As the famous adage goes, “Life is like a sand dune, you never know what you’re going to get.” However, when it comes to sand boarding in Utah, there’s no need to leave things up to chance.

With its vast expanses of towering sand dunes and breathtaking views, Utah is quickly becoming one of the world’s premier destinations for sand boarding enthusiasts.

But before you grab your board and head out into the desert, it’s important to understand what makes this sport so unique. Unlike traditional snowboarding or skateboarding, sand boarding requires a specialized set of equipment and techniques that are tailored specifically for sandy terrain.

Introduction to Sand Boarding in Utah

Sand boarding in Utah is one of the most thrilling activities that adventure-seekers can experience. It involves riding down steep sand dunes using a specially designed board, which is similar to a snowboard but with modifications that make it suitable for sand.

Sand boarding equipment typically consists of a board and binding system, with some models featuring adjustable straps that ensure optimal fit and performance.

Beginners are advised to start with smaller dunes before progressing to larger ones. When starting out, it’s important to keep your weight evenly distributed on the board, lean back slightly and use your feet to steer and brake. Proper technique will help you maintain control while descending at high speeds.

Essential Gear for Sand Boarding

When participating in the sport of gliding down sandy hills, it is crucial to equip oneself with appropriate gear that can ensure safety and comfort during the activity. Top brands such as Burton, Dakine, and Salomon offer sand boarding gear that caters to different levels of expertise.

Must haves for sand boarding include a board (preferably made of durable material such as high-density polyethylene) with straps or bindings to secure your feet, protective eyewear (such as goggles or sunglasses), sunblock for protection against harmful UV rays, and closed-toe shoes with good grip.

Essential gear for sand boarding is not just for beginners but also experienced riders who want to improve their skills and protect themselves from injuries. It is important to invest in quality equipment that can withstand the rough terrain and unpredictable weather conditions.

Finding the Best Sand Boarding Locations

The Little Sahara Recreation Area presents sand boarders with over 60 square miles of beautiful, wind-sculpted dunes to explore. Located in Juab County, Utah, this vast playground offers varying degrees of difficulty for beginners and experienced riders alike.

Little Sahara Recreation Area

Located in western Juab County, the Little Sahara Recreation Area is a massive playground for sandboarding enthusiasts. The area spans over 60,000 acres and features vast expanses of sand dunes that can reach up to 700 feet in height.

Visitors can explore the area on off-highway vehicles or by foot, but regardless of how you choose to navigate the park, it’s important to note that there are no marked trails or designated areas for certain activities.

Aside from sandboarding, Little Sahara also offers camping options for those who want to extend their stay. The park has three campsites with picnic tables and fire rings available on a first come, first served basis.

Visitors may be lucky enough to spot some wildlife while exploring the area; rabbits, coyotes, and even rattlesnakes have been known to make appearances in Little Sahara Recreation Area.

Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park

Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park presents an awe-inspiring natural wonder that captures the imagination of adventurous travelers seeking to explore the unique landscape of southwestern Utah.

The park is home to stunning coral-colored sand dunes, which were formed by erosion over millions of years. These dunes cover an area of about 3,730 acres and rise up to 700 feet above the surrounding terrain.

Visitors to Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park can enjoy a variety of activities, including sandboarding, hiking, camping, and wildlife viewing. Here are three great reasons why you should add this park to your travel itinerary:

  1. Camping options: There are several campsites located in the park that offer visitors a chance to immerse themselves in nature while enjoying modern amenities such as restrooms and showers.
  2. Wildlife viewing opportunities: The park is home to a diverse array of wildlife species, including kangaroo rats, pocket mice, coyotes, and bobcats. Visitors may also spot various bird species such as golden eagles and prairie falcons.
  3. Sandboarding: For those looking for a thrilling adventure on the sand dunes, Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park offers sandboarding opportunities for all skill levels.

With so much natural beauty and adventure waiting to be experienced at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, it’s no wonder that it has become a must-visit destination for outdoor enthusiasts traveling through Utah.

Great Salt Lake Desert

The desert spans over 4,000 square miles and is home to a variety of wildlife species, including pronghorn antelope, coyotes, jackrabbits, and numerous bird species. Wildlife sightings are common in the area, so visitors should keep their eyes peeled for any animals they may encounter.

However, it’s important to note that the weather conditions in the Great Salt Lake Desert can be unpredictable and extreme. Temperatures can reach well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and drop below freezing at night.

Strong winds can create sandstorms that hinder visibility and make travel difficult. Visitors should come prepared with appropriate clothing and supplies to ensure their safety while exploring this beautiful yet challenging landscape.

Sand Boarding Techniques

Sand boarding enthusiasts must master basic stance and balance to successfully navigate the dunes.

Basic Stance and Balance

Mastering the fundamental techniques of maintaining a proper stance and balance while navigating sandy terrain is an essential aspect of safely engaging in this thrilling outdoor activity. Proper posture and weight distribution are crucial factors to consider when attempting to maintain control over the board on sand dunes.

One should keep their body relaxed, with knees bent, back straight, and arms extended for stability. The position of the feet on the board is also vital; they should be shoulder-width apart with toes pointing towards the direction of travel. This stance allows for better weight distribution and provides optimal balance while gliding down slopes.

Speed Control

Achieving optimal speed control is a critical aspect of sandboarding, requiring strategic planning and precise execution to glide smoothly down the dunes while avoiding potential hazards. Controlling speed allows riders to maintain stability and avoid accidents that can result from excessive speeds or sudden stops.

Here are three key factors for controlling speed during a sandboarding session:

  1. Body position: Proper body positioning can help regulate speed by increasing or decreasing surface area contact with the sand. To slow down, riders should lean back on their heels, raising their toes up towards the sky and shifting their weight towards the tail of the board. For faster descents, they should shift their weight forward onto their toes, lowering their heels.
  2. Braking techniques: Sandboarders have several braking options available depending on personal preference and conditions at hand. One effective method is carving turns in an S-shape pattern across the slope while applying pressure to one edge of the board at a time to scrub off excess momentum gradually.
  3. Equipment selection: The type of board used also plays a role in speed control as different shapes and sizes offer varying levels of stability and maneuverability. Beginners may start with wider boards that provide more balance but slower speeds, whereas experienced riders may prefer narrower boards for increased agility.

Turning Techniques

One crucial technique is the carving technique, where riders shift their weight to one side of the board while angling it towards the direction they want to turn. This method creates an arc-like motion as the rider glides across the dunes with greater control and speed.

Another effective turning technique is jumping or hopping over obstacles on the terrain. By lifting both feet off the board and pushing down with both hands, riders can lift themselves off the ground, allowing them to maneuver around large rocks or other obstructions.

While this technique requires some skill and practice to execute efficiently, it can help riders maintain their momentum and avoid losing speed when navigating challenging terrain.

These turning techniques provide riders with greater control over their boards, ensuring that they can safely navigate through various types of sandboarding terrains.

Safety Tips for Sand Boarding

Sandboarding can be a thrilling activity but like any sport, it comes with its share of risks. Here are some safety tips you should consider if you’re planning to go sandboarding in Utah:

  • Understand the Environment: Before you begin, familiarize yourself with the sand dunes. Some dunes can be steep and dangerous. Be aware of the weather conditions as well, as high winds can drastically change the dunes’ surface.
  • Get the Right Gear: Ensure that you have the appropriate gear. This includes a suitable sandboard or sand sled, goggles to protect your eyes from the sand, and footwear that is comfortable and protective. Consider using a helmet and pads for extra safety.
  • Take a Lesson: If you’re new to sandboarding, consider taking a lesson from a professional. They can teach you the basics of the sport and give you important safety tips that you might not learn on your own.
  • Stay Hydrated: The Utah desert can be hot and dry. Make sure you bring plenty of water to stay hydrated throughout the day.
  • Use Sunscreen: The sun can be strong in the desert, and you can get sunburned more quickly than you might expect. Always apply a high SPF sunscreen before you start sandboarding, and reapply throughout the day.
  • Respect the Ecosystem: Sand dunes are delicate ecosystems that can be easily damaged. Stick to designated sandboarding areas and avoid disturbing any plants or animals. Remember that it’s not just about your enjoyment but also about preserving these unique environments for future generations.
  • Check the Sand Temperature: Sand can get incredibly hot, especially in the afternoon. Always check the sand temperature before you begin to avoid burns.
  • Practice Falling Safely: Just like with snowboarding or skateboarding, you will probably fall at some point while sandboarding. Try to fall on your bottom or side, not on your hands, as you can injure your wrists.
  • Never Go Alone: Always have a buddy system in place. This is useful not only in case of accidents but also to help each other in climbing back up the dunes.
  • Know Your Limits: Don’t push yourself to go down dunes that are too steep or large if you’re not comfortable. Sandboarding should be fun, not terrifying.

Other Activities to Try in Utah’s Sand Dunes

Exploring the vast terrain and engaging in other outdoor activities are perfect ways to make the most of your trip to Utah’s sand dunes. Aside from sandboarding, there are plenty of options for adventure enthusiasts. Here are some nearby attractions and other outdoor activities to try:

  • ATV Riding: For an adrenaline-packed ride across the sand dunes, you can rent an ATV or a UTV (utility terrain vehicle) and explore the area off-road.
  • Hiking: The towering peaks that surround the dunes offer breathtaking vistas of the surrounding landscapes. Hiking is a great way to get up close and personal with these natural wonders.
  • Horseback Riding: For those who want a more leisurely experience, horseback riding is available at some nearby ranches offering guided tours through the scenic countryside.
  • Photography: With its stunning landscapes and unique geological formations, Utah’s sand dunes provide ample opportunities for photographers to capture breathtaking shots.

With all these exciting activities available, it’s hard not to be captivated by Utah’s sand dunes. Whether you’re seeking thrills or simply looking for a peaceful escape in nature, this destination has something for everyone


Sand boarding in Utah is a thrilling adventure that offers an adrenaline rush like no other. To embark on this adventure, it’s essential to have the right gear, including a sandboard and appropriate clothing. Finding the best sand boarding locations requires some research, but once you’ve found them, you’ll be ready to hit the dunes and try out different techniques.

As with any adventurous sport, safety tips are crucial to avoid accidents or injuries. Taking precautions such as wearing protective gear and learning proper sandboarding techniques will help ensure a successful experience.