If You Love Riding Your OHV in the Sand Dunes Oregon is the Place for You! There’s something about sand that brings out the kid in all of us, and with thousands of acres of sand piled up along the Pacific coast, the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area is one big playground. Fortunately, off-highway vehicles (OHVs) are welcome, so bring your gear and your sense of adventure and ride to your heart’s content. When it comes to dunes Oregon has just what you’re looking for.
Stretching approximately 40 miles down the Oregon coast from Florence to Coos Bay Oregon is the largest expanse of coastal sand dunes in North America. Comprised primarily of sediment from the Coast Mountain Range that was carried out to sea and brought back to shore by waves and coastal winds, the dunes reach over two miles inland and tower up to 500 feet high.
Intermingled in this amazing geography are forests, lakes, saltwater marshes and other diverse ecosystems. In 1972, 32,186 acres of this landscape were set aside to create the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. The recreation area is within the Siuslaw National Forest, and the Forest Service manages the dunes as well.
Main OHV Riding Areas in the Oregon Dunes
Nearly half of the land in the Oregon Dunes recreation area is open for off-highway vehicles. There are three main riding areas – South Jetty to Siltcoos in the north area of the dunes, Umpqua Dunes near Winchester Bay and Spinreel to Horsfall in the south.
South Jetty to Siltcoos: Located less than a mile from Florence, this popular riding area can be accessed from South Jetty Road on the northern end, and Siltcoos Beach Access Road from the south end. Here you will find five tree islands, large sand dunes and South Jetty Hill. The beach also is open to OHV use.
Umpqua Dunes: Located south of Winchester Bay, the area is accessed from Umpqua Beach #2 parking lot, and Umpqua Beach #3 day use area. This riding area is home to the largest dunes Oregon has to offer. Beach riding is NOT allowed in this area.
Spinreel to Horsfall: The largest OHV riding area in the Dunes, this section is accessed from a road located just a few miles north of Coos Bay. Another access is Hauser Sand Rd, which links the Horsfall dunes to the beach where riding is allowed until midnight.
OHV Permits, Regulations and Information
OHV permits are required when riding on state land. State, County and Forest Service law enforcement personnel patrol the Dunes Area and enforce permit and riding regulations. The State of Oregon establishes and administers OHV permits and regulations. Permits can be obtained from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department and authorized permit agents. If you have a registration from another state, it may be valid in Oregon for a limited time.
In addition to the OHV permit issued by the State of Oregon for your vehicle, the Siuslaw National Forest also requires recreation permits for most campgrounds and day use staging areas. Check the specific area where you will be riding for details.
According to state regulations, there are three classes of off-highway vehicles. They are described as follows:
Class I OHV (ATV) – A motorized, off-highway vehicle 50″ wide or less that weighs 800 pounds or less, travels on 3 or 4 tires, and has a saddle or seat.
Class II OHV (sandrail, jeep, etc.) – A motor vehicle capable of off-highway travel that weighs more than 800 pounds.
Class III OHV (motorcycle) – An off-highway motorcycle weighing 600 pounds or less.
Rules for riding in the Oregon Dunes recreation area require riders to display red or orange flags measuring 8″ x 12″ at a height of nine feet above the ground on all vehicles. Helmets are required for riders in certain age ranges, and other regulations apply as well. Detailed information about the riding rules, trails, and other services at the dunes can be obtained from the Oregon Dunes visitor center in Reedsport or by visiting the website for the Siuslaw National Forest.
The Siuslaw website also has links to camping in the Oregon Dunes recreation area. Each riding area has several Forest Service campgrounds nearby, and sites can accommodate 5 primary vehicles and 20 people in standard sites and 10 primary vehicles and 40 people in group sites. Fees range from $10 to $20 per site/night. To help promote safe and responsible OHV use, possession of alcohol is prohibited in the campsites and riding areas of the dunes.
Oregon Dunes OHV Rentals
Want to get in on the fun but you don’t have an OHV? Several private vendors are located near the various riding areas and they rent OHVs and provide tours in cooperation with the Forest Service. A list of rental businesses can be found here.
Oregon Dune Fest – An Annual
Five-Day Event For OHV Enthusiasts
For nearly a decade, Winchester Bay in the heart of the dunes has hosted Dunes Fest. This five-day event held the first week of August includes drag races, TSD rally, a poker run, nighttime excursions and more. Food, vendors, entertainment, industry exhibits and display vehicles add to the fun. For more information about the Oregon Dune Fest, check out the Reedsport/Winchester Bay Chamber of Commerce website.