Monahans Sandhills State Park Overview:
Just west of Odessa is Monahans Sandhills State Park and it is well worth an over night stay or a day trip. Monahans Sandhills State Park is 3840 acres of wind sculptured living sand dunes, some of which are up to 70 feet high. The park is only a small portion of a huge dune field that extends about 200 miles from south of Monahans westward and north into New Mexico. The Park is set in one of the areas where the dunes are still active and constantly being shaped by the wind and rain. The dunes grow and change shape due to seasonal prevailing winds and you can watch them change whenever the wind is blowing. The majority of the dunes are stabilized by vegetation.
Monahans Sandhills is very clean and well maintained and has a day use are on the edge of some of the tallest dunes. The campgrounds are beside some smaller dunes and a short walk to the larger dunes. When you visit the dunes you start to experience what it might be like in the Sahara Desert and you imagine that at any time you might see a camel or maybe even Lawrence of Arabia. Also, be prepared to find sand in places you never thought it could go and for weeks after your visit you'll still find an occasional gain of sand whereever you have been.
Amenities and Fun Things To Do:
Monahans Sandhills State Park has 26 campsites with water, electric, and a covered picnic table a few feet from the dunes. If the wind is blowing, be prepared to get sand blasted but don't let that stop you from visiting and camping at this park.
There is also an 800-acre equestrian area with a trailer parking lot and a fenced corral to tie and water horses - potable water is available. There are no marked trails and the terrain is heavy sand, mesquite, and brush.
Some of the other amenities at Monahans Sandhills include:
- a day use area with covered picnic tables and grills on the edge of the tallest dunes
- a Visitor Center with lots of information on the area and dunes
- a group dining hall (constructed in 1903 and first used as a railroad section house) with a kitchen and a restroom
- a quarter mile interpretive trail
- dump station
- showers and bathroom facilities
- small park store
- rental sand discs and sand toboggans
A Typical Texas Outsider Day:
We came to Monahans Sandhills to experience the sand dunes. We started at the Visitor Center and learned more about the dunes and area. Then it was off to enjoy the quarter mile interpretive trail, followed by a couple hours playing in the dunes. We rented a sand disc and slide down the hills, hiked around the top and bottom of the hills, rolled or ran down a few of them, and tried to figure out what animal or insect make the unusual tracks in the shifting sands. A week later we were still finding sand in the shoes, motorhome, and back at the house.
Cool Nearby Activities:
When we visited, we didn't stay long enough to check out other things to see and do nearby. Within the park, exploring and playing in the dunes, walking the trail, and enjoying the Visitor Center is all there is to do. Odessa is about 30 miles east.
- Overall Rating:
- Scenic Beauty:
- Things To Do:
Additional Pictures of Monahans Sandhills State Park
Texas Outside uses a tough rating scale and it’s difficult for a campground to get a “10”. Each park is rated on:
- Scenic Beauty: a campground that is flat with no trees or character gets a “1” and hills, lots of trees, beautiful lake site, and lush ground cover gets a “10”
- Park Condition: the cleaner, well kept, and maintained campgrounds receive high scores
- Amenities: we are looking for lots of amenities like restrooms, dump stations, playgrounds, boat ramps, shelters, concession stand, rental toys, and more.
- Campsites: low scores are given for sites that are right next to each other (good for getting to know your neighbors, but not what we’re looking for when we’re camping); have no lantern holder, no water or electricity, no fire pit, no grill, or no picnic table (or it’s rotten wood); have no trees and no view; the ground cover is crushed rock (my bare feet hate that stuff!); and they require a lot of work to get your rig level.
- Things To Do: Bonus points are given for campgrounds that offer lots of fun things to do at the park or very nearby – this includes: biking, hiking, climbing, boating, entertainment, golf, swimming, fishing, volleyball, horseshoes, and more