El Centro Field Office

Yuha Desert Cultural History Audio Tour

When you visit the Yuha Desert today, it is hard to imagine the environment’s history. The landscape is millions of years old. Can you believe that the Yuha Desert once laid as an ocean’s floor? Do you wonder how any human occupation could survive in such a dry and arid place? On this audio tour you will learn about how the Yuha Desert played a role in history and prehistory.

This audio tour will take you through three different cultural sites of the Yuha Desert.

Juan Bautisita de Anza stone monument

Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail MarkerJuan Bautista de Anza Overlook 
Visit this monument for a beautiful view of the Yuha Basin and surrounding landscape. The monument commemorates the two expeditions (1774 and 1775) led by Spanish explorer Juan Bautisita de Anza.

Aerial view of the Yuha Geoglyph.

Yuha Geoglyph
The Yuha Geoglyph is a large, abstract image created on the desert surface by Native Americans.  The geoglyph serves as a reminder that the desert has been inhabited by people for thousands of years.

Wooden sign posted at the Yuha Well site. The bottom portion of the sign has been damaged by vandals.  The sign read "Yuha Well (Santa Rosa de Las Lajas) Used by the Kamias Indians who showed it to Anza'a scouts on March 8, 1774. The second Anza Expedition passed here on December 11, 1775.  Later an important water source on the trail from Yuma to San Diego."

Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail MarkerYuha Well 
The well was visited by Juan Bautista de Anza and his settlers to quench their thirst after traveling for two days without fresh water. Throughout history, this site has been the favored water stop for travelers of the Yuha Desert.

The tour audio files can be downloaded from the links to the right.  A text version and tour map are also available.

Four wheel drive is needed for many routes (including suggested tour route) in the Yuha Desert.

The Yuha Desert is an Area of Critical Environmental Concern.  It is home to sensitive plants and animals, as well as historic and prehistoric cultural sites. To protect these natural and cultural resources we ask that you stay on the designated routes of travel.

Podcast Downloads

Right click on links below and select "Save Target As" to download and save to your computer.

 Stop 1 - Juan Bautista de Anza Overlook  6.3Mb
 Stop 2 - Yuha Geoglyph 
 Stop 3 - Yuha Well 
 End of Tour Wrap-Up
 Entire Tour 
(with bonus narration between stops!) 25Mb
 Text Version (*.pdf)
 Map  (*.pdf)

Related Links

 Desert Safety
 More Yuha Information
 More Cultural History

Bureau of Land Management
El Centro Field Office
1661 S. 4th Street
El Centro CA 92243
Phone: (760) 337-4400
Fax: (760) 337-4490
Office Hours: 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., M-F
Contact us by Email