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Part 4: Niland to Phoenix through the Imperial Sand Dunes on CA HWY 78

Driving out from Niland and getting back on the I-10 on towards Phoenix was uneventful for the most part. Other than driving near the Mexican border through the farmlands and listening to the only local stations available that blared Mariachi music, it was going to be a long 4 hour drive.

I was expected to be in Phoenix by 23h00 but half way up to the I-10 on CA 78, I saw a warning sign about “Shifting Sands” by the road side.  Thinking nothing of it, I drove on. At most, I was expecting it to be a small sandy patch or a salt pan since they tend to be overly cautious with their warnings about road hazards.  What I didn’t expect to see however were these massive sand dunes.

Naturally, I was drawn to them and had to make a stop.  I may be late arriving in Phoenix but when else was I going to randomly come across dunes in the middle of nowhere?

First signs of the sand dunes on CA 78 (Imperial Dunes, Glamis)

And... more sand! (Glamis, Imperial Dunes, CA 78)A little rest area in the middle of the dunes. There were some guys here with their off-road vehicles about to have some fun on the dunes in the late afternoon.

Rest area at the Glamis Dunes (CA 78 Imperial Dunes)

“Located in the southeast corner of California, the Imperial Sand Dunes are the largest mass of sand dunes in the state.  Formed by windblown sands of ancient Lake Cahuilla, the dune system extends for more than 40 miles in a band averaging 5 miles wide.” — http://www.desertusa.com/sandhills/sandhinfo.html