In the past year alone, over 1.3 million outdoor enthusiasts flocked to Sand Hollow State Park. That makes it the most visited park in all of Utah, beating out the second place Dead Horse Point State Park by over 300,000 annual visitors.
But what is it exactly that draws hordes of nature lovers and adrenaline junkies to Sand Hollow? From red sand dunes to hidden underwater planes, this 20,000 acre desert oasis holds fascinations around every corner.
Adventure Playground in the Desert
Just 15 scenic miles from St. George, Sand Hollow offers easy access off I-15 yet feels worlds away. Against the backdrop of the rugged Mojave Desert, giant rust-colored dunes contrast with the reservoir’s vivid turquoise waters.
You’ll find endless options to quench your thirst for adventure, from kayaking the lake to dune-buggy joyrides overlooking spectacular rock formations.
Thrill seekers can ride ATVs and UTVs along the park’s 150 miles of exciting trails. Cruise over the undulating dunes and soak up panoramas of the surrounding red cliffs and mesas.
With routes suited for all experience levels, off-roading newbies can get their wheels dirty on beginner trails while experts test their skills on rocky climbs.
If you prefer gliding on water to bumping over dirt, Sand Hollow offers some of Utah’s best boating. Skim across the reservoir on jet skis, wakeboard behind a motorboat, or paddle a kayak to secret coves. And you can enjoy it year-round since the lake never freezes over.
Hidden Depths Below the Surface
While the desert scenery steals the show on land, the clear waters of Sand Hollow hide fascinating secrets below the surface. Strap on scuba gear and descend into a world of sinking planes, hidden shipwrecks, and colorful coral reefs constructed by park staff.
You can get scuba certified right on-site with help from the professionals at Dixie Divers. Their Mobile Dive Shack at Sand Hollow Reservoir rents all the equipment you’ll need. Then their experienced instructors will show you the ropes and accompany you on underwater adventures catered to your skill level.
Diving through the submerged wreckage, you’ll feel like you’ve stumbled upon a desert-island treasure trove. Peer inside an ancient school bus, sneak through the cracked windows of sunken planes, and explore the eerie skeleton of a boat’s hull. Just don’t take any souvenirs!
Camp, Play and Refuel in Comfort
With so much ground to cover in Sand Hollow, you’ll want to stay a while. Book one of the park’s campsites or cozy rental cabins so you can settle in and enjoy multiple days of adventures. Wake up to epic sunrises over the crimson dunes, then refuel at the on-site Beach Café before hitting the trails again.
At day’s end, swap stories with fellow outdoor enthusiasts around a crackling firepit. Toast s’mores as the stars emerge, then drift off dreaming of dune buggy rides and underwater planes still left to explore.
Before embarking on your Sand Hollow adventures, be sure to stop by the Visitor Center for tips, trail maps, and souvenirs. And don’t forget the essentials like sunscreen, hats, and plenty of water – the desert sun is intense.
Hidden Gem Worth Discovering
Although it opened fairly recently in 2003, Sand Hollow has earned its spot as Utah’s most popular state park. Its convenient location near St. George puts its natural wonders within easy reach, yet the huge park never feels crowded.
Whether you spend the day kayaking, biking, splashing in the reservoir, or all of the above, Sand Hollow promises endless outdoor fun for everyone. Its plunging underwater depths hold fascinating secrets waiting to be uncovered by intrepid divers.
So next time you’re road tripping through Southern Utah, veer off I-15 and treat yourself to a detour into this desert playground. With vibrant blue waters unfurling under red cliffs, and thrills around every hairpin turn, Sand Hollow deserves a spot on any outdoor traveler’s itinerary.
Ready to trade the crowded national parks for something off the beaten path? Immerse yourself in Sand Hollow’s natural wonders and discover why over 1.3 million people flocked here last year. This hidden desert gem promises boundless adventures, sweeping panoramas, and memories to last a lifetime!