Did you know that you can go riding your ATV on a 700-foot tall sand dune without having to spend thousands of dollars on a trip to Peru or Australia? The Little Sahara Recreation Area in Juab County, Utah, has 60,000 acres of open dunes. You also get to challenge yourself by riding your ATV on the Sand Mountain, a 700-foot-tall sand dune.
Riding an ATV on sand is like nothing you’ve experienced before. You can build memories of a lifetime by riding your ATV on sand dunes. Luckily, the U.S. has several sand dune parks that you can enjoy.
Before you pack your bags and take your ATV to these sand dunes, you need to get the right bike, new tires, and some much-needed accessories. If you want to learn about the best quads for sand dunes, you’ve come to the right place. Keep on reading to find out everything you need to know before you can ride your ATV on the sand.
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What Are the Best Quads for Sand Dunes?
The reality is that there are no ATVs designed specifically for sand dunes. Luckily, there are certain modifications you can make to your current bike to get it ready for the sand dunes. You could also consider buying a sports quad that is lighter and better suited to sandy terrains like a Yamaha YFZ450R or the Honda TRX250X.
You don’t want to get anything smaller than a 250cc to be able to ride on those sand dunes easily. There are some sports quads that avid riders swear by. Below are 5 of the best sports quads for sand dunes.
The Yamaha 450R is one of the best quads for sand dunes. You talk to any avid rider, and they’ll direct you to the Yamaha 450R. You’ll feel like riding dunes all day long.
It has a 449cc liquid-cooled engine which means that it has enough power to climb any hill quickly and glide smoothly over the dunes. While Yamaha claims that bodywork is designed with ergonomics in mind, some riders find the seat to be hard and uncomfortable.
If you’re looking for a used quad, the Yamaha Banshee is the cult favorite. It was produced from 1987 to 2006.
Yamaha Raptor 700
The Yamaha Raptor 700 is known as the “king of the dunes”. It’s always being improved so you’ll always have the best. It’s a quad designed for adventures whether you want to go to the dunes, trails, or track.
It has a 686cc, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected engine. It has a sporty ergonomic style and a four-stroke engine that produces a lot of torque. For all-around simple fun riding, the Yamaha Raptor wins.
The Honda 250X is a close second as a dune favorite. It has power and horsepower to help you get moving in the sand dunes. It’s seen as the best all-around quad.
It’s a lightweight quad with a 229cc engine. You also get the Honda SportClutch™, which allows you the control of a manual shift without worrying about stalling.
Can-Am Renegade 570/850
The Can-Am Renegade is easy to operate in the mud and dunes. It has the power to help you corner well and ride smoothly. It’s stable over rough terrain.
The Can-Am Renegade comes in 570cc and 850cc, liquid-cooled engine. It has a four-stroke engine that offers great torque. You can have a lot of fun riding this sports quad.
Polaris Scrambler XP 850
The Polaris Scrambler has a lot of power because of its 850cc, liquid-cooled, four-stroke engine. You can enjoy the power of the Polaris Scrambler on the dunes. It can handle any terrain you want from large rocks to smooth dunes.
It has an 11.5” ground clearance allowing you to rise above obstacles. You can ride it with confidence because of a 48” wide stance that offers stability and traction.
Many people have trouble distinguishing between the Can-Am and the Polaris ATVs. If you’re debating between the Can-Am and Polaris ATV, you should try to compare both brands and see what will be right for your next ATV purchase.
What Do You Need to Make Your Quad Ready for Sand?
The minute you get your ATV on the sand dunes, even the best quads will get sand everywhere. It can get into the engine and cause premature wear. With a constant barrage of sand, it can even lead to permanent damage.
If you take some steps beforehand, you can protect your ATV from too much damage.
ATV Paddle Tire or ATV Sand Tire
The first thing you need to do is change your tires. The right tires can turn any quad into the best quad for sand dunes.
Paddle tires are designed for sand by making sure that the tire doesn’t get clogged with sand. They have a smooth tire core with a series of paddles attached to them.
Air Filter Oiling
Clear your air filter and oil it properly. Sand will get everywhere, and you want to make sure that your air filter protects your engine from the damaging sand.
Lubricate Chain and Sprockets
Thoroughly lubricate the chain and sprockets on your ATV. Take the time during the day to wipe away excess sand and reapply lubricant.
Remember to grab a high flag for your quad because forgetting it can lead to fines. More than that, you want to keep that as a safety mechanism. A dune flag allows other people to see you coming and find you in an emergency. It also allows you to see other riders coming over dunes.
If you don’t have paddle tires, you can consider regular tires set to 3-4 psi. Low tire pressure allows your quad to glide through the sand. That creates better traction and makes sure that the quad doesn’t sink into the ground.
Learn more about finding the right tire pressure for your ATV and type of riding here.
Where to Go ATV Sand Dune Riding?
Now that you’re all set, you know what is the best quad for sand. You just need to find the right place to let loose and try out your new sports quad. From California to Oregon to Utah, there are beautiful sand dunes where you can take your ATV out for a spin.
The Dumont Dunes in California offers you 8,150 acres of sand dunes with hills up to 500 feet. The dunes get higher as you ride east, but the roads can be steep, so you need to take extra care. It’s surrounded by wilderness and volcanic peaks that’ll keep you coming back.
The Arizona Hot Well Dunes have around 2,000 acres for you to play with. It’s not a large area but you can have a lot of fun with your quad and soaking in the hot tubs. It used to be a beach about 2 million years ago and now you can look forward to its unique landscape.
The Imperial Sand Dunes in California has 26,000 acres with the largest 300 feet tall dunes located in the center. It’s the largest mass of sand dunes in the state. Most of the ATVs end up in the recreation area south of Highway 78.
Winnemucca Dunes are Nevada’s largest sand dune fields. The tallest sand dunes are 100 feet in height, but you get to play around in 40 miles of dunes.
The Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area is one of the largest coastal sand dunes in the world. You get the best of all worlds with the sand dunes, forest, and ocean close to each other. There are several trails that are specifically designed for ATVs.
The Little Sahara Recreation Area in Utah is about 60,000 acres of dunes and is less than two hours away from Salt Lake City. You have the small dunes for beginners and the 700-foot-tall Sand Mountain for those who want to challenge themselves. You can also enjoy hiking the 6,000-acre Rockwell Outstanding Natural Area.
The St. Anthony Sand Dunes in Idaho have 10,600 acres of clear, white quartz sand. You get to ride on dunes that can get up to 400 feet tall. Most of the dunes are closed in the winter for wildlife migration.
The Silver Lake State Park in Michigan, Oceana County is 3,000 acres along the Lake Michigan shoreline. It’s the only dune east of the Mississippi River where you can ride your ATVs. You can spend time swimming, camping, and riding the dunes in your ATV. With 450 acres of the Silver Lake State Park is specifically designated for ATVs, it attracts a lot of regulars.
Check Out More Tips and Tricks on ATV Riding
Now you know the best quads for sand dunes. You know how to get your ATV ready for riding on those sand dunes and what the best places for sand dunes are.
If you’re looking to learn more about ATVs, check out our blog for more articles on fun tops like how to negotiate with ATV dealers.