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Beginner's Guide to Sandboarding at Killpecker Sand Dunes

On your way to Yellowstone National Park, don’t miss Killpecker Sand Dunes, one of the largest active sand dune fields in the world. With beautiful sand dunes reaching 100 feet in height, Killpecker Sand Dunes is like a giant sandbox for the whole family to play in.

Just 32 miles from Rock Springs, Killpecker Sand Dunes are free and one of Southwest Wyoming’s best-kept secrets. Lose the crowds of the big national parks and enjoy a day of fun in the sand. Here’s everything you need to know about sledding and sandboarding down these gorgeous dunes.

What is a Sand Sled or Sandboard?

There are two great ways to sled or surf Killpecker’s legendary sand dunes. One way is to sled down, coasting over the sand. A sand sled looks similar to a sled, but it’s flat and wooden and resembles those wooden spoons used by ice cream shops to serve ice cream samples. It has two handholds for you to grasp. Sandboards are also wooden and look similar to snowboards but are much lighter. There are two footholds to slip your feet into before you cruise down the dunes.

Where to Get Your Sandboard for Killpecker Sand Dunes

Surfing or sandboarding the Killpecker Sand Dunes just got way easier. If you don’t own your own sandboard or sand sled, you can buy your own at the Explore Rock Springs & Green River Visitor Center in Rock Springs at 1641 Elk St. You also have the option of renting a board. Sand board rentals are available at Rockin Rollin Rentals & Sales (307) 269-7580. Once you’ve purchased or rented, load them in the car and point your wheels toward the sand dunes for a day in the sand.

How to Sled and Sandboard Down Sand Dunes

Sledding at Killpecker Sand Dunes is just sledding down a snowy hill but without cold snow blowing into your face as you go down. To get situated on your board, you’ll want to sit down on the board with your knees bent and your feet resting at the end of the board. Next, lean slightly back to keep the weight off the front of your board. Then push off from the top of the dune, put your hands in the hand holds and coast down the dunes.

Sandboarding takes adventuring in the sand dunes up a notch. While it may seem more technical than just sitting down on a sled, it’s a really fun way to experience the dunes. Afterall, what’s the worst that can happen? If you lose your balance, you’ll fall in a pile of soft, forgiving sand. Snowboarders will take to it immediately since it is so similar to snowboarding, but even if you haven’t snowboarded, sandboarding is easy to learn. Just like a snowboard, you’ll put your feet in the two footholds on your board. Then, point your board down the dunes, bending your knees and relaxing into a slightly crouched position with your head up.

Best Times to Visit Killpecker Sand Dunes


Summer is a great time to visit Killpecker Sand Dunes because it’s so comfortable to explore everything there is to do in this 55-mile-long sandy oasis. In the summer, the best time to go to the sand dunes is early morning before the sand heats up and before afternoon thunderstorms roll in. Be sure to have your shoes with you at all times as you explore the dunes. While it may feel cumbersome to carry them, especially if the sand feels cool when you arrive, the sand heats up surprisingly fast and can really burn your feet or your pets’ paws. Making it back to the car can get dangerously hot for the bottoms of your feet. Stuff your shoes in your backpack, so you have them when you need them.


While the sands stay cool in spring, springtime features two different natural hazards—snow and wind. Check with the Bureau of Land Management office in Rock Springs regarding road conditions if you arrive when the area is still experiencing snowfall. In addition, Wyoming is known for its spring winds, so if you visit during this season, be aware that the wind can make for an unpleasant experience.

However, if you visit in calm conditions, spring is a great time to look for wildlife and their babies, including elk and wild horses. A sight to see is pronghorn antelope who are just starting their trek in April and May to the area around Grand Teton National Park where they spend their summers.


Early fall is a great time to visit the dunes because temperatures are lower than summer and thunderstorms are not common. In addition to a ton of other wildlife, you may catch sight of pronghorn antelopes. Pronghorn antelopes migrate to and from this area and Grand Teton National Park every year to winter here. They typically arrive in October or November, completing a 170-330 mile migration. It’s the second-longest wildlife migration in North America, with caribou taking first place.


Winter is an inhospitable time to visit the dunes. Freezing snowstorms and a lack of road maintenance combine to make a winter trek doable for only the most experienced and prepared outdoors people. Call the Bureau of Land Management in Rock Springs ahead of time to find out what roads are drivable and if you need chains for your vehicle. Because there is no cell service or services, getting stuck in the snow here can be very dangerous.

Best Things to Do At Killpecker

While sledding and surfing the sand dunes offer hours of family fun, there are plenty of other things to do, including these top five Killpecker Sand Dunes favorites. They include riding your ATV or dune buggy across 11,000 acres of sand, hiking through the sand dunes and seeing Boar’s Tusk, an extraordinary 400-foot remnant of an ancient volcano. There’s also visiting the Leucite Hills to see wild horses. With hidden springs in the hills, these wild horses here have plenty to eat and drink in this stark and stunning landscape. Desert elk also live in the area, and what makes them so unique is you can only see them in Wyoming’s Red Desert.

How To Get to Killpecker Sand Dunes

Getting to Killpecker Sand Dunes from Rock Springs is about a 32-mile drive, taking you into the heart of one of Wyoming’s vast open spaces. While the drive may sound relatively short, it’s an adventurous drive. You’ll need a four-wheel drive vehicle or a vehicle with high clearance to navigate the dirt roads on the way. Keep in mind that cell phone reception is limited or non-existent, making this area feel even more remote.

Plus, there are no services, so pack water, sunscreen and extra snacks and be sure to fill your gas tank before leaving Rock Springs. Having a spare tire is recommended, as well. It’s always a good idea to tell someone where you’re headed and when you think you will be back. And lastly, don’t drive on the dunes in your vehicle unless you want to get stuck—ATVs and motorbikes are far better suited for the sandy terrain.

From Rock Springs, take U.S. 191 north for about 10 miles. Take a right-hand turn at the sign that reads “petroglyphs, Sand Dunes, Boar’s Tusk” onto CR 4-18. Drive on this for about 20 miles. Then take a left onto CR 4-17. From Point of Rocks, exit I-80 and head east on the paved road, driving past the Jim Bridger Power Plant and coal mine. Continue driving west as the road forks to the Natural Corrals. Turn north over the ridge to the wildlife-viewing area and the Killpecker Dune Field.

Where to Stay or Camp Near Killpecker

There is one designated campground called the Killpecker Sand Dunes Open Play Area Campground. It ‘s ADA accessible and has a vaulted toilet and fire rings. There is no water, so if you’re planning on setting up your tent, you’ll want to bring jugs of water with you—enough to cook with, as well as to wash your cooking pots, pans, utensils, plates and hands. No glass bottles are allowed, so pack beverages that come in aluminum cans instead. Beyond Killpecker Sand Dunes, there are a number of campgrounds in the area.

For those who’d rather sleep in a comfortable bed with the modern comforts of a hotel, Rock Springs and Green River are home to a number of national chain hotels.