Algodones Dunes / Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area, CA

by Carrie Nusbaum

Experiencing the Algodones Sand Dunes for the first time, driving east to Arizona on I-8, I was almost entirely focused on the destination (family, large cacti, etc.), and was foolishly not expecting too much magic in the form of conspicuous geographic masses in between. When the swaths of impossibly homogenous golden-orange sand appeared out the window they seemed familiar, definitely picturesque, but in reference to a place I always assumed was in northern Africa, and not, say, a couple hours east of San Diego.

They’re probably not that special compared to the infinite sands of the Sahara, or even Great Sand Dunes National Park, but for the unassuming lady on a desert road trip, they are a sight to behold. Getting out, hiking up, and feeling small is recommended, even if it's just for a few minutes. Watch out for ATVs, dirt bikes, etc, if you happen to be in an area where their use isn’t banned.

People definitely make a whole trip out of this, but alternately, it can be added to a road trip to Salvation Mountain, Salton Sea, or Arizona.

Posted on September 28, 2015 .