Algodones Dunes

In the south-easternmost part of California in Imperial County lies one of the biggest dune vegetation systems of the United States. It is located only about 2.5 hours east of San Diego. Extending from the Salton Sea to the Mexican border (and beyond) it is over 40 miles long, but only about 5-7 miles wide. Both Highway 78 and Interstate 8 traverse the dunes in an east-westerly direction. Furthermore, Highway 78 divides the dunes into the northern, protected Algodones Dunes Wilderness Area, and the larger, southern Algodones Dunes Recreation area.

While more plants grow on the dunes of the northern part, the larger and most beautiful dunes are in the southern part. Winter would be a more natural time of the year to visit this hot inland desert area, but the recreation area is used by friends of off-highway vehicles then. In summer by comparison, the area is often deserted, and the dunes are in an almost pristine condition then. Thanks to the wind and the ever-shifting sand, they show only little signs of human activity, which makes summer the perfect time to visit them.

Since this part of the Sonoran Desert does get tropical moisture from Mexico and Arizona in summer, monsoon clouds provide a dramatic sky if the visit is timed right. As one wanders into the dunes, the feeling of peace and solitude soon becomes imminent. To see the forces of nature unfold into the incredibly beautiful, elegant and perfect shapes, being surrounded by them, is nothing short of an enlightenment. It shines a light on our feeble existences and sets things into perspective.

Fine art prints of my Algodones Dunes black & white photos are available in a dedicated collection in my print-on-demand store.

For photo and camera clubs, I have a presentation about the dunes and photographing them ready. Please contact me if you’re interested.

On small-screen devices like phones or tablets, you can just scroll down. On larger screens, you may also click on any image to open it in the slideshow gallery view – for the best effect, I suggest switching your browser to full-screen mode (Windows: F11, Mac: ^⌘F).

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