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Olancha Dunes

Eastern Sierra + White Mountains Area, California

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Olancha Dunes

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  • A sign marks the entrance to the dune area. Two-wheel drive vehicles should proceed with caution when the road turns to soft sand after about 100 yards.- Olancha Dunes
  • Four-wheel drive vehicles with clearance may be able to drive all the way to the dune area.- Olancha Dunes
  • Remnants of the paved road buried beneath soft sand today.- Olancha Dunes
  • The Eastern Sierra make a stunning backdrop to the Olancha Dunes area.- Olancha Dunes
  • The textures of the sand dunes are great to explore.- Olancha Dunes
  • A landscape of contrasts.- Olancha Dunes
  • Sand formations towering above the desert floor in one of Owens Valley's colorful sunrises.- Olancha Dunes
  • A nearby flat area can be used for camping, though BLM camping restrictions are in effect.- Olancha Dunes
  • Catching one of the colorful sunrises from atop Olancha Dunes.- Olancha Dunes
  • Visit the dunes at dawn or dusk to catch one of the Owens Valley's colorful skies.- Olancha Dunes
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Scenic environment. Few crowds.
Cons: 
Small. Frequently used and tracked by ORVs.
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Region:
Eastern Sierra + White Mountains Area, CA
Access: 
Hike-in
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
Yes, with restrictions
Distance: 
0.75 mi (1.21 km)
Year round: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
None
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Pro Contributor

Olancha Dunes is a relatively small sand dune area on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land just 2 miles east of Olancha along Highway 395. Protected with about 1,000 acres of land, the single largest dune itself covers only about 2 acres and rises to a height of about 75 feet. The somewhat unimposing scale of these dunes often leads off-roaders to bypass camping and riding Olancha in favor of other larger dune areas. This is good for those wanting to experience the dunes in a less motorized fashion.

The dirt entrance road to the dunes is signed. However, after about 100 yards the sand turns soft, so those without four-wheel drive may want to park where the sand is hard and walk about 0.75 mile to reach the dunes. Those with four-wheel drive clearance can drive to the dunes and a flat area where camping is permitted in accordance with BLM restrictions.

Aside from a couple restaurants, motels, and a gas station, there are no real amenities in the town of Olancha. The nearest real groceries are located in the town of Lone Pine 25 miles to the north or Ridgecrest 50 miles to the south. There are no amenities at the dunes.

Olancha Dunes is at the center of a scenic area. The Owens Valley enjoys particularly colorful sunrises and sunsets, and the southern end of the Eastern Sierra peaks creates a picturesque skyline to the west. For those on foot, the dunes are a small photographer's paradise. Overall, it is one of many interesting stops to make when passing along Highway 395, including the Cottonwood Creek Charcoal Kilns, the OIancha Sculpture GardenManzanar National Historic Site, and the Eastern California Museum Trail.

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(6 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(19 within a 30 mile radius)

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