After spending the better part of the winter in Southern California, we found it more difficult than normal to pack up our stuff and get on the road. This was partly due to buying stuff we didn’t yet have a place for – and an RVing phenomenon where the longer you stay in one place, the more stuck to that area you feel. Extracting yourself physically and mentally can take a little extra time. If you RV you probably know what I mean.
[box_right]Propane Fill – We usually get propane at RV Parks on the way in or out – due to their convenience. On this trip we bought propane on the road instead. We had to stop at 3 different gas stations – all that advertised propane fill – before we were finally able to get our propane tank filled. TIP: Call ahead and verify that someone on staff is available and certified to pump propane. Just because a station has propane doesn’t mean they have someone there to fill your tank! Save time by calling ahead.[/box_right]We uprooted ourselves and managed to get on the road by 11am (yikes) with only 400 miles to drive by 10pm at night when the gate to our destination – Sand Hollow State Park in Utah – closed.
Of course this didn’t take into account the extra time it takes to navigate (sit in) Southern California traffic, the time to cross the Cajon Summit, and the fact that we would lose an hour when we entered Utah. Oh – we also needed fuel and propane. We were cutting it a little close for my liking, but assuming no issues in transit we would arrive on time.
Distances always take longer in an RV. RVs are slow going uphill, tend to go slow in general, and get better fuel economy when you drive slow, too. If Google Maps says it will take 4 hours, give yourself 6 and you’ll time it about right or worse case you’ll arrive early.
Long story short, looking for propane killed an hour, we lost an hour due to time change, and we stopped for food. That meant we rolled up to the Sand Hollow gate at 9:45 with our fingers crossed that the state park employees didn’t lock up just a little early on a Sunday Night.
Arriving at Sand Hollow After Dark
Fortunately, Utah State Park employees are responsible and wonderful people – and they greeted us at the gate and checked us in (phew!).
We rarely arrive at parks or campgrounds after dark as we prefer to find a site (if first come first serve) and set up when we can see. The only downside to this is that we rarely arrive after dark and then wake up in an entirely new place – something we both love about travel. This is extra cool when you wake up in Utah, surrounded by the alien red-rock landscape.
And what a landscape it is! Sand Hollow is one of the few places in Utah you can paddle and swim around red rock in the morning, and ride ATVs all afternoon without leaving the park.
The rocks in particular at Sand Hollow are striking – like sliced loafs of red bread turned at an angle and piled on top of each other. I took way too many pictures of similar looking rocks as a result – time to clean up my photo library. 🙂
RV camping at Sand Hollow State Park Campground
Sand Hollow State Park has two campgrounds, as well as primitive beach camping along the southeastern shore. The beach camping is only suitable for 4×4 vehicles or tent camping as it’s very sandy.
The Westside campground (located in the NW corner of the park) is good sized and fully paved. When we stayed it was $28/night (included tax) for a full hookup site – which is excellent considering this also buys you access to the reservoir and the dunes, plus what a view! The westside campground is adjacent to the boat ramp, so popular with kayakers and boaters.
The Sand Pit campground on the other side of the lake has better views of the water, but is water/electric only for $25/night, and is gravel instead of paved. This campground is close to the dunes and popular with ATVers, so if you prefer quiet then we recommend sticking to the Westside Campground as no off-road vehicles are allowed in that area.
The Westside campground does have one flaw that’s worth pointing out. Many of the sites in the west side are pull through/pull out style. As the entire campground is one-way, that means that all the pull through sites on the left side have hookups on your patio side and your RV door & awning will be facing the road.
We stayed in one of these sites, and had I realized I would have reserved a site on the other side of the road, so that our door and awning faced our table.
That said – Sand Hollow is frequently very windy, and it’s a good idea to leave your awning in. One of our neighbors had their awning damaged by the wind – and theirs even had a wind sensor.
It’s not the end of the world, but it’s the first time in 4 years we’ve been in a campground configured this way. It would have made more sense to put all back-in sites on the left side of the road – but clearly whoever built the campground isn’t an RVer.
Kayaking on Sand Hollow Reservoir
While we don’t have hard-shell Kayaks, we do have an inflatable Sea Eagle Kayak that works great. We brought our Sea Eagle over near the boat ramp – inflated it in about 10 minutes, and we were off into the water.
Sand Hollow has a unique red rock island in the middle of the reservoir that I’d been itching to explore. The island area is off limits to power boats, so it’s a good place to paddle if boat wakes make you uncomfortable.
There are a few spots you can hop out on the island – and we were surprised to find owls nesting on a rocky outcropping (pics in the gallery below). Some of the most beautiful rocks are on and around the island, so if you visit the park make sure to paddle out there.
Rental Kayaks are available on the south side of the reservoir (rental ATVs too) if you don’t have a boat. We love that our SeaEagle Kayak allows us to explore areas like this when we feel like it without having to pay for a rental – but if you don’t paddle much a rental is a good option.
Sand Hollow State Park is a fantastic destination in it’s own right, but it’s also a good place to stay while visiting Zion National Park, Cedar Breaks NM, Bryce, and other Utah Parks. It’s just far enough away from Zion (40 minutes) to avoid the crowds, but close enough for easy access.
We enjoyed our week at Sand Hollow and will definitely stay again. You can Make Reservations (recommended) from the Sand Hollow Website.
Of course I took a million pictures at Sand Hollow State Park. Click for larger pics, and I hope you enjoy or at least find these useful. Until next post, happy trekking!