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What To Bring to the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area
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What To Bring to the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area

Each year thousands of people travel to visit and ride at the Imperial Sand Dunes.  This dry ancient lake bed has attracted visitors since the first buggy crossed the “Sandy Hills”. (an old term used for the area in the 1800s).  As soon as the “Plank Road” was created, the access to the road made it easier to enjoy and visit this unique part of the desert. The beauty of the sand attracts first time visitors driving through the area as well as day trip visitors to the Yuma Area.

If you are planning to visit the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area for the first time there are a few things you should know.


“The cloudless skies and sunshine is so bright, even the shadows get sunshine.” 

1.There are no shade structures located in this area. 

One of the reasons why people travel to the Sonoran Desert each year is to enjoy the endless sunshine.  The desert gets very little rain each year and has clear skies throughout the year.  The desert sun can be harsh at times especially if you are not use to the desert climate. Here are a few things you should consider bringing if too much sun could be an issue.

Bring a shade, umbrella or even a sun hat. 

Bring some sunscreen.

Bring some water.

Bring a pair of dark shades.

Bring some water and a cold place to store it. 

2. There is no running water available in this area

There are plenty of pit latrines, or pit toilets but there is no running water available for public use in this area.  That can be a bit of a challenge if you are bringing young children or your pet.  Here are a few things you should consider bringing if this is an issue.

Bring some drinking water.

Bring some baby wipes.

Bring some anti-bacterial gel.

Bring some saline/eyedrops to clean any sand that may have gotten stuck in your eyes.

Bring some electrolytes or coconut water to help rehydrate 

3. The nearest gas station is located 10 miles south-east of the Imperial Sand Dunes

On the busy holiday weekends you will see a few vendors including and ice cream truck out at the sand dunes.  All vendors will be parked at Vendor Row. The location will vary depending on which area you visit. Other than the vendors are no businesses located out on the sand dunes.

Bring some snacks.

Bring an ice chest.

Bring sand toys for the kids to play with.

Bring a gas can with extra gas.



4. You can bring your pets

The Imperial Sand Dunes is a dog friendly park. All doggies must be on a leash at all times.  Lost pets can be taken into the ranger station they have a microchip reader and can scan to locate the owner. One of my favorite ways to keep track of my dog is by placing collar light or a glow stick necklace/bracelet on her neck. I can quickly see where she is at night. Here are a few things you should bring with you for your favorite furry friend.

Bring a leash.

Bring a trash bag.

Bring food and water bowls.

Bring a tie out stake.

Bring a collar light for camping.

Don’t forget the doggie first aid or medication.

5.  Silt will get everywhere

In the desert there is sand and lots of it. Different areas of the desert will have different terrain but silt will be everywhere. If you are concerned with silt in your hair keep it wrapped, or braided.  If you plan on recording or photographing your adventure this is important to keep in mind. The winds in the area move the dunes to and fro depending on the time of the year check the weather forecast .

Bring a hair wrap/ hair ties.

Bring face wipes/ hand wipes.

Bring a can of air for dusting off any equipment.

Bring microfiber towels to dust off toys etc.

Bring outdoor case covers for your mobile device







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