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By: Dave Helgeson

Nellis Dunes OHV Recreation Ara, Las Vegas, Nevada

Places to Ride: Nellis Dunes OHV Recreation Area, near Las Vegas, Nevada

Challenging Hill Climbs
Challenging Hill Climbs

Looking over the entire Nellis Dunes
Looking over the entire Nellis Dunes

Nellis Dunes larger dunes
Nellis Dunes larger dunes

Nellis Dunes Northern Section
Nellis Dunes Northern Section

Sounds of Freedom
Sounds of Freedom

The slogan “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” must be true, because until I stumbled onto them, I had never heard of Nellis Dunes.

Nellis Dunes is 15,000 ride anywhere acres of varied desert terrain right on the edge of Las Vegas, just 20 minutes from the strip. Actually the term sand dunes is somewhat of a misnomer as the area is more desert than dunes consisting of gravel, hard pack, hills, valleys, washed out gullies, sand dunes, and trails running in every direction. This area offers something for riders of every skill level. There are tight twisty trails, hill climbs, rolling sand dunes, large flat play areas, user-made tracks with nice berms and easy trails through desert scrub. You will find the sand dunes in the southwest part of the area. There are no large dunes to climb, given the dirt and rocks in the balance of the riding area, paddle tires are not advised. Since this area is very near Nellis Air Force Base, the anti-access crowd can’t complain about noise either as the brave men and women of the US Air Force are having as much fun above the area as those of us flying on the ground. Even when you have it pinned on a hill climb, you can still hear the fighters roaring above.

A whip flag is recommended when the area is busy.

Best time to ride is fall through spring as summers are hot, and there is no shade or water.


Standard BLM rules apply: Camping stays in the same location are limited to 14 days. Primitive campsites must be located at least 200 feet from roads and water sources such as springs, ponds, creeks or waters provided for wildlife or livestock. Gray water may be dumped at least 200 feet from any water source. Dumping sewage on public land is not legal. Because there are many primitive campfire pits already on the landscape, please use existing pits. Before building a fire, please check local fire restrictions as campfires may be banned during certain times of the year.

Getting There:

Take exit 58 off of I-15 onto Las Vegas Blvd North (Hwy 604).
Head south from the intersection, the first parking area will be on the left. If you are looking to ride mainly on the sand, continue southwest a mile or so on Las Vegas Blvd North, you will soon see the sand dunes off to the southeast.


All major services are available in nearby North Las Vegas or Las Vegas.
If you fly into Vegas and need to rent a ride, check out:

Rules and Regulations:

All terrain vehicles (ATVs) operated on public lands must have a muffler, spark arrester, and working headlights and taillights for nighttime use. Children under 16 operating off-highway vehicles must be supervised by an adult.

A person may operate an off-highway vehicle on any public land, trail, way, or unpaved county road unless prohibited by the governmental entity which has jurisdiction over the public land, trail, way, or unpaved county road.

There are no driver license or minimum age requirements for off-road vehicles.

For Additional Information:

Currently Nellis Dunes are managed by the BLM. There is a proposal under consideration to transfer the property to Clark County.

BLM Southern Nevada District Office
4701 North Torrey Pines
Las Vegas, NV  89130
Office Hours: 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. M-F
Public Room Hours: 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. M-F

Clark County
500 S. Grand Central Pkwy.
Las Vegas, NV  89155

Be safe, enjoy, and I hope to see you on the trails.

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