A beautiful and vast desert of outdoor recreation spans more than 80,000 acres in Southern California. This massive sandbox for off road vehicles acts as a playground for people of all ages. The name of this place is called Ocotillo Wells. This article covers many of the main attractions of the area and gives information about amenities provided.
<h2> Overview </h2>
There are six main attractions to see when you’re not off-roading in your favorite vehicle. This article will cover the six main attractions individually. You’ll also get information about camping and the cost to use the park. Overall, the park is designed for having fun, and the rangers are very easy going with the exceptions of safety and preserving a few of the natural formations.
<h2> Blow Sand Hill </h2>
This is one of the main attractions of Ocotillo Wells. Blow Sand Hill is aptly named for the massive dune which the wind carries up hill. Sand storms can be particularly rough in this area. However, calm nights yield a massive line of headlights from gathering vehicles.
<h2> Devil’s Slide </h2>
Actually a slab of granite covered in sand, Devil’s Slide presents one of the most challenging obstacles for off road enthusiasts. Hidden mine shafts along the mountainside are rumored to be haunted.
<h2> Barrel Springs </h2>
Because of the presence of water, many forms of wild life are found in this area. After a significant rain, water will seep up from underneath the ground. The mesquite roots preserve the sand dunes while the trees offer shade and provide an natural rest area. Studies have shown that Native Americans once used the area.
<h2> Shell Reef </h2>
This ancient reef dates back to four million years ago. If you take a close look at the soil beneath the reef, you’ll discover pieces of oyster shells which have fossilized over the years. In order to preserve this timeless treasure, park rangers ask that vehicles not climb here. However, it is one of the more interesting attractions to visit.
<h2> Gas Domes </h2>
This attraction is technically outside the state park. Because it features some neat looking pots of bubbling volcano-like liquid, you’ll probably want to take a detour and give it a visit. The bubbles are not hot but rather cold to the touch. They’re due to a natural release of gas.
<h2> Pumpkin Patch </h2>
The remote area has some interesting formations due to wind and water eroding the soil on the surface of the underlying sandstone. The resulting formations appear to resemble a patch of pumpkins, hence the name. If you’re traveling with a slower vehicle, you’ll need to start early to reach this spot.
<h2> Camping </h2>
You can camp inside the park for a maximum of 30 days. However, take care not to camp at the areas mentioned above. Blow Sand Hill, Devils Slide, and Shell Reef do not allow camping. With over 80,000 acres available within the state park, there are still plenty of areas to camp. Because of the ease of accessibility along the roads, there are no restrictions to trailer size as with many other state parks in California.
<h2> Cost </h2>
Only yearly passes are available for the Ocotillo Wells Recreation Area. Although the prices can seem a bit high for a state park, many people find themselves coming back throughout the year. So, consider that the next time you visit, you won’t have to pay the fee at all. There is also a small fee for parking. At the time of this writing, the cost for the annual pass is $50. The parking fee is $5. For out of state residents, an additional fee of $30 dollars is charged for a yearly permit for their vehicle. It’s important to note that the yearly passes are good for the calendar year. That means all passes expire at the end of December. So, it’s best to buy your passes early in the year. It’s also important to note that the pass is good for all off-highway motor vehicle parks in the state of California. Passes can even be purchased online. There is no cost for camping.
<h2> Hours of Operation </h2>
Ocotillo Wells is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It doesn’t get any easier than that.
<h2> For More Information </h2>
http://ohv.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=1217 (Official State Website)
5172 Highway 78
Borrego Springs, CA
760-767-5391 (Main Office)
760-767-5391 (Ranger Station)