by Alex Gugel , all rights reserved

Ocotillo Wells

State Vehicular Recreation Area - California

More than 85,000 acres of magnificent desert are open for off-highway exploration and recreation within the boundaries portrayed on the park map are operated by California State Parks, OHMVR Division. Outside the boundaries, to the south and east, large tracts of BLM land (U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management) are also open to off-highway vehicles. The western boundary and part of the northern boundary connect with the 600,000-acre Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, which is closed to off-highway recreation, but open to exploration by highway-legal vehicles along established primitive roads.

maps

Map of Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area (SVRA) in California. Published by California State Parks.Ocotillo Wells - OHV Trails

Map of Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area (SVRA) in California. Published by California State Parks.

Map of Routes of Travel for Eastern San Diego in El Centro Field Office area. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).Eastern San Diego - Travel Map

Map of Routes of Travel for Eastern San Diego in El Centro Field Office area. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Map of Routes of Travel for Western Imperial County in El Centro Field Office area. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).Imperial County - Travel Map West

Map of Routes of Travel for Western Imperial County in El Centro Field Office area. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=407 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocotillo_Wells,_California More than 85,000 acres of magnificent desert are open for off-highway exploration and recreation within the boundaries portrayed on the park map are operated by California State Parks, OHMVR Division. Outside the boundaries, to the south and east, large tracts of BLM land (U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management) are also open to off-highway vehicles. The western boundary and part of the northern boundary connect with the 600,000-acre Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, which is closed to off-highway recreation, but open to exploration by highway-legal vehicles along established primitive roads.
Ocotillo Wells SVRA Visitor Guide Your Adventure Starts Here... Photo courtesy of Chris Davilla Inside... Is this your first visit to Ocotillo Wells SVRA or have you been visiting for years and lost track of how many times you’ve ridden the trails of OW? In either case, you need to turn the page and get ready to experience the park like never before! This visitor guide is full of info for the rookie and desert rat alike. As always: stay safe, have fun, and enjoy! C ongratulations! You have made a successful getaway to Ocotillo Wells SVRA. Desert adventurers of all ages will find guaranteed thrills and plenty of room for relaxing here. Use this Visitor Guide to answer almost any question you might have about safe travel habits and awesome destinations.You’ll also get the scoop on action-packed exhibits and events that the whole family will enjoy. Photo courtesy of Nick De La Torre Hop on your ride to explore your 85,000 acres. Challenges await any type of off-road vehicle. Whatever your speed or ability, you’ll find enough variety and discoveries to make your day. Greetings from the “Super”! You’ll ride through territory that has been home over five million years to mollusks, walruses, jaguars, and mammoths. You might spot evidence of preOHV human lifestyles from oil prospecting to hippie hangouts. Fascinating landforms and endless skies will inspire you. Photo courtesy of Sarah Perez Find a sweet camp spot... Your senses will sharpen as darkness falls. You’ll notice a wild world that features geckos, scorpions, bats, and kit foxes that are all welladapted to life with little rain. At the end of your day, you’ll sit back and reflect on your travels with a smile on your face. And you’ve just scratched the surface of this fascinating place.You’ll be back. Bring a friend! Garratt Aitchison, District Superintendent On behalf of the Ocotillo Wells SVRA staff, I would like to welcome you to your playground of adventure, recreation, and discovery. Roughly one million visitors make their way to our desert each year. While offroad vehicle recreation is the major draw to this park, you will quickly discover that this place is home to a variety of plants and animals. In addition, we are proud to be the keepers of significant historic sites and geologic wonders. Be sure to Tread Lightly! The stewardship of your park is appreciated. T Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area Ar op 19 Destinations Photo courtesy of Anna Stirling 1 Pumpkin Patch These round rocks were created long ago when the climate was wet, then shaped through centuries of erosion. Sadly, the Pumpkin Patch has shrunk over the years. Leave the “pumpkins” here so your grandchildren can take their grandchildren to see the “Patch.” Photo courtesy of Shellene Manning 2 Shell Reef About five million years ago, this desert was covered by a sea. At the top of Shell Reef, one can see the proof: a five-foot thick layer of fossilized shells. This hard “coquina” resists erosion so well it has preserved the ridge, and a window to the past. Devil’s Slide 3 This ancient mountain nub was once the site of gold prospecting. People have reported seeing ghostly lights here, usually at night after rare rainstorms. Nowadays, its dark rock face and nearby sands present a popular challenge for a variety of OHVs. 4 Discovery Center This is your “one-stop shop” at OW. Learn about your desert through exhibits. Stock up on water and maps. Get face time with knowledgeable staff. Enjoy the accessible nature trail, shaded picnic area, and come by later for night programs in the amphitheater. 5 Blowsand Hill Strong winds have piled sand in this notch. The finest, lightest sand grains are deposited on the top; the larger, heavier grains collect at the bottom. This is the most impressive concentration of sand at Ocotillo Wells, and a popular, fun spot to ride. Photo courtesy of Adam Gaeth PAGE 2 Visitors Guide Ocotillo Wells SVRA is committed to the principles of Tread Lightly! This simple, common sense framework is an excellent way to ensure continued access to public lands for OHV recreation by respecting the places we all share. Travel Responsibly Respect the Rights of Others Educate Yourself Avoid Sensitive Areas Do Your Part By following these guidelines, you are helping conserve OWSVRA. For more info, go to treadlightly.org. Coral Wash Arch 6 This astounding arch is roughly 1.6 miles west of Highway 86 along Coral Wash, a wash located in the area known as “Truckhaven.” Driving up Coral Wash offers technical challenges and maneuvers while winding between the narrow walls lined with prehistoric layers. 7 Photo courtesy of Allen Seligson Tectonic Gorge This huge canyon and neighboring badlands is not only a popular place for riding. It was also the location for the series finale of The X-Files, but don’t count on seeing Scully or Mulder. The filmmakers blew up the set...then completely cleaned it up. Tule Spring 8 Following a subterra
DESERT Ocotillo Wells SVRA Photo © 2008 Hartmut Wisch Infernal Blister Beetle Lytta stygica Seen during the spring on wildflowers. Photo © 2005 Joyce Gross Red-eared Blister Beetle Lytta auriculata Seen during the spring on wildflowers. Photo © 2013 Robyn Judith Waayers Ornate Checkered Beetle Trichodes ornatus Seen during the spring on wildflowers. Photo © 2010 Aaron Schusteff Master Blister Beetle Lytta magister Seen during the spring on wildflowers. Photo © 2012 Richard L. Hayes Seven-spotted Lady Beetle Coccinella septempunctata Seen year-round on all aphid-infested plants. Photo © 2010 Aaron Schusteff “Fuzzy Cannonball” Edrotes sp. Seen year-round wandering the desert floor. Photo © 2010 Ron Hemberger Diabolical Ironclad Beetle Phloeodes diabolicus Seen year-round wandering the desert floor. Darkling Beetle Eleodes sp. Seen year-round wandering the desert floor. Photo © 2008 Aaron Schusteff Inflated Beetle Cysteodemus armatus Seen during the spring on wildflowers. Photo © 2013 Robyn Judith Waayers Ghost Beetle Asbolus verrucosus Seen year-round wandering the desert floor. Photo © 2010 Alex Wild Giant Palo Verde Root Borer Derobrachus hovorei Seen June-Oct., largest beetle in OW; 4.5” Photo by Ron Shugan White-lined Sphinx Moth Caterpillar Hyles lineata Seen during the spring eating wildflowers. Photo © 2013 Robyn Judith Waayers Phaeton Primrose Sphinx Moth Euproserpinus phaeton Seen during the spring on wildflowers. Photo © 2012 Robert A. Behrstock Desert Snout Beetle Ophryastes desertus Seen year-round on creosote bushes. Photo © 2007 Sam Houston Photo © 2007 Sam Houston White-lined Sphinx Moth Hyles lineata Seen during the spring on wildflowers. Photo © 2013 Ron Wolf Orange Sulphur Butterfly Colias eurytheme Seen year-round on wildflowers. Photo © 2008 Shelly Cox Grey Hairstreak Strymon melinus Seen during the spring on wildflowers. Painted Lady Vanessa cardui Spring and fall migrant through OW. Monarch Butterfly Danaus plexippus Spring and fall migrant through OW. Queen Butterfly Danaus gilippus Spring and fall migrant through OW. Photo © 2011 Ron Hemberger Tarantula Hawk Pepsis sp. Seen on milkweeds and flying year-round. Photo © Roy Brown Photography Ophion Wasp, Ophion sp. Attracted to lights at night year-round. Photo © Lon&Queta Photo © 2005 Alex Wild Red Velvet Ant Dasymutilla sp. Seen spring and summer wandering the desert. Thistledown Velvet Ant Dasymutilla gloriosa Seen spring and summer wandering the desert. Photo © 2007 Richard C. Hoyer, WINGS Photo © 2005 Alex Wild Black Harvester Ant Messor pergandei Seen year-round wandering the desert floor. Harvester Ant Pogonomyrmex sp. Seen year-round wandering the desert floor. Native Bee Centris rhodopus Seen during the spring on wildflowers. Africanized Bee Apis mellifera ssp. Seen year-round at water and wildflowers. Photo © 2013 Robyn Judith Waayers Giant Desert Hairy Scorpion Hadrurus arizonensis Seen year-round on warm moonless nights. Desert Thick-tailed Scorpion Vaejovis waeringi Seen year-round on warm moonless nights. Photo © 2009 Kevin Williams Wind Scorpion Solifugae Seen spring and summer at night. Photo © 2001 Mike “troll” Dame Wolf Spider Schizocosa mccooki Seen year-round on warm moonless nights. California Tarantula Aphonopelma sp. Seen wandering the desert during the fall. Photo © 2012 Leonard Vincent, Ph.D. Golden Huntsman Olios giganteus Seen year-round wandering for prey at night. Photo © 2013 Robyn Judith Waayers Desert Harvestman Eurybunus sp. Seen year-round wandering the desert washes. Photo © 2013 Robyn Judith Waayers Desert Cockroach Arenivaga sp. Seen spring and summer at lights at nighttime. Photo © 2011 Ron Hemberger Obscure Ground Mantid Litaneutria obscura Seen spring-fall hunting on the ground. Photo © 2006 Jeff Hollenbeck Western Black Widow Latrodectus hesperus Seen year-round in its web situated in cracks. Photo © 2012 Alex B. California Mantid Stagmomantis californica Seen spring-fall on trees and plants. Photo © 2013 Greg Lawler Western Short-horn Walking Stick Parabacillus hesperus Seen spring-fall on creosote bushes. Photo © 2013 Dave Beaudette Creosote Bush Grasshopper Bootettix argentatus Seen spring-fall on creosote bushes. Photo © 2013 Lon&Queta Creosote Bush Katydid Insara covilleae Seen spring-fall on creosote bushes. Photo © Peter J. Bryant Antlion Larvae Brachynemurus sp. Seen year-round hunting with small sand-pits. Photo © 2011 Ron Hemberger Pallid Winged Grasshopper Trimerotropis pallidipennis Seen spring and summer wandering the desert. Photo © 2007 Dann Thombs Green Lacewing Chrysopa sp. Seen year-round on all aphid infested plants. Photo © 2007 Stephen Cresswell Antlion Adult Brachynemurus sp. Seen spring through fall at lights at night. Rev. 6/18/13
DESERT e d i u g e Reptil Ocotillo Wells SVRA & Heber Dunes SVRA Photo by Bruce Edley Long-nosed Leopard Lizard Gambelia wislizenii Photo by Bruce Edley Desert Banded Gecko Coleonyx variegatus variegatus Photo by Cris Sanguino Desert Iguana Dipsosauras dorsalis Photo by Bruce Edley Common Chuckwalla Sauromalus ater Photo by Bruce Edley Zebra-tailed Lizard Callisaurus draconoides rhodostictus Photo by Bruce Edley Flat-tailed Horned Lizard Phrynosoma mcallii Photo by Bruce Edley Southern Desert Horned Lizard Phrynosoma platyrhinos calidiarum Photo by Bruce Edley Colorado Desert Fringe-toed Lizard Uma notata Photo by Bruce Edley Desert Spiny Lizard Sceloporus magister Photo by Bruce Edley Long-tailed Brush Lizard Urosaurus graciosus Photo by Bruce Edley Side-blotched Lizard Uta stansburiana Photo by Bruce Edley Desert Glossy Snake Arizona occidentalis eburnata Photo by Bruce Edley California Kingsnake Lampropeltis getula californiae Photo by Bruce Edley Great Basin Tiger Whiptail Aspidoscelis tigris tigris Photo by Bruce Edley Colorado Desert Shovel-nosed Snake Chionactis occipitalis annulata Photo by Bruce Edley “Red Racer” or Coachwhip Masticophis flagellum piceus Photo by Bruce Edley Spotted Leaf-nosed Snake Phyllorhynchus decurtatus Photo by Bruce Edley Long-nosed Snake Rhinocheilus lecontei lecontei Photo by Bruce Edley Western Diamondback Rattlesnake Crotalus atrox Photo by Bruce Edley Sonoran Gopher Snake Pituophis catenifer affinis Photo by Bruce Edley Desert Patch-nosed Snake Salvadora hexalepis hexalepis Photo by Bruce Edley Colorado Desert Sidewinder Crotalus cerastes laterorepens 3/27/13
DESERT e d i u g d r bi Ocotillo Wells SVRA Photo by JR Douglass, NPS Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis Year-round resident © 2007 Ron Wolf Photo by Don Endicott Swainson’s Hawk Buteo swainsoni Migratory © 2003, 2005 Joyce Gross Cooper’s Hawk Accipiter cooperii Migratory Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura Fall-Winter-Spring resident © 2009 Christopher L. Christie © 2008 Christopher L. Christie Prairie Falcon Falco mexicanus Year-round resident American Kestrel Falco sparverius Year-round resident © 2007 Don Getty Gambel’s Quail Callipepla gambelii Year-round resident © 2006 Robert Harrington White-winged Dove Zenaida asiatica Year-round resident © 2007 slodocents Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura Year-round resident © 2007 Stephen Dowlan Eurasian Collared-Dove Streptopelia decaocto Year-round resident © 2006 Andrea Jesse Rock Pigeon Columba livia Year-round resident Photo by John Lynn Greater Roadrunner Geococcyx californianus Year-round resident © 2003 Mark Bratton Burrowing Owl Athene cunicularia Year-round resident © 2006 Jennifer Riefenberg Great-horned Owl Bubo virginianus Year-round resident © 2005 Jose Navarrete Lesser Nighthawk Chordeiles acutipennis Summer resident © 2006 Mike Danzenbaker White-throated Swift Aeronautes saxatalis Year-round resident © 2007 Don Getty Anna’s Hummingbird Calypte anna Year-round resident Photo by Wolfgang Wander Say’s Phoebe Sayornis saya Year-round resident © 2008 Christopher L. Christie Western Kingbird Tyrannus verticalis Migratory © 2006 Stephen Dowlan Costa’s Hummingbird Calypte costae Year-round resident © 2009 Christopher L. Christie Ash-throated Flycatcher Myiarchus cinerascens Summer resident © 2009 Christopher L. Christie Loggerhead Shrike Lanius ludovicianus Year-round resident Photo by Christian O. Petersen Common Raven Corvus corax Year-round resident Photo by Alan and Elaine Wilson Cliff Swallow Petrochelidon pyrrhonota Migratory Photo by Alan and Elaine Wilson Verdin Auriparus flaviceps Year-round resident Horned Lark Eremophila alpestris Year-round resident Photograph 2008 by Dori Northern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx serripennis Migratory © 2005 Mark Bratton Cactus Wren Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus Year-round resident © 2008 Ron Wolf Photo by Alan Vernon Rock Wren Salpinctes obsoletus Year-round resident Photo by Brookhaven National Laboratory Black-tailed Gnatcatcher Polioptila melanura Year-round resident © 2011 Ben Smith Le Conte’s Thrasher Toxostoma lecontei Year-round resident Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos Year-round resident Photo by Dick Daniels European Starling Sturnus vulgaris Year-round resident © 2009 Ron Flemal Phainopepla Phainopepla nitens Winter resident © 2008 Christopher L. Christie © 2011 Ron Wolf Yellow Warbler Dendroica petechia Migratory Yellow-rumped Warbler Dendroica coronata Migratory © 2010 Gus Hallgren Orange-crowned Warbler Oreothlypis celata Migratory © 2006 James Owenby Wilson’s Warbler Wilsonia pusilla Migratory Photo by Bigdeazy Black-throated Gray Warbler Dendroica nigrescens Migratory © 2009 Christopher L. Christie Black-throated Sparrow Amphispiza bilineata Year-round resident © 2004 Joyce Gross Photo by Kevin Cole White-crowned Sparrow Zonotrichia leucophrys Winter resident Photo by Will Elder, NPS Hooded Oriole Icterus cucullatus Summer resident © 2004 Tom Greer tbphotos@comcast.net House Finch Carpodacus mexicanus Year-round resident Western Meadowlark Sturnella neglecta Year-round resident © Mark A. Chappell Scott’s Oriole Icterus parisorum Summer resident © 2004 Tom Greer tbphotos@comcast.net House Sparrow Passer domesticus Year-round resident 3/27/13
DESERT Ocotillo Wells SVRA Photo by John Lynn Coyote Canis latrans Photo by John Lynn Bobcat Felis rufus Tracks about 50% of actual size Tracks about 50% of actual size Omnivore; scat appearance depends on diet. Scat with fruit or nuts is tubular with little twisting. Scat with bone and hair is twisted and tapered ropes with pointed ends; 3/8 to 1-3/8 inch diameter, 5 to 13 inches long. Carnivore; scat is often tubular, long segmented ropes that fold in on themselves. Scat has a smooth outer surface with blunt ends or one pointy end; 7/16 to 1 inch diameter, 3 to 9 inches long. Gerald and Buff Corsi © California Academy of Sciences American Badger Taxidea taxus Tracks about 50% of actual size Omnivore; scat appearance depends on diet. Scat with fur and bone is often twisted and folded with very pointy ends of somewhat segmented scat; 3/8 to 3/4 inch diameter, 3 to 6 inches long. Herbivore; round or slightly flattened pellets; 3/8-1/2 inch diameter. © Kim Cabrera Black-tailed Jackrabbit Lepus californicus © 2003 Mark Bratton Kit Fox Vulpes macrotis Tracks about 25% of actual size Tracks about 80% of actual size Carnivore; scat is twisted and tapered ropes with pointed ends; 3/16 to 5/8 inch diameter, 2 to 4-1/2 inches long. © Jim Hughes Tracks about 100% of actual size Round-tailed Ground Squirrel Spermophilus tereticaudus © 1997 Lee Dittmann Botta’s Pocket Gopher Thomomys bottae Dr. Lloyd Glenn Ingles © California Academy of Sciences Desert Woodrat Neotoma lepida Tracks about 100% of actual size Tracks about 100% of actual size Omnivore; scat appearance varies with moisture in diet. Softer scat is often twisted with tapered ends; approximately 1/8 to 5/16 inch diameter, 3/16 to 5/16 inches long. Herbivore; pellets are capsule-shaped with smooth surfaces and rounded ends; approximately 1/8 to 3/16 inch diameter, 5/16 to 7/16 inches long. Herbivore; tubular pellets much longer than wide; 1/8 to 3/16 inch diameter, 1/4 to 9/16 inches long. Tracks about 100% of actual size Photo by Roger W. Barbour Cactus Mouse Peromyscus eremicus Tracks about 100% of actual size Dr. Lloyd Glenn Ingles © California Academy of Sciences Desert Pocket Mouse Chaetodipus penicillatus Tracks about 100% of actual size Dr. Lloyd Glenn Ingles © California Academy of Sciences Merriam’s Kangaroo Rat Dipodomys merriami Herbivore; scat can be slightly curved with tapered ends; approximately 1/32 to 1/16 inch diameter, 3/32 to 7/32 inches long. Herbivore; scat can be slightly curved with tapered ends; approximately 1/16 to 3/32 inch diameter, 3/32 to 3/16 inches long. Herbivore; scat can be slightly curved with tapered ends; 1/16 to 3/32 inch diameter, 3/32 to 3/16 inches long. 5/16/13
DESERT e d i u g r e w o l f d l i W Ocotillo Wells SVRA Sand Verbena, Abronia villosa Common, in sandy soils throughout the park Phacelia, Phacelia crenulata Common, under shrubs in sandy, gravelly soils Desert Heron’s Bill, Erodium texanum Occasional, in sandy soils near Ranger Station Desert Five-Spot, Eremalche rotundifolia Occasional, in gravelly soils east to County Line Spanish Needles, Palafoxia arida Common, all areas of the park except badlands Arizona Lupine, Lupinus arizonicus Occasional, in most areas of the park Orcutt’s Aster, Xylorhiza orcuttii Common, in washes in northern area of the park Chia, Salvia columbariae Unusual, seen a few times near Barrel Springs Salton Milkvetch, Astragalus crotalariae Occasional, throughout the park Arrow Weed, Pluchea sericea Abundant, in washes throughout the park White Rhatany, Krameria grayi Occasional, in dry sandy, gravelly soils Dyeweed, Psorothamnus emoryi Common, throughout the park except badlands Bristly Gilia, Langloisia setosissima Occasional, in sandy, gravel soils in western area Desert Ironwood, Olneya tesota Common, in western low plains and near washes Desert Willow, Chilopsis linearis Common, in San Felipe Creek wash Indigo Bush, Psorothamnus schotti Common, on slopes, benches and in washes Spectacle Pod, Dithyrea californica Occasional, in southern area of the park Smoke Tree, Psorothamnus spinosa Occasional, in washes Apricot Mallow, Sphaeralcea ambigua Common, in southeastern area in disturbed soils Ocotillo, Fouquieria splendens Common, in dry rocky soils Catclaw, Acacia greggii Occasional, in sandy soils in western area Honey Mesquite, Prosopis glandulosa Common, in sandy washes Fourwing Saltbush, Atriplex canescens Common, throughout the park Frost Mat, Achyronychia cooperi Common, in sandy areas Ground Cherry, Physalis crassifolia Common, in rocks at base of East Butte Burro Bush, Ambrosia dumosa Abundant, throughout the park Creosote Bush, Larrea tridentata Common, throughout the park Blue Palo Verde, Parkinsonia florida Common, in washes throughout the park Chinchweed, Pectis papposa Common, throughout the park after summer rains Hairy Lotus, Lotus spigosus Frequent, on flats and plains SweetBush, Bebbia juncea Frequent, on plains east of County Line Brittlebush, Encelia farinosa Occasional, in rocky soils in western area of park Desert Sunflower, Geraea canescens Common, throughout the park Desert Dandelion, Malacothrix glabrata Rare, in western area of the park Little Gold Poppy, Eschscholzia minutiflora Occasional, in washes and disturbed soils Evening Primrose, Camissonia californica Occasional, around Ranger Station Jimson Weed, Datura wrightii Uncommon, near Benson Dry Lake Desert Star, Monoptilon bellioides Fairly common, throughout the park Rock Daisy, Perityle emoryi Fairly common, in the western area of the park Pebble Pincushion, Chaenactis carphoclinia Occasional, in western alluvial and sandy areas Desert Lily, Hesperocallis undulata Uncommon, in sandy soils throughout the park Brown-Eyed Primrose, Camissonia claviformis Common, in sandy, gravelly soils Dune Evening Primrose, Oenothera deltoides Common, in deeper sandy washes and dunes Ghost Flower, Mohavea confertiflora Unusual, in sandy washes and gravelly slopes Desert Chicory, Rafinesquia neomexicana Common, under shrubs in sandy, gravelly soils Popcorn Flower, Cryptantha sp. Common, in sandy, gravelly soils 6/25/13

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