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El Centro BLM Field Office

North Algodones Dune Wilderness Area- The Algodones Sand Dune system covers 1,000 square miles, making it one of the largest dune complexes in North America.

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General Information

Bear Canyon
Copyright: - US Bureau of Land Management
Bear Canyon
Description - The El Centro Field Office manages 1,420,000 acres of public lands in Imperial and San Diego Counties. Elevations reach 4,500 feet making an excellent escape from the hot summer temperatures of lower elevations. Most precipitation is received from December through April with thundershowers commonly erupting July and August. Winter temperatures range from the 50s (F) to below freezing, with occasional snowfalls. Summer temperatures range from 60 to 95 degrees (F).

Attractions - There are many ways to recreate in the El Centro BLM resource area. The Algodones Sand Dune system covers 1,000 square miles, making it one of the largest dune complexes in North America where opportunities for solitude and primitive recreation reign. Guided hikes are offered through the BLM office affording excellent opportunities to learn more about conservation amid outstanding desert scenery.

Among the live oaks in southeastern San Diego County is Cottonwood Campground where mental refreshment awaits. The tranquil environment is located in the McCain Valley Resource Conservation Area. Penetrating the landscape from the Cottonwood Campground are Sombrero and Pepperwood trails. These trails afford day hikes, overnight backpacking, horseback riding, and mountain bike opportunities.

Off-highway vehicular (OHV) use is extremely popular in the El Centro area. Plaster City presents an array of challenging riding opportunities as well Lark Canyon and Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area. Associated with Lark Canyon is a campground with 15 developed individual sites and a group area. The Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area is a 40-mile-long dune system formed by windblown beach sands of ancient Lake Cahuilla with crests reaching over 300 feet.

Primitive campsites are located throughout. These sites are widely dispersed, undeveloped, and are generally not signed as campsites. They are usually clear of vegetation, have a hard compacted surface, and offer one of the best ways to experience the deserts of California.

The 2,600-mile Pacific Crest Trail makes a passage through this BLM unit beginning near Campo, a small town near the Mexican border. It runs through Lake Morena County Park, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, the Cleveland National Forest, the San Jacinto Mountains, Big Bear Lake, the Sierra Pelona, the Mohave Desert, and enters Central California in the Sierra Nevada at Walker Pass.

Recreation - Recreational opportunities in the area include hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, camping, target shooting, OHV use, and rock hounding.

Climate - Days in south-central California are typically clear with less than 25 percent humidity. Temperatures are most comfortable in the spring and fall, with an average high of 85 degrees F and a low of 50 degrees F respectively. Winter brings cooler days, around 60 degrees F, and freezing nights. It occasionally snows at higher elevations. Summers are hot, over 100 degrees F during the day and not cooling much below 75 degrees F until the early morning.

Location - The El Centro Field Office is located in the southeastern portion of the State of California bordering Arizona and Mexico.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Filed By: john halsey (San diego, CA)
Number of People Encountered: 50+ ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Please help preserve Plaster City OHV areas by taking all trash out with you & picking up any trash left by less considerate users. This is a great OHV area within 2 hour drive of san diego & provides unlimited trail areas .... Help keep it clean & open!

More Information

Contact Information:
El Centro Field Office, 1661 S. 4th St. , El Centro, CA, 92243, Phone: 760-337-4400

Additional Information:
California BLM Areas - The Bureau of Land Management manages 14.5 million acres of public land in California. The area includes sagebrush plains, old-growth forests, Pacific coastline, lush riparian areas, and arid high deserts.
Desert Region - The Desert Region encompasses the southeast corner of California. It features Death Valley and Joshua Tree National Parks. The region is studded with glittering yet relaxing resort cities, offers the ideal spot for re-energizing your senses.

Bureau of Land Management in California - Official agency website.
El Centro BLM Field Office - Official agency website.
Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument - Official agency website.


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