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by Nick Olson

Glamis Sand Dunes are a BIG DEAL. Why? Watch to find out.


At this point in the desert season your social media feeds have probably been blowing up with photos and videos from glamis but a recent poll has shown that while 82 percent of you have done some off-roading in sand dunes only 64 percent of you have been to glamis so today i’ll presume nothing about your knowledge of the sand dunes and glamis and provide a crash course for the 36 percent of you that haven’t made it yet no pun intended look at this video as a refresher to make that stuff in your news feed a little more relevant and easier to follow glamis is located about halfway between san diego and phoenix near the town of el centro the algodones dunes aka glamis encompasses a huge area about 45 miles long by six miles wide in the southeastern part of california in 1966 imperial sand hills was designated as a national natural landmark the algodones dunes are split into many different sections these sections include glamis gordon’s well buttercup midway and patton’s valley although the spanish word algodones translates to the english word cotton the name algodones is a corruption of spanish and english names of the yuman tribe that once dwelt nearby the dunes have frequently been a barrier to human movement in the area foot travelers frequently diverted south into mexico and in 1877 the southern pacific railroad was diverted north to avoid the dunes but in 1915 colonel ed fletcher built a wooden plank road across the dunes to prove that cars could cross the dunes and connect san diego with yuma arizona this trail eventually became part of interstate 8. off-roading isn’t the only thing to do in the area there are some interesting places to check out like salvation mountain holtville hot springs and slab city but most glamis visitors come from october through april are headed to the sand dunes to experience some of the best sand dune riding in the world the sheer size of glamis sand dunes makes it an amazing place to test your machine and driving or riding skills the sand dunes aren’t as tall and steep as other dunes like dumont which is near las vegas and death valley but the huge layout makes for lots of great riding that keeps even the hardest core duners coming back for more glamis has arguably the most clout of any off-road area in the world but i don’t think it’s the cloud that keeps people coming back gladys averages about 1 million visitors per year and on average they travel about 300 miles to get there you’ll need a recreation permit which runs 35 a week or for 150 you can pick up an unlimited season pass you can purchase these passes online at nearby gas stations and motorcycle shops or from the ranger station during opening hours the passes are heavily regulated along with each vehicle’s requirement of a whip flag which must be at least eight feet off the ground to increase visibility and reduce collisions with all the blind spots created by the sand dunes there are three main areas to camp which are called the washes glamis flats or vendor row and gecko road the glamis flats are the area behind the glamis beach store in vendor row the beach store has camping essentials ice cream and tools and parts for repairs there’s even joe’s fab repair shop who can weld and do some serious repairs to keep your vehicle running and salvage your trip the vendor row area is a great place to pick up a t-shirt ice cream food whip flags and parts if needed you can also rent a side by side at vendors row and with the popularity of these side-by-side vehicles there are several suspension motor and clutch tuners on site on the most popular holiday weekends near the glamis flats is the start of the washes beginning with wash one over 25 washes provide massive areas for camping and the smaller dunes in this area are great for kids to learn how to ride by now you’re probably thinking but where do i stay and do i need to bring food you can definitely rough it with just a tent and glamis and there are several outhouses but having an rv or trailer is most ideal as all the camping does not have power or water hookups so you’ll need to bring your own water for showers and generator for power if you don’t have an rv you can rent from places that will deliver with water generator right to your campsite for a reasonable price but they usually require a three day minimum like we mentioned vendor row has a few food vendors and down from the other side of glamis near the 8 freeway is gordon’s well and the newly remodeled duners diner which is a great spot for breakfast and it’s about a 35 to 40 minute dune ride from gecko road gekko road is located on the other side of the dunes from vendor row and is one of the most coveted spots to camp these spots fill up quick and gekko road has several pads that are paved which makes it easy for rvs to camp without getting stuck with over 127 000 acres of ride you can ride away from the crowds or check out the popular waypoints or hangouts or both the most popular spot you’ll probably end up at at least once is oldsmobile hill this is century located and you can get to olds by hitting the whooped out sand highway oldsmobile hill is filled with action during the day with drag races up the hill wheelies and jumps down the hill and it’s the go-to hangout spot at night by the way if you’re going to be doing any night riding at all we highly recommend you outfit your dirt bike atv side-by-side or sand rail with some bright lights it’s also a good idea to have lights on during the day to make it easier to be seen beyond normal hill you can visit the swing the flagpole braley slide china wall competition hill and the sand drives the sand drags get going every day around four o’clock near gecko road pad one and they go until dark china wall is the tallest and steepest dune in glamis which makes it ideal for testing out your horsepower and proving to your buddy whose vehicle is faster ideally doing with an experienced group is the best way to learn how to navigate the big bowls razorbacks and witches eyes you will encounter after some practice learning how to put together smooth flowing lines is the goal which really makes duning fun also riding in groups with radio communications really improves safety you’ll know if someone in your group has had a crash or a mechanical issue and having tools and knowledge in a group can help everyone get going and get back to camp safely by the way helmets are required on all dirt bikes atvs and side by sides on drivers as well as passengers but they are not required in sand rails in this video we haven’t even scratched the surface of all glamis in the surrounding areas have to offer but we hope this gives you a good idea of what you can expect for your first trip and why people make such a big deal of it and why some of the biggest events of the year like camp razor take place in glamis so if you haven’t been we hope this helps you plan out your first trip and makes it a little bit better so you can experience and enjoy all the glamis has to offer.


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