Little Sahara Recreation Area

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This article is about the recreation area in Utah. For the state park in Oklahoma, see Little Sahara State Park.
Little Sahara Recreation Area
Map showing the location of Little Sahara Recreation Area
Map showing the location of Little Sahara Recreation Area
Location Juab County, Utah, USA
Nearest city Eureka, Utah
Coordinates 39°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
Area 220 square miles (570 km2)
Governing body Bureau of Land Management

The Little Sahara Recreation Area in Utah is a large area of sand dunes, hills and sagebrush flats located in the west central part of the state approximately 30 miles (48 km) north of Delta, Utah. It is managed by the U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management. 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.

Little Sahara Sand Dunes
Little Sahara Sand Dunes from 20,000 feet


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 3 m) per year.

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


Spring Break 2004 at the Sand Mountain camping area

Little Sahara is one of the most popular locations in the state for ATV riding. Riders can enjoy riding on 60,000 acres (240 km2) of sand dunes, trails and sage brush flats. Sand Mountain's 700–800 foot (210 m-245 m) wall of sand 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.

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