Glamis Sand Dunes
Photo: A rider looks out over the Glamis Dunes
|Other Names:||Imperial Sand Dunes, ISDRA, Algadones Sand Dunes|
|Off-Road Use:||Open Use with restricted areas|
|Difficulty:||Moderate to Difficult|
|Nearest Cities:||Brawley, CA, Yuma, AZ|
|Map Links:||Google Map Yahoo Map|
|Satellite Map:||Google Sat|
|Special Map:||BLM Map (pdf)|
|Google Earth:||Glamis Dunes.kmz|
|Area Size:||45 miles by 6 miles, 118,000 acres open to OHV use|
|Elevation:||50 to 300 ft.|
The Glamis Sand Dunes are the most popular off-road destination in Southern California. Hundreds of thousands of visitors arrive on various holiday weekends, often grouping in popular areas during specific times of the day, such as Oldsmobile Hill in the afternoon and Gecko Road in the afternoon. The BLM estimates that over 1.4 million visitors come to these sand dunes each year for day-use riding or to camp over weekends and ride in the dunes.
The Glamis Sand Dunes, also known as Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area, are located southeast of the Salton Sea in southern California at the border with Arizona and Baja California del Norte, Mexico. The field is approximately 45 miles long by 6 miles wide and extends along a northwest-southeast line that correlates to the prevailing northerly and westerly wind directions. The dunefield is a wilderness area, with the only significant human structures being the All-American Canal that cuts across the southern portion from west to east and the Coachella Canal on the eastern border of the dunefield. The name "Algodones Dunes" refers to the entire geographic feature, while the administrative designation for that portion managed by the Bureau of Land Management  is the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area.
The Imperial Sand Dunes are the largest mass of sand dunes in California, with over 118,000 acres of land. OHV activities are permitted on some of the sand dunes, while other areas are permanently or temporarily closed. A camping permit is required upon arrival.
- Competition Hill
- Oldsmobile Hill
- Gecko Road
- Roadrunner Campground
- All-American Canal
- Osborne Overlook
- Glamis Flats
- Lizard Hill
- Wash Road
- Brawley Slide
- China Wall (Glamis)
- Glamis Beach Store
- Paradise "Pair of Dice"
- Central Closure #1 (2,000 acres): This circular shaped closure is located approximately 1 mile east of Gecko Road, between Gecko and Roadrunner Campgrounds.
- Central Closure #2 (43,345 acres): The western boundary begins 1/4 mile south of Roadrunner campground and follows the Sand Highway to "5 mile drop" on the New Coachella Canal. The road into Patton Valley from the "5 mile drop" will remain open, but the dunes directly to the south of the road will be closed. The southern boundary is located directly north of Patton Valley and the Olgilby Camp Area. The eastern boundary follows the wash road. The northern boundary starts about 9 miles south of the Glamis Store and follows a section line across the dunes to the Sand Highway.
- Southern Closure (160 acres): Located just east of Midway Campground and south of Grays Well Road.
- Patton Valley Closure (310 acres): Located near Patton Valley.
- Eastern Camping Closure (25,000 acres): Located near the eastern boundary of the ISDRA, but outside of the recreation area. This area is closed to camping only.
The sand dunes are thought to have originated from the beach sands of ancient Lake Cahuilla, a water body created by episodic diversions of the Colorado River into the Imperial Valley instead of the Gulf of California. The Imperial Dunes have formed primarily as a result of opposing seasonal winds. Winter winds come from the northwest, but often reverse to the southeast in summer. The stronger winter winds are slowly pushing the dune system southeastward.
Maps and GPS Coordinates
Glamis Sand Dunes Coordinates: 32.953224° -115.100498°
- Satellite image from Google Maps, Windows Live Local, WikiMapia
- Street map from Google Maps, or Yahoo! Maps, or Windows Live Local
- Topographic map from TopoZone
- Aerial image or topographic map from TerraServer-USA
- Find nearby Geocaching locations
- Find this location with Google Earth
- Official BLM Site
- DuneGuide.com - Imperial Sand Dunes
- DuneGuide.com - Glamis
- DuneGuide.com - Gordons Well
- DuneGuide.com - Buttercup
- American Sand Association
- ISDRA Technical Review Team
- Glamis Weather