Sand dunes dominate the landscape in the North Algodones Dunes Wilderness Area.
BLM
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
Off-Highway Vehicle King Range National Conservation Area Algodones Dunes Sunflower Hiker
California
BLM>California>El Centro>Recreation>Cottonwood Campground
Print Page
El Centro Field Office

S U M M E R 2014


Seasonal Fire Restrictions Affect
Camping, Target Shooting

Find out if your favorite camping or target shooting location has fire restrictions! (Scroll to maps following Fire Prevention Orders.)


Cottonwood Campground

Among the live oaks in southeastern San Diego County is Cottonwood Campground. The campground offers a tranquil and refreshing experience. Cottonwood Campground is an excellent starting point for day hikes, overnight backpacking trips, and equestrian use. The campground is located in the McCain Valley Resource Conservation Area.

A trail out of the campground leads to the Sombrero Peak Area, Upper Bow Willow Canyon, and Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. The Pepperwood Trail and Sombrero Peak Trail are both rated moderate to strenuous. The trails are sandy in composition and meander through public, state, and private lands.

A sign on the north side of the east loop of Cottonwood Campground marks the trailhead. The Pepperwood Trail is a 4.2 mile hike (one-way) that eventually leads to a spring surrounded by cottonwoods. A rocky knoll near the end of the hike offers views of Canebrake Canyon and the In-Ko-Pah Mountains.

The Sombrero Peak Trail branches from the Pepperwood Trail. It is a 5 mile hike (one-way) that eventually leads to a rocky peak that overlooks the desert. Trail users should remember to hike safe by bringing appropriate clothing, food, water, and a map. More information on safety can be found on the Desert Safety handout.

Elevations range from 3,000 to 4,500 feet. This makes the area an excellent escape from the hot summer temperatures of lower elevations. Most precipitation is received from December through April. Thundershowers are common during July and August. Winter temperatures range from the 50s (F) to below freezing, with occasional snowfalls. Summer temperatures range from 60 to 95 degrees (F).

Cottonwood Campground is a year-round facility with 25 developed campsites. Fire rings, tables, and vault toilets are found in the campground. Horses are allowed only in the east loop of Cottonwood Campground. No group camping sites are available. No off highway vehicle (OHV) use is permitted in Cottonwood Campground or on McCain Valley Road.

A $6.00 per campsite fee is required for camping at all BLM campsites. All sites are available on a first come first served basis. Except for backpacking, all camping in McCain Valley must be in a designated campsite. A campfire permit may be required. Contact the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection for regulations.

Please review California Desert District Final Supplementary Rules.

Directions:

  • From Interstate 8, take the Boulevard exit.
  • Proceed south to the first stop sign.
  • Turn left/east on Old Highway 80.
  • After approximately 2 miles, turn left on McCain Valley Road.
  • A sign with mileage information is located at the junction of McCain Valley Road and the road to Sacatone overlook.

Hours of Operations:
24 Hours / 7 days a week

Fees:
$6 per campsite, per night

Seasonal Restrictions:

Fire Restrictions:  SUMMER 2014
Stage III - Recreational/Target shooting of any type is prohibited. Setting, building, maintaining, attending, or using open fire of any kind is prohibited in identified areas throughout the California Desert District. Controlled flame devices such as portable stoves fueled by petroleum or LPG products are allowed only by permit. Smoking is only permitted within enclosed vehicles or camp trailers. Please check with local field offices for area restrictions.

Information Contact:
BLM El Centro Field Office
1661 South 4th Street
El Centro, CA 92243
(760) 337-4400

Weather Conditions

CDD Final Interim Supplementary Rules

In case of an Emergency:
Dial 911


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