Sand Highway - Glamis

Brawley, California (Imperial County)

Last Updated: 01/17/2017
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Highlight: Sand Highway - Glamis
Right down the middle of the spine of Glamis / Imperial Sand Dunes is a small desert highway that nearly a million people use per year. The trail is a rather simple sandy wash but still requires 4x4. Only 150 feet wide in the narrow spots, this path looks similar to some of the more popular freeways in Southern California. The reason is rather simple...people flock to this remote sand highway, not because of the drive, but where it takes you. The destination...Oldsmobile Hill. Probably the most popular gathering spot in Glamis, this jewel of the desert lies in the heart of Glamis / Imperial Sand Dunes located almost dead center between Wash Road and Gecko Road. During the more popular Weekends / holidays, it has been known for over 30,000 people to gather at specific moments or 100,000 people to gather over a two day stretch to hang out, enjoy each others' company, and show what they can or can't do on Oldsmobile Hill.


Route Information

Technical Rating

( EASY )

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1. North Trailhead - Highway 78 (0 mi)
The trail starts just off the highway. You might have to exit the highway just east or west of the trailhead.

Directions to Trailhead

Starting Point: Palm Springs, CA

Take the 10 Freeway east past Palm Springs. As you approach Indio, take the 86S south. Beyond the Salton Sea, the 86S joins with the 78. The 86S and 78 are the same route from here to Brawley. Stay on the 86S / 78 through Westmoreland and Brawley. The 78 will join with the 115 and are the same route.  As the highway makes its second big sweeping turn to the right, Hwy 78 turns to the left. There is a sign that says Glamis. Continue on Hwy 78 about 20 miles to the sand dunes. The first road you will cross is Gecko Road on the right. Following Gecko Road is Osbourne Overlook (no camping). Roughly 2.7 miles ahead, the trail will be on the right amongst the bushes.


Not allowed

Land Use Issues

A permit is required to access the area. Permits are sold at the Ranger Station and the local store. Permits are $50 for a week pass when purchased at the Ranger Station. You can also get them online at Click Here Also, second vehicles / tow vehicles require a permit. Contact information for the local office is Cahuilla Ranger Station 760-344-3919 Buttercup Ranger Station 760-572-2220 El Centro Field Office 760-337-4400

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Writer Information

Josh Noesser

Mapping Crew - California

Joshua Noesser grew up in Southern California but has lived in different parts of the country during his young adult life. Josh was first turned to four wheeling when he road with one of his friends dad up Surprise Canyon in the Panamint Valley at age14. After nearly 3 different roll overs later and a half dozen intense waterfalls, Josh was hooked. At 16 he purchased his first Jeep a CJ 7 and by 17 was putting his first locker in it. Currently, Josh is the owner and CEO of Nybble, an IT Solutions Company based in Orange County, California. Nybble isn't your normal IT company where everyone stays in and plays video games. Nybble's average company trip is out on the trails since a good amount of his staff enjoy wheeling too. As Josh likes to say, he offers the only IT Company with the ability to provide services in extreme locations. "If you want a server at the top of The Hammers, we will take care of that for you." Today you can find Josh out on the trail behind the wheel in one of his three different off-road vehicles. See the vehicles below for more information. If you ever run into Josh, please say high, he is a very friendly person and is always happy to have a new person join the group.
For individual use only, not to be shared.