West of Yuma (AZ) and far east of San Diego, the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area (aka Glamis) is an ATV riders paradise (aka Algodones Dunes). These rolling white dunes are sculped by the intense winds constantly blowing through the Imperial Valley.
This 40-mile-long dune system is one of the largest in the United States. Rising to heights of over 300 feet above the surrounding desert floor, the dunes are a well-known landmark to local residents and the thousands of highway travelers who pass by them every year. While summer temperatures often rise above 120°F and annual rainfall averages less than two inches, the mild climate between October and May attracts tens of thousands of off highway vehicle (OHV) enthusiasts to the area. These expansive dune formations offer picturesque scenery, opportunities for solitude, a chance to view rare plants and animals, and a playground for OHVs. The BLM manages portions of the dunes system for different uses. The three most popular areas are Mammoth Wash at the north end of the dunes, Glamis/ Gecko just south of State Highway 78, and Buttercup Valley just south of Interstate Highway 8 near the Mexican Border.
There are numerous camping areas with a fixed fee of $25 per vehicle (not per ATV). None of the camping areas have any services.
The Buttercup Valley area is a lot of fund and is known as a real party, so bring your camper, tent and grill and get ready for a long weekend you wont forget with hundreds of other riders. It is located at Exit 156 of US8 (Gray Wells Road). Bring all the supplies you may need since there is nothing around for miles.
FYI - A GPS is highly recommended when traversing into the dunes. Make sure to way point where you ve parked before heading out.
Overall, Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area is the 2nd most popular ATV riding trail of all 106 ATV trails in California.