November 2017 – Sand Hollow State Park is another jewel in southwestern Utah‘s stunningly beautiful crown of red rock scenery. Situated just 30 miles from Zion National Park, it is a newer state park that opened in 2003, and it boasts a beautiful blue reservoir, vivid orange beaches and a spectacular mountain backdrop.
Just like nearby Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, Sand Hollow is a lesser known gem in an area that is overflowing with beautiful National Parks.
As we noted in our post about Kanab, Utah, with Zion, Bryce and the Grand Canyon so close by, many RVers and other travelers have no idea there is even more to see in the area.
The man-made lake is bordered at one end by a dam which captures the flow of the Virgin River. At the other end there’s an inviting collection of red rocks. The beaches surrounding the reservoir are filled with vivid orange sand. The overall effect of blue sky, blue water, red rocks and sand is very dramatic and makes for a fun time wandering around with a camera.
The reservoir at Sand Hollow State Park is beloved by people who like to play outside in nature. Out on the water in the distance, we saw some folks in a canoe making their way from shore to shore. The mountains rose behind them in awesome colors as the sun played hide and seek, casting shadows across the hilly contours.
We no longer have our inflatable Hobie kayak, but being here on the water’s edge watching kayakers out on the reservoir got our minds turning. It sure looked like fun out there!
Down at our feet, the water was extremely clear. Tiny wavelets lapped the shore, and we could see every detail of the rocks under the water.
There are several RV campgrounds and camping options within Sand Hollow State Park. Westside Campground has full hookups, paved loops, big sites and wonderful views.
What we loved, though, was being down by the water where the reeds grow thick and tall.
Wonderfully dark storm clouds hung over the mountains late one afternoon, but just as the sun started its final descent into the horizon behind us, it lit up the red rocks on the far shore as if pointing them out with a spot light.
At dawn pastel pinks filled the sky and water.
The orange sand beaches set aside for day use and picnics are endless. Deep soft sand dunes run down to the lake, and big groups of seagulls pierce the air with their haunting calls.
In one spot I caught a reflection of the distant mountains in a mirror-like pool in front of me.
We were blessed to have been able to live on the water in our sailboat for a few years, and I’ve been lucky enough to live on the water in other boats and in a beach house for a few years in previous lives before that.
There is something about a large expanse of water filling a landscape that makes it come alive. It is ever changing, going from placid to fierce, from white to dark blue, and at Sand Hollow it even turns shades of pink, red and orange by the shore.
Sand Hollow State Park has a second campground with paved loops, gravel campsites and hookup options ranging from dry camping to water/electric. There’s also a spiffy toilet and shower building. It’s called Sand Pit Campground, which is a little unfair, because it isn’t a pit and it isn’t any sandier than anywhere else in the park.
I mean, if you go to Sand Hollow, you go to play in the sand and on the beach, right?!
There is also open boondocking (“primitive camping”) too, but you’ve got to scout it out very carefully and evaluate whether your RV can make it down and back on the soft sand trails that lead there. We gave it a shot with our buggy and were glad we have our new truck with its limited slip differential and rock solid four wheel drive.
The view out our door was breathtaking. And what we loved was the way the view was constantly changing.
Claude Monet is famous for his series of impressionist paintings of haystacks. Each painting is unique, and the series shows how the light playing on the haystacks totally changed their look and feel, morning, noon and night.
For the same reasons, we became enraptured by the picnic table at our campsite.
Following Monet’s infinite simplicity in choosing the name “Haystacks,” we call our series of photos “Picnic Table.”
During our stay, not only did the sun and clouds chase each other around the sky, leaving a continuous trail of beautiful artwork behind, but the moon played her part too. During sunset one evening, we caught her silent ascent as she peeked between the clouds and winked at us over the mountains.
If your RV travels take you to the southwestern part of Utah, drop by Sand Hollow State Park and dig your toes in the sand!
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More info about Sand Hollow State Park:
The beach and sand are wonderful to play in at Sand Hollow, but we did see notices posted about what to do if you go swimming and end up with “Swimmer’s Itch.” Read up a bit on this before you jump in for a dip!
- Sand Hollow State Park Official Website
- More about Sand Hollow State Park
- Camping at Sand Hollow – Reserve America
- Sand Hollow Side-by-Side Adventure Rally – We had a blast test driving Polaris and Can-Am side-by-sides!
- Location of Sand Hollow State Park – Interactive Google Maps
Other blog posts from Utah’s Red Rock Country:
- Capitol Reef NP – Cathedral Valley – A Stunning Backcountry Drive in Utah!
- Red Canyon – Arches Trail – Windows & Hoodoos in Utah!
- Casto Canyon Trail – A Delightful ATV / UTV Ride!
- Cedar Breaks Wildflowers + Stunning Brian Head Overlook
- Cedar Breaks National Monument – Wild Skies & Summer Storms
- Cedar Breaks National Monument – Glorious Amphitheater of Red Rocks!
- Bryce Canyon in Winter – Snow and Lace on the Red Rock Spires!
- Goblin Valley State Park Utah – One Gigantic Playground!
- Utah Scenic Byway 24 RV Trip – Capitol Reef National Park
- Bryce Canyon – Hiking The Rim & Navajo Loop + A Tourist Time-lapse!
- Canyonlands National Park UT – Island in the Sky (and Night Skies!)
- Dead Horse Point State Park, Utah – Magical Sunrises!
- Arches National Park Utah – A Playground of Soaring Red Rock Bridges!
- Moab Utah – Red Rocks and Snowcapped Mountains
- Canyonlands National Park Utah – Hiking in the Needles District!
- Newspaper Rock Utah – Petroglyphs and Rock Art from the Ancients
- Valley of the Gods & Goosenecks State Park, Utah – Beautiful!
- Flaming Gorge Utah – Fiery canyons, a cool river, and nearly tame bighorn sheep
- Capitol Reef National Park Utah – Awe-inspiring!
- Natural Bridges National Monument & Utah’s Bicentennial Highway
- Red Canyon Utah is an Overlooked Treasure
- Cedar Breaks National Monument in Utah – Better Than Bryce?
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Among your most interesting photography…all those subtle pinks, oranges and blues…and my favorites are the sun-lights beneath the changing cloud formations ! And the engaging narrative matches the fine photography…
Thank you! It was very funny that we kept taking photos of that same picnic table scene, but the light was different minute by minute, and every time we turned around we had to grab our cameras to try to capture the beauty!
Thanks again for sharing your adventures with us. Another great post with amazing photography. One day…..
You are welcome, Jeff. It will all be there for you when your time comes, and it will be all the sweeter for waiting!!
Gorgeous photos as usual. Love the picnic table series! Can’t wait to return to Southern Utah and explore this area.
Thank you, Martha! If the park rangers only knew how photogenic that picnic table was!! Enjoy your travels in Southern Utah…we’ll be back many more times too!
As we sit at gate C-11 in Logan, I wish we were with you guys in Utah. Those sunsets and moon rising were beautiful. I’m not sure that even Aruba will be able to match the beauty of the SW US.
Oh gosh. Aruba is pretty spectacular, and I wouldn’t mind sipping an umbrella drink with my toes in the sand and warm turquoise waves lapping the shore by my beach towel right about now. Have a blast — it’s all good and it’s great to be alive!!
Such beautiful pictures!! When I got to the moon rising picture, it gave me goosebumps!! 🙂
How cool is that?! Thanks, Deborah. I hope you have a chance to see a full moon rise there some day!
Great photography, the moon shot is fantastic! I have seen much of Utah but not Sand Hollow State Park. Thanks for sharing this beautiful location which we will be sure to check out on our next trip out west. It was a bit surprising to see Full Hookups out in such a serene area. Are there large power lines running through the park?
Thanks, Ed! There aren’t power lines running through the park. The Westside Campground is located near the Visitors Center at one end of the park, and both have power. It’s a very well designed state park.