Welcome to Ocotillo Wells SVRA
to the Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area. More than 80,000
acres of magnificent desert are open for off-highway exploration and
recreation within the boundaries portrayed on the park map are operated
by California State Parks. Outside the boundaries, to the south and
east, large tracts of BLM land (U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau
of Land Management) are also open to off-highway vehicles. The western
boundary and part of the northern boundary connect with the
half-million acre Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, which is closed to
off-highway recreation, but open to exploration by highway-legal
vehicles along established primitive roads.
The rangers and
staff of Ocotillo Wells are dedicated to providing a safe and enjoyable
desert riding environment, and to ensuring that a quality experience
remains available for future generations.
No fees are collected
for camping or day use. Open camping is permitted throughout the unit
for up to 30 days per calendar year. Vault toilets, shade ramadas,
picnic tables, and fire rings are located in the Quarry, Main Street,
and Holmes Camp areas. Water is not available. Vehicle repair shops,
fuel, telephones, groceries, a motel and restaurants are available in
the neighboring small town of Ocotillo Wells and along Highway 78 where
it borders the park.
Self guided tours are available. Check the
nearest bulletin board, or visit the Ranger Station to find out about
Below is a suggested self-guided tour for
off-road vehicles with high-clearance and 4-wheel drive capability, or
all-terrain vehicles. The tour can take anywhere from a few hours to
all day depending on your pace. If you have limited time, save the
remotely located Pumpkin Patch and Gas Domes for another day.
BLOW SAND HILL
sand is a highly effective agent of abrasion, as anyone who has been in
a sandstorm will agree. Wind is one of the few agents that can and do
carry material uphill. Here, the wind carries sand for miles before
piling it up into this huge dune. Perhaps the most popular spot in the
park, Blow Sand is illuminated by a circle of headlights on many
This 200 foot-high
granite and sand island is named for the challenge it presents to the
OHV enthusiast. It is actually an ancient decomposing mountaintop. A
dark coat of desert varnish covers the rocks as a result of exposure to
sunlight. There are several old hidden mine shafts along the
mountainside. The mines are said to be haunted. People have reported
seeing flickering lights near the mines at night after a rainfall.
mesquite sand dunes are an oasis for wildlife. The springs seep from
the ground, especially after a heavy rain. Coyotes often dig holes to
drink. Part of the area is designated as a cultural preserve.
Archeological investigations indicate that several Native American
groups and early settlers used the area. The shade and availability of
water made it a convenient spot to rest, to meet, and to trade goods.
Some of the dunes have been fenced to allow for natural restoration.
Please do not ride close to the edge of the dunes as this kills the
mesquite roots. Without these shrubs, the sand dunes would blow away.
beneath the reef and examine the soil. You will find not rock or sand
but fragments of fossilized oyster shells. Look closer and you will
find entire shells and even pieces of the reef which have fallen down
the slope. The reef is estimated to be 4 million years old! It was
pushed out of an ancient sea during a time of tremendous upheaval when
the distant mountain ranges where formed. Please help preserve the
reef. Find other Ã¢â‚¬Å“hillsÃ¢â‚¬Â to climb, and encourage others to do the same.
reach this natural phenomenon, you must exit the park on the Gas Dome
Trail east of Pole Line Road. These mysterious, volcano-like mud pots
of bubbling liquid are located approximately one and one-half miles
into the public lands of the Bureau of Land Management. Cold to the
touch, the gray water releases large bubbles of gas. For information
about recreational opportunities and attractions in the BLM area,
contact the El Centro office (619) 353-1060.
unique landscape is the result of wind and water continuously eroding
the surface soil and revealing these globular sandstone concretions.
Such concretions are believed to be formed by the natural cementing of
sand particles to a small object such as a piece of shell, a grain of
sand, or even an insect. Please help preserve the Pumpkin Patch and the
nearby ridges where new pumpkin-size desert Ã¢â‚¬Å“pearlsÃ¢â‚¬Â are emerging.
If a member of your party becomes lost, donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t
panic. Make a note of where the person was last seen and at what time.
Locate a Ranger either in person or by telephone. The Rangers know how
to conduct search and rescue operations.
A lost person is usually found fairly quickly when Rangers are promptly notified.
It is usually best not to transport an
injured person away from an accident scene before medical personnel
arrive. Moving a victim improperly can make an injury worse,
particularly when the injury is to the head, neck, or back areas. If
possible, send someone to find a Ranger. Most business establishments
in the Ocotillo Wells area know how to contact a Ranger quickly. Park
Rangers are the closest source of help, and are usually the first
professionals to arrive at an accident scene.