Each year thousands of people head out to the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area, (Glamis), making it the largest city for miles. Glamis riders travel from all over the world to ride the sandy hills, that plays host to a crowd of over 400,000 people on any holiday weekend. We put together a quick guide on things you need to know about camping at the Imperial Sand Dunes.
The recreational area is composed of various areas, Glamis, Ogilby Road, Dune Buggy Flats, Gray’s Well and Gordon’s Well are just to name a few. Some areas have quick access to the sand dunes while others are a short ride away. To determine which area is best, determine what you will be camping in and what you plan to camp with. When camping at the dunes, consider the vehicle you are driving to the area. There are some hardened camping areas while other areas are quite sandy and require 4×4 to access them.
This type of camping is available in the Imperial Sand Dunes Wilderness Area and most OHV riding areas however, the tent can be overwhelmed with the sound of engines and people throughout the night. The wind constantly plays with the sand in this area and at times can be up to 40 miles per hour. If you plan on tent camping it is a great idea if you check the weather before heading out and tent camping.
RV/Toy Hauler Camping
Camping with an RV or Toy Hauler is a great option if you want to a bit more privacy, and a bit less noise. Since the sun is always shining it feels great to get out of the sun for a few hours and have access to a cool shelter. There are no hookups for RV/ ToyHaulers only dry camping is available in all areas. There are some companies that can provide you with fresh water delivery and remove grey water, check out the services in the area you are in. The northern dune areas like Glamis have California companies available while the southern end (Gray’s Well, Buttercup Valley) are closer to Yuma and have Arizona companies available for service.
Check the dates
Some days are busier than others just like any recreational area. The Imperial Sand Dunes regulations state, the park is on a first come, first serve basis. Some holidays draw bigger crowds than others making it a bit difficult to find a spot on some holiday weekends. For more information on crowds check out our blog post regarding the area’s Crowd Calendar
Check the weather
This beautiful erg (large set of dunes) was formed and constantly transformed by the wind. Winds in the area can be up to 40 mph and are quite common. Sand at the speed feel like tiny needle pricks. It is never fun to get caught out in the dunes in the middle of 50+ MPH wind\
The sun usually shines out in this area, it is always a great idea to bring a hat, and sunglasses.
Check out the area
There are several locations to access the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area. Some areas require a 4×4 vehicle to access the area. Some areas have different amenities available. for up to date information check out the BLM website.
Always tell someone where you are going. The desert’s beauty draws people to want to explore the desert, however it is never a good idea to go out unprepared. A day trip is always a great option if you are unsure you want to camp there.
Different companies provide better or worse cell Service out in the desert. Check with your cell phone provider to verify coverage in the area you would like to camp at.
Tell someone where you are going.
It is always a great idea to let someone know where you are going. Desert trips can easily navigate off course making help unable to get access your location quickly. Leave a map with a general area, or send your location to a close friend.
Cost of Camping
$50.00 a week and $150 for the season, permits can be purchased onsite at the ranger stations and off site locations are also available.
Dogs are allowed in the park at no additional cost but must be on a leash at all times.
Vault toilets are available in most areas and dumpsters are located by the entrance/exits areas at no extra cost.