HomeSand DunesMescalero Sands North Dune OHVA (Roswell, New Mexico)

Mescalero Sands North Dune OHVA (Roswell, New Mexico)

Overview Of Mescalero Sands North Dune OHVA

  • Open: Year Round
  • Latitude / Longitude: 33.40272083, -103.8610119
  • Usage: Moderate
  • Managed by: BLM
  • Fee:
    • Individual: $3.00. 
    • Vehicle (2 or more people): $5.00. 
    • Bus (over 15 people): $15.00. 
  • Camping: Yes
  • Location: Southeast New Mexico


  • From Roswell
  • Travel east 45 miles on US 380
  • Turn south at the sign

Mescalero Sand Dunes OHVA

The dune area is 610 acres of sand dune riding with wide open soft sand trail riding between the separate dune complexes. The dunes are over 90 feet tall with super soft quartz sand.

There are three parking areas to access the dunes. All the areas are connected by a series of trails, so it’s easy to access all the dunes and riding areas no matter where you park.

The most northern portion of the riding area is called “The Bowl”, which unsurprisingly, features a large soft sand dune bowl.

The Cottonwood parking area allows access to the southern portion of the dunes. The only bathroom available is at the Cottonwood parking area. It’s just a vault toilet, no water.

The road in is safe for all vehicles, as are the parking lots/staging areas, but outside of these areas is very soft sand.

It is easy to get stuck, so it is not recommended that you ride anything other than on OHV into the dunes or even the surrounding area.

BLM Website: Mescalero Sands North Dune OHVA

Camping And Parking Lots

Camping Fee: Free (but must pay day use fee)
ADA Accessible: No
No amenities
No water is available at Mescalero OHV Area
RV camping is allowed in the parking lots.

The Bowl Parking Lot

This parking area allows access to the northern portion of the dune complex. The Bowl area has tables with shade shelters.

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Middle Lot (no amenities)

Cottonwood Parking Lot

This parking area allows access to the southern portion of the dune complex. Cottonwood has three shelters with picnic tables and grills. Cottonwood also has a vault bathroom.

Dispersed camping is allowed around the dunes, but unless you have 4×4 it’s not recommended. The sand is very soft and an RV can easily get stuck.

Wild ATV
  • The riding season is from October to April. 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.

Non-resident Registration Permits

$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.

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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).

Michele | Flickr

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 (brochure)

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.

New Mexico Game and Fish: New Mexico ATV Laws

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