Armagosa Valley Dunes

Oct. 01, 1999 By ORC STAFF
Just a short hour and a half drive North of Las Vegas is the Armagosa Valley Dunes. With many of the Off-Road.com staff now headquartered in Vegas, we decided this would be a good place to kick off the fall duning season. Coming from different areas of town, we decided it would be best to just meet up at the campsite.

Getting There!

Starting Point: Ann RD Exit, Hwy 95 Take Hwy 95 North 76 miles, will hit Junction 373, Death Valley Exit, Armagosa Valley - continue through (closest gas, phone and supplies are here.) Go 8.2 miles from that Junction to Valley View Rd/Amargosa Farms Rd Turn LEFT (Will Immediately Cross cattleguard) Go 1.1 miles turn RIGHT onto dirt/desert road Proceed approx 1.3 miles to camping area
We headed up Hwy 95 and thought all was going great until we got where we thought we should be getting near the turnoff. Having only been there once before, we were expecting something familiar, at least a road sign! However, many (all!) of the road signs were removed to allow for widening of the highway. Okay, we'll just look for the big pile of sand, right?

Well, when it is dark out in the Nevada desert, far away mountains look like shadows and close hills disappear completely. After driving an extra 15 miles and then turning around and backtracking, we got creative and just got out at every pull out and searched with a flashlight for anything vaguely familiar.

We finally stumbled onto the turnoff we needed. Thinking that we were home free, we did spend another half hour slowly crawling along that road looking for the turn into the dunes. Not even a road, we only knew to look for a break in the vegetation along side the road, and lots of other tracks heading that way.

A large white piece of plywood got our attention that we must be on the right track, but don't count on it! See the Getting There sidebar for detailed direction and odometer reading instructions. And try to get there in the daylight!

This is not an easy place to find at night. Following the blinking strobe of our Base Camp, we pulled in and sat by the campfire while we waited for the other lost wanderers to join the party.

The wind kicked up, and we headed for the security of the motorhomes. If you plan on "real" camping (in a tent) instead of "sissy" camping (in the climate-controlled comfort of an RV), make sure you come prepared. Bring a good sturdy tent and appropriate supplies. The winds can blast quite hard and sustain it, and we were even surprised by a strong earthquake the first night!

There is absolutely no formal campground facilities of any kind - no water, no garbage cans, no picnic tables, no porta-potties. You have to bring in everything you need, and take out every thing you didn't find there.

This is probably why it remains a well-kept secret.
Dawn of course meant hitting the trail before breakfast and making tracks on the fresh dunes. Amargosa is a small area, but offers something to please every level of rider.

You will find several large dunes for hill climbing, and many smaller dunes perfect for swooping up and down and through. Beginning or younger riders can spend hours riding among these smaller dunes or head out across the open ground among the shrubs.

We were lucky enough this trip to stumble across

a very-well-established track, small but with some good banked turns. This was especially fun to play follow-the-leader on, change directions, or ride at night.

Amargosa is a good idea for a quick weekend, or even an afternoon get-away. The small area probably doesn't rank it very high as an advanced riding attraction, but you won't have people riding through your campfire at all hours of the day and night like you find at some of the larger, CROWDED areas in the Southwest.

If you're ever in the area and have some gas to burn (and have the directions in hand!), we'd definately give it two THUMBS UP for an easy relaxing weekend.


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