Sand Lake is a dune that covers about 900 acres of the Oregon coast. It is a great dune for both beginner and experienced riders. There are a variety of terrains for every type of rider. For the beginner there is a large flat area just outside the parking lot. If you are an intermediate rider there are small hills that surround the flats that can build your skills for the larger hills along the beach and further back in the dune. The experienced rider has challenges also in the form of very steep hills called "The Idiot Holes". These hills are called "The Idiot Holes" for a few reasons. One reason is the hills are very steep and there is no easy cheaters way out. Another reason for the name is the hills are riddled with trees that you have to weave around to get out. You may want to make sure you are comfortable with your bike before you attempt this area. I would also suggest trying the hill called Momma Bear Poppa Bear first since it is the easiest of the Idiot Holes.
There are two places at this dune that are most popular, the Bowl and the Beach. The obvious draw to the beach is the beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean. The whole beach is rideable and it has many trails and hills you can ride up. On a hot sunny day many people congregate on the beach because it always has a cool breeze coming off the ocean that brings the temperature down. The second and most popular Sand Lake hang out is the first bowl. This is the place where most people come to race. It also has a small fresh water lake that people like to swim in and lounge around.
Trail riding is another thing you can do at Sand Lake. There is a trail here Named "One Way". It is between 1 to 2 miles long and snakes its way through the woods near the back end along the edge of the dune. There is a reason they call it one way. The trail is fashioned to have one way traffic from South to North only, for safety reasons. If you find yourself going the wrong way you will see signs posted on the trees reminding you of this fact. While riding this trail be very careful because it is inevitable that you will find someone going in the wrong direction.
I find this to be my favorite dune to go to for a weekend of fun. It is relatively safe because it tends to not have razorbacks like most of the other Northwest dunes. It gives you the chance to hone your riding skills without worrying what lies over the next hill. There are very few drop offs unless you are near the beach or along the Idiot Holes. Take some time to try this dune. If you ride it often and take advantage of its many terrains, it can be a good training ground to prepare you for bigger and better dunes.
Sand Lake Aerial View Below
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