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Imperial Sand Dunes National Recreational Area

  • Off road adventures Imperial Sand Dunes
  • Imperial Sand Dunes quad riding
  • Imperial Sand Dunes recreational area


  • The Imperial Sand Dunes begin about 20 miles from Yuma and stretch along the eastern edge of California's Imperial Valley.
  • The dunes presented a formidable challenge for early travelers and were actually navigable by way of a plank roadway. 
  • Today, the dunes offer a massive recreational area for off road enthusiasts.

Imperial Sand Dunes National Recreational Area


Early travelers crossing the desert from Yuma to California faced a daunting challenge in the ever shifting sand dunes along the edge of the Imperial Valley. The ingenious solution was the construction of a plank roadway across the sands. Years later, Hollywood discovered the area and used it as a backdrop for a variety of movies including Star Wars. Today, the dunes offer a 40-mile stretch of off-road playground for ATV riders. The recreational area is managed by the Bureau of Land Management out of El Centro, California but there are access points between Yuma and El Centro. Permits are required and can be purchased online in advance of your visit.

If you just wish to get a great view of the dunes, there is a rest area off of I-8 between Yuma and El Centro. From this vantage point, you'll be able to get a panoramic view of the dunes and if you look carefully, you can still see a portion of the plank roadway. Look closer and you can see the fence that marks the border with Mexico. This unique fence was designed to "float" on the shifting dunes. To see a portion of the historic plank road up close, visit the Quartermaster Depot in Yuma.


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Come visit us! North Algodones Dunes Wilderness Area, Yuma, AZ - 85356,US

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