Situated east of the
Imperial Valley agricultural region, the dunes are bordered to the west
by the Coachella Canal, a waterway diverting Colorado River water
to fertile agricultural lands further north. A major east-west route
of the Union Pacific railroad skirts its eastern edge, a time-worn
testament to the impediment the dunes once played to travel between San Diego and Phoenix.
dune system consists of three areas. The northernmost area is known as
Mammoth Wash. This open area allows OHV use and offers a more isolated
South of Mammoth Wash is the North Algodones Dunes
Wilderness Area. Established in 1994, this area is closed to all
mechanized traffic, so access is by foot or on horseback only. Here
you will find endless miles of quiet solitude.
boundary of the wilderness is State Highway 78; just south of this
highway the largest and most heavily used dunes are found. With some
restrictions, these primary dunes may be traveled south toward the