animals.[3][6] Although the entire recreation area is located within Juab County, the dune field (which covers an area of 220 square miles [570 km2]), extends southwest into Millard County, nearly as far as the city of Delta.[7] The Utah State Legislature designated this land a Utah state park in the 2017 Legislative Session. [8][9]


Little Sahara Sand Dunes from 20,000 feet (6,100 m), August 2009

The Little Sahara sand dunes are remnants of a large river delta formed by the Sevier River from about 12,500 to 20,000 years ago. The river emptied into ancient Lake Bonneville near the present day mouth of Leamington Canyon. After Lake Bonneville receded, winds transported the sand from the river delta to the current location. The dunes are still moving 5 to 9 feet (1.5 to 2.7 m) per year.[7] One of the primary barriers to the sand movement are the Sand Hills, which are located entirely within the recreation area and substantially slow the movement of the blowing sand.[7]

The sand consists of quartz grains, with minor amounts of feldspar, biotite, calcite, garnet and magnetite.[7]


Spring Break 2004 at the Sand Mountain camping area

Little Sahara is one of the most popular locations in the state for all-terrain vehicle (ATV) riding. Riders can enjoy riding on 60,000 acres (240 km2) of sand dunes, trails and sage brush flats. Within the Sand Hills is Sand Mountain, a 700–800-foot (210–240 m) wall of sand that challenges experienced riders and the most capable machines. Visitors can also enjoy camping, hiking and two of the world's biggest sand boxes which are areas of the dunes fenced off from vehicle and horseback riders. Though there are many campsites excellent for tent camping, use of recreational vehicles and camp trailers is very popular. The area sees the highest number of visitors over holiday weekends from spring to fall.


Great Horned Owl

The area is home to typical Great Basin Desert wildlife including mule deer, pronghorn antelope, snakes, lizards and birds of prey. Great horned owls make their home among juniper trees in the Rockwell Natural Area.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Utah Road & Recreation Atlas (Map) (2002 ed.). 1:250000. Benchmark Maps. 2002. p. 58. § B4. ISBN 0-929591-74-7.
  2. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Little Sahara National Recreation Area
  3. ^ a b "Little Sahara Recreation Area: Utah's Premier OHV Area" (PDF). Bureau of Land Management. Retrieved 29 Jan 2017.
  4. ^ MyTopo Maps - Little Sahara National Recreation Area, Juab County, UT, United States (Map). Trimble Navigation, Ltd. Retrieved 29 Jan 2017.
  5. ^ "Little Sahara Recreation Area". Bureau of Land Management. 2 May 2006. Archived from the original on 18 Dec 2007. Retrieved 29 Jan 2017 – via
  6. ^ a b "Rockwell WSA" (PDF). Bureau of Land Management. Retrieved 29 Jan 2017.
  7. ^ a b c d "Little Sahara Recreation Area" (Map). Utah Geological Survey. Retrieved 29 Jan 2017.
  8. ^ Cite error: The named reference state park designation was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  9. ^ "What the Utah State Legislature did to your life this year". Fox Newsaccessdate=27 Mar 2017.

External links[edit]