The Algodone Dunes also known as Glamis Sand Dunes located in California is a perfect spot for a short weekend road-trip from Southern California. The 3.5 hour drive from Los Angeles is worth every second once you set your eyes on the surreal landscape.
The Imperial Sand Dunes are the largest mass of sand dunes in California, with over 118,000 acres of land. Glamis is thought to have originated from the beach sands of ancient Lake Cahuilla, a water body created by episodic diversions of the Colorado River into the Imperial Valley instead of the Gulf of California. The Imperial Dunes have formed primarily as a result of opposing seasonal winds. Winter winds come from the northwest, but often reverse to the southeast in summer. The stronger winter winds are slowly pushing the dune system southeastward.
Here’s a short fashion film I shot during my trip to Glamis. In the video, you can see the seasonal winds which can move as fast as 20mph leaving you with the “witch-eye” and possibly scrapped skin.
Not only is Glamis a highly instagram-able spot, it is also the most popular off-road destination in Southern California. Over 1.5 million people visit the sand dunes during the peak season (October 1 – April 15) where many rent ATV trucks for an off-road adventure.
Permits are required during peak season. Permits are $35 per week in advance and $50 per week if purchased onsite. Season permits are $150. Buy your weekly or season permits online.
If you’d like to have the sand dunes all to yourself like I did, I suggest going during the off-season, but be sure to stay hydrated as temperatures can rise as high as 118 degrees.