Ocotillo Wells SVRA - Blow Sand Ocotillo Wells is part of the much larger Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. It was set aside for off-road vehicle recreation. It is a great place to experience the solitude of the beautiful desert, gaze at the stars, or go wild with your 4-wheel-drive SUV, ATV, or dirt bike.

The park is a 2-3 hour drive from LA and Orange Counties but closer to San Diego and Palm Springs.

Tip: The best time to visit Ocotillo Wells is during the cooler months, from October to April. Summers can be extremely hot.

You probably want to camp for the night. Depending on the weather, you can make it as casual or as luxurious as you like. My son and I used to sleep in the back of my SUV – with the seats pulled down. It does get cold at night, so make sure you have good sleeping bags or thick blankets.

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Three camping areas with shade, toilets, and fire rings are available. But you are not limited to these areas. You can camp anywhere you like—just be wary of possible riders around you. There are no fees for camping or using the SVRA (State Vehicular Recreation Area). Most campgrounds are accessible by RVs.

Tip: Before you enter the SVRA (from Highway 78), keep going until you find the ranger station in the town of Ocotillo Wells. You can pick up maps, self-guided tour information, and tips from the rangers, and you can get some supplies from town.

Ocotillo Wells SVRA - Shell Reef Once you get your maps and stake out a camping spot, you are ready for the fun.

Explore the many rock formations and sand dunes. Stay away from protected areas. Some areas are protected to allow the various native plants and animals to recover and thrive, while other areas are protected because of archaeological finds.

ATV Rentals

If you don't own your own equipment, you can find several ATV rental shops close to the park.

You can try the highly rated San Diego Motor Sport Rentals - 5965 US Hwy. 78 - Ocotillo Wells, Borrego 92004 - (760) 767-4020.

Also nearby is Quad Shop - 6001 CA-78, Borrego Springs, CA 92004 - (760) 238-3839.

It is highly recommended that you call ahead and reserve your ATVs.

Some of the most popular trails and formations:

Ocotillo Wells SVRA - Dirt Bikes BLOW SAND HILL:

This is probably the biggest sand dune in the area. It is very popular with all kinds of vehicles. I was able to drive my Isuzu Rodeo SUV up and down the hill, and I have seen a lot of dirt bikes and ATVs.


Experience the thrill of sliding down a 200-foot-high hill or trying to climb the 200’ using your dirt bike or ATV. Many try, but few succeed.

Tip: Because of the sand dunes and valleys, your vehicle might become invisible to other riders around you. You must mount a flag or a whip to make sure you remain visible from a long distance.


Looking at it now, it is hard to believe that this area used to be under sea level about 40 million years ago. Park under the reef and go exploring. You will find shells and pieces of the reef.

The rangers ask that you do not ride your vehicles on and around this formation.

San Felipe Wash (and others):

You can also have the time of your life riding along the main washes. San Felipe Wash runs all the way from the west end of the park back to Highway 78. You can go under the highway and up to a store and restaurant. You can speed up a little bit along the wash because it is mainly open and flat, but watch out for the rocks and driftwood. Stay away from the wash on rainy days.

Tip: There is no water available in the area. Bring plenty with you, especially on warm days.


5172 Highway 78
Borrego Springs CA

Ranger Station:

(760) 767-5391 (Don't hesitate to call for help)

More information at: http://ohv.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=1217

Even more at: http://www.dirtopia.com/wiki/Ocotillo_Wells_OHV_Area

Find your California adventure here.