HomeSand DunesHackberry Lake OHV Area (Carlsbad New Mexico)

Hackberry Lake OHV Area (Carlsbad New Mexico)

Overview Of Hackberry Lake OHV Area

  • Open: Year Round
  • Latitude / Longitude: 32.61878556, -103.9442778
  • Usage: Moderate
  • Managed by: BLM
  • Fee: Free
  • Camping: Yes
  • Amenities: None. No toilets. No water.
  • Location: Southeast New Mexico

There are several entrances to the dunes. These directions are to the main staging area.
From Carlsbad NM
Travel 15 miles on US 62/180 E
Left on NM 360 N
Drive 5.7 miles
Right on Shugart Rd. (CR 222)
Drive 6.8 miles
Dunes are on the right

Hackberry Lake Sand Dunes

Hackberry Dunes are also sometimes referred to as the Loco Hills Dunes.

This off roading area is 55,000 acres offering a nice mix of terrain.

There is a soft ATV sand dune complex surrounded by open desert with about 90 miles of trails.

The dunes have nice soft sand while the trails have a mix of sand and loose soil mixed with small rocks.

The dune complex is under a mile long and about a quarter mile wide.

The riding is primarily on wide paths through the desert scrub as well as desert riding through the arroyos (washes).

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You’ll find miles of trails with sand whoops, single track, rolling hills and tight washes.

When events are under way, portions of the OHV area may be closed for public use. The Carlsbad 100 Motocross Race is held annually at Hackberry Lake OHV Area. This event is held in spring, usually early May before it get too hot.

Carlsbad 100 Motocross Race

Hackberry Lake Campground

  • Fee: Free (no amenities)
  • Location: Staging area
  • Fee: Free
  • ADA Accessible: No
  • Facilities:
    • 5 sites
    • Picnic tables
    • Shade shelters
    • Vault toilet
  • Need To Know: A Steady stream of big rigs driving to the mines, so a lot of road noise 24/7

Wild ATV
  • The riding season is from October to May. Summer is too hot for riding.
  • NM has strict rules regarding OHV operators less than 18 years old. (see below)
  • Riders less than 18 years old are NEVER allowed to carry passengers.

Rules & Regulations

New Mexico OHV Laws


  • All OHV must be registered with the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division to ride on public lands. (Registration costs up to $53 for two years.)


  • Out of state vehicle registration is legal and accepted.
  • If your state does not have OHV registration, then you must obtain a use permit to operate legally on public lands in New Mexico.

BLM New Mexico | Flickr

Non-Resident Registration Permits

  • Fees:
    • $18 for 90 days
    • $48 for two years

People from these states WILL NEED to purchase a New Mexico OHV registration permit: Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia

Purchase An Out Of State OHV Registration Permit: New Mexico OHV Registration. (You will need to login/create new account before you will be able to reach the registration page.)

New Mexico Game and Fish: New Mexico ATV Laws

BLM New Mexico | Flickr

Youth Safety Requirements

Children younger than 6 are not allowed to operate an ATV on public land.

Riders younger than 18:

  • Are required to pass an OHV safety course.
  • Need to carry the safety permit issued by the OHV safety course with them.
  • Must always wear an approved helmet and eye protection
  • Can never carry a passenger, even on or in an OHV designed for passengers.
  • Must always be visually supervised by an adult until they have a valid drivers’ license.
  • Are only allowed to operate ATVs and ROVs that are an age appropiate size as established by rule of the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF).

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Prohibited On Public Lands

It is illegal for any person to operate an OHV:

  • Carelessly, recklessly or in a negligent manner that endangers the person or property of another.
  • While under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs.
  • In pursuit of and with intent to hunt or take a species of animal or bird protected by law.
  • In pursuit of or to harass livestock in any manner that negatively effects the condition of the livestock.
  • Upon or within an earthen tank or other structure intended to water livestock or wildlife—except if the off-highway motor vehicle is on an off-highway motor vehicle route designated by the landowner or land management agency.
  • In a manner that directly negatively effects or interferes with persons engaged in agricultural practices.
  • In excess of 10 mph within 200 feet of a business, animal shelter, horseback rider, bicyclist, pedestrian, livestock or occupied dwelling.
  • Unless in possession of the person’s registration certificate or nonresident permit.
  • Unless the vehicle is equipped with a spark arrester approved by the Forest Service, provided that a snowmobile is exempt from this provision. To report an OHV violation, visit online: or contact: 800-366-4868.

New Mexico Off Highway Vehicle Guide

Public Land Additional Rules

  • Spark arrester required
  • All OHVs operated on public land must produce less than 96 dB(A)
  • Anyone operating an off-highway vehicle on public land must have a valid state license or “learners” permit.
  • Ride only in areas or on trails open for use.
  • All travel in the Limited OHV Area is restricted to maintained oilfield roads, on trails and two tracks that are designated and signed, or in dry, unvegetated wash bottoms that are wider than the widest part of your vehicle.
  • All overnight use requires a permit.
  • Firewood gathering is prohibited.
  • All shooting is prohibited.
  • Permits are required for commercial, competitive and organized group events.

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