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Christmas Valley Dunes, Oregon

Christmas Valley Dunes

Name: Christmas Valley Dunes

Location:

Southern Oregon, Southeast of Bend

Description:

Christmas Valley contains 11,000 acres of sand dunes available to off-highway vehicle use. The area "open" to vehicles is surrounded by several sensitive areas with more restrictive vehicle designations. The Fossil Lake area is closed to vehicles (and is fenced off), and in the Lost Forest vehicles are restricted to roads which are posted open. Although the bare dunes are open to vehicles, since they are within a Wilderness Study Area, vehicles are required to stay on trails that are posted open until they reach the bare dunes.

The area is bordered by and includes private land.  Please respect their property, or you will find yourself fenced out.

Wilderness Study Area - In 1981, 16,440 acres were designated as the Sand Dunes WSA. Although BLM later determined in 1991 that the area was not suitable for Wilderness, the area must be protected until Congress makes the final decision.

The dunes are composed largely of ash and pumice which blew into the area over 7,000 years ago when Mt. Mazama erupted forming Crater Lake. During dry times of the year, it can get quite dusty.

Elevation -  4290 ft.

Directions:

Follow State Highway 31 south from Bend about 60 miles and turn east on County Road 5-10 toward Fort Rock/Christmas Valley. After about 20 miles turn right (east) on 5-14 (Christmas Valley Hwy) to the community of Christmas Valley. Continue east past Christmas Valley approximately 10 miles, then turn left (north) on 5-14D (Fossil lake Rd.) and go 8 miles to a "T". Turn right on 5-14E (gravel), and follow it until you see small signs for the Sand Dunes (approx. 6.85 miles to camp). Road narrows and becomes washboarded. It is about 16 miles from the dunes to the town of Christmas Valley.
Christmas Valley Dunes vicinity map

GPS Coordinates:

  • Main Camping Area - N 43 21 38, W 120 22 26

  • Juniper Camping Area - N 43 21 20, W 120 23 14

  • Alternate Camping Area - N 43 20 98, W 120 24 11

Camping Area(s):

Juniper Camp - Stay on main road until you see signs for Juniper Camp. 
mile west of the Lost Forest.
Christmas Valley Dunes Camping Area

Main Camp south of Lost Forest - Continue past Juniper camp until road ends.
Christmas Valley Dunes Lost Forest

There is camping available to the left and a large area to the right.  Access to the
dunes is to the right (south). Access to the Lost Forest is to the left (north). Please be aware that this area is actually private land and access can be taken away if users do not respect this privilege.

Christmas Valley Dunes Camping Area

Area Managed By: Bureau of Land Management - Lakeview District

Fees: None

Rules:

  • Whip flag that extends 8 ft. from the ground

  • Stay on designated routes. Any trail without an "Open road" sign is closed.

  • No person shall operate an off-highway vehicle in a manner likely to cause environmental damage.  Do not run over vegetation.

  • Do not collect firewood from the Lost Forest.

  • Bring in, dispose of or possess any firewood containing nails, screws, or other metal hardware. 

  • Spark arresters are required on all OHV's.

  • Fossil Lake ACEC is closed to vehicles.

  • Lost Forest RNA - stay on designated trails only.

  • Respect private property in the area.

Christmas Valley Dunes Limited Use Area

Other Information:

  • No trash collection. Pack it in. Pack it out.

  • A few portable toilets are usually available in the camping areas during the season.

  • Area can be inaccessible during the winter and spring months due to extremely muddy roads.

  • Without a remedy, Lost Forest will be forest lost  - News article from the Oregonian.
  • The great expanse of sand dunes developed after the mass exodus of Homesteaders. 
  • Southeast Oregon Resource Advisory Council (SEOR-RAC) Meeting - Dune Tour, May 2003
  • Lost Forest Research Natural Area - 8,960 acres closed to OHVs
  • Fossil Lake - 4,160 acres closed to OHVs
  • The dunes used to be at Fossil Lake, and the are moving into the Lost Forest.

Although BLM determined in 1991 that the 6,440 acre Sand Dunes WSA was not suitable for Wilderness, the area must be protected until Congress makes the final decision.

If continued access to Christmas Valley is important to you, please take a few minutes to do the following:

1. Contact Congressman Walden (R-OR) and ask him to author a bill to release the Sand Dunes Wilderness Study Area (WSA) back to its' former use.
2. Contact your members of Congress and ask them to support a Wilderness Study Release bill so that WSA's are not left in limbo forever.

More info on Wilderness Study Area Release

Other Photos (click to enlarge):

Christmas Valley Sand Dunes    Christmas Valley Sand Dunes    Christmas Valley Sand Dunes

Christmas Valley Sand Dunes    Xmas Valley Sand Dunes    Xmas Valley Sand Dunes

Rick's Dune Riding:

Christmas Dunes - Aerial Photo

Christmas Valley Dunes - Google Interactive Satellite Image

Weather:

Christmas Valley Weather

Services in Christmas Valley:

  • Fuel: Chevron, Pacific Pride
  • Northlake Tire & Rental - 541-576-2032

Links

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