Ocotillo Wells SVRA

Overview

Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreational Area (SVRA) is a great place for any van or RV nomad looking to boondock and be surrounded by off-road vehicles. There are over 85,000 acres of desert to explore exploration. In addition to the SVRA, large tracts of BLM land are open for boondocking and off-highway vehicles. 

Adventure

California State Park Ocotillo Wells SVRA has miles of desert to explore. It’s a great place to test your off-roading skills and hike around on the dunes. The areas offer great off-roading, boondocking, hiking, and exploring. There are basic facilities to include trash bins, camping areas, pit, and toilets. 

Outside the boundaries of the SVRA, to the south and east, large tracts of BLM land (U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management) are also open to off-highway vehicles. The western boundary and part of the northern boundary connect with the 600,000-acre Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, which is closed to off-highway recreation, but open to exploration by highway-legal vehicles along established primitive roads.

Ocotillo Wells is a great place for any van or RV nomad looking to explore the desert and have a free place to boondock. The only downside is that it can get noisy if you choose to boondock in a populated area.

Map: Ocotillo Well SVRA

Off-Roading

The state park website suggests the following destinations for off-highway vehicles.  I don’t recommend taking your 4×4 van or RV to any one of these places but if you have an OHV with you, go for it.  

Blowsand Hill: The wind carries sand for miles before piling it up into this huge dune. Perhaps the most popular spot in the park, Blowsand is illuminated by a circle of headlights on many weekend nights.

Devil’s Slide: 200 foot-high granite and sand island is named for the challenge it presents to the OHV enthusiast. There are several old hidden mine shafts along the mountainside. 

Barrel Springs: These mesquite sand dunes are an oasis for wildlife. The springs seep from the ground, especially after a heavy rain. Part of the area is designated as a cultural preserve. 

Shell Reef: Park beneath the reef and examine the soil.  The reef is estimated to be 4 million years old! 

Gas Domes: These mysterious waterholes produce large gas bubbles that rise up through muddy water. The water travels to the surface, emerging through a natural crack in the desert floor.

Pumpkin Patch: This unique landscape results from wind and water continuously eroding the surface soil and revealing these globular sandstone concretions. Such concretions are believed to be formed by the natural cementing of sand particles to a small object such as a piece of shell, a grain of sand, or even an insect. 

Boondocking

Ocotillo Wells offers an unlimited supply of areas to boondock with the added amenity of restrooms and showers scattered throughout the park. It’s open seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Open camping is available throughout the park for up to 30 days per calendar year.  There is no dump station or water. 

Vault restrooms and limited shade ramadas are located in the Quarry, Cove, Main Street, Holly Road, and Hidden Valley areas. Pay showers are available only in Holmes Camp and Ranger Station Road. The pay showers accept quarters. 

References and Other Adventures

Hiking

Borrego Springs

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