Doing the Oregon Dunes (Safely)
Located near The Mill Casino • Hotel & RV Park in North Bend, Oregon lies the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. With all of the natural landmarks and features, it’s a beautiful place to traverse on an ATV or Off Highway Vehicle (OHV). As you explore, it’s important to keep safety in mind. Here’s a helpful guide with some dune riding tips to get the most out of your excursion while staying safe.
The North Bend Sand Dunes
The North Bend Sand Dunes are a large area that is split up into northern and southern portions. Starting from the south, you can gain access to the dunes by Box Car Hill, a notable landmark. This southern portion is called the Horsfall Dunes, which has a large open area to ride and access to Horsfall Beach, where you can ride along the shore during the day. Keep heading north, and you’ll reach Bull Run, which is another wide-open riding area.
Head north on Hauser Sand Road to connect to the northern portion of the Sand Dunes. Swing Hill is a great riding area as well, although today the tree that held the swing has fallen over. There are a couple of trails to the west that let you get back on the beach, or you can keep going north to reach Spinreel Hill, the most northern portion of this section. Given the distance from public access, this area is bound to be quieter and less populated than the southern dunes if you’re looking to get off the beaten path. With long strips of dunes and ample beach access, there is plenty to explore at the North Bend Sand Dunes.
While you enjoy the dunes, keeping safety in mind is incredibly important. There are several dune riding tips to follow in order to limit risk and ensure everyone has a good time while staying safe. Here are a few safety guidelines to remember:
- Mind Your Speed: Maintaining a safe speed will help you react to any unexpected changes in terrain or other riders. The Hauser Sand Road becomes narrow at points, so follow the speed limit to allow safe turns and passage of other riders going in the opposite direction.
- Cross Ridges Diagonally: When you are climbing over a large hill, make sure to do so at an angle, instead of head-on. This will let you account for any unexpected drop-offs or riders on the other side that you can’t see.
- Stay Visible: Related to the point above, always ride on top of ridges instead of at the bottom, so you won’t be out of sight to riders cresting the hills. Additionally, make sure to equip your vehicle with a whip flag that is at least 9 feet off the ground so others can see you.
- Wear a Helmet: Helmets are one of the most important safety precautions you can take. Protecting your head and wearing other protective gear on your body will reduce the chance of injury and give you peace of mind.
- Safety Flag: When operating an ATV, ORM, or side-by-side on sand or in dune areas – including Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area – you must display a red or orange flag that is at least 8×12 inches in size. The flag must be displayed 9 feet above the ground on the off-road vehicle.
Renting a Vehicle
For those who don’t own a dune buggy or ATV, renting a vehicle is the way to go. There are several options for renting beach vehicles in the Coos Bay area. The Mill Casino • Hotel & RV Park has a relationship with Spinreel Dune Buggy & ATV Rental – guest can show their room key and get 15% off all rentals.
Complete Your Trip
Now that you have the layout of the land and know how to stay safe, get ready to explore the Oregon Dunes. But the Southern Oregon Coast has even more to offer. If you are looking for a place to stay or just unwind, make your way to The Mill Casino • Hotel & RV Park, which is only a short drive away overlooking beautiful Coos Bay. Book your trip today and take in all our amenities and other great area attractions. For any other questions you may have about riding your ATV in the Oregon State Parks, consult these FAQs.