Dumont Dunes is a large area of sand dunes stretching about 1 mile wide by 4 miles long and standing over 400 feet tall. It is located north of the Interstate 15 town of Baker near the western edge of the Mojave Desert. This area may be of interest to outdoor enthusiasts, especially photographers; however, it comes with one very major caveat: the area is maintained for, and heavily used by, ORV enthusiasts.
Photographers who have visited large sand dune sites are probably aware that the changing detail and shadows of dunes possess a photogenic drama and sensuality. They provide opportunities for a wide variety of photography styles ranging from wide and epic landscapes to minute and detailed grains of sand or a dramatic set of footprints. A visit during the right time would allow photographers, or just someone wanting to spend time with the cascading layers of mountain backdrops here, to sit and take in the sites and the sound of the desert wind. Visitors could also enjoy the dark night skies and have a refuge for a period of time, as camping is also allowed here.
HOWEVER...Dumont Dunes is a VERY popular ORV site, and the BLM operates it primarily in the interest of campers and visitors here to ride their bikes and vehicles around the dunes. During all but the cold season, and particularly on weekends and holidays, there may be hundreds of ORV recreationists camped out and riding around the site. The noise and traffic is anything but conducive to outdoor/nature photography, not to mention a very serious safety risk to those venturing into the area without proper safety gear and awareness. Day use prices, not to mention the assortment of pricing plans, are also geared toward those looking to make a weekend of camping and riding their vehicles on the dunes, and theyn may be far from ideal for those wanting to stop by for a short period of time to check out the site.
The dunes, a geologically significant area, were formed about 18,000 years ago when sand from the bottom of drying Death Valley-area lakes began to blow and collect. The tallest of the dunes stand about 450 feet above the valley floor. The Amargosa River, a seemingly out-of-place river in the middle of the arid Mojave, also runs adjacent to the dunes and must be crossed when entering the dune area.
For those interested in visiting the dunes with no plans centering around ORV riding, plan a visit mid-week during the winter months, when the possibility of minimizing the presence of ORV riders is the strongest.
There are no amenities aside from vault toilets at the dunes. Camping is allowed at an additional fee. Nearest groceries and amenities are in the town of Baker, approximately 30 miles south.
Dumont Little Dunes can be accessed from Highway 127 just south of the turnoff to the main dune area, but it is not very scenic and used more by beginner and young ORV riders.