It all started when I saw my friend Rachel’s instagram post of a place called Fonts Point. I thought to myself, that’s in the southern california desert? It looks like Arizona or Utah. Then the research began. I was itching for a weekend trip close enough to Los Angeles that I didn’t have to get on a plane.
While looking into Fonts Point, I started mapping out other places of interest in the desert. Imperial Sand Dunes came up, which are heaping mounds of sand in southern california. I always knew our landscapes were diverse, but come on… really? Cali is basically one enormous playground for those who love outdoor adventures. Unfortunately there weren’t any ATV rentals on this side of the sand dunes, but I did find a spot near the Salton Sea that rented them. Steve’s ATV Rentals in Salton City in just a 3 hour drive from the westside of L.A., with 90 acres of trails in Octotillo Wells just a stone’s throw away. Annnnnnd booked!
We left Saturday morning at 7:30am for the desert and arrived at Dave’s ATV Rentals around 11am. We opted for automatic transmitions since we aren’t pros and haven’t gone ATVing often. The intro to the park sounded intimidating with all the trails and directions—but it was really spot on and once we were in it was easy to navigate with lots of signs. It was a short ride along and under the freeway to the park entrance, and then, more then 85,000 acres of magnificent desert are open for off-highway exploration and recreation within the boundaries of the park. There are interesting sites to stop at all over the park, as well as bathrooms and open areas to stop and snack at the major stops. In between the trails are long and not too busy. The majority of the time we were alone and flying at what felt like 40 miles an hour!
There are a lot of geological sites all over Ocotillo Wells. We went to see the Pumpkin Patch, a unique landscape that’s the result of wind and water continuously eroding the surface soil. Eventually little sandstone shapes appear that look like pumpkins.
We also went to see gas domes, which are volcano-like mud pots of bubbling liquid. Cool gray water bubbles up from gas and builds and deposits more particles on the surface, making the hill grow larger. There are similar to the mud pots near the Salton Sea.