Picacho State Recreation Area

Update (April 20, 2021): With the Regional Stay at Home Order lifted, State Parks is reopening campground sites for existing reservation holders. The department will be using a phased approach to reopen other campground sites for new reservations, starting January 28. The public is advised that not all campground sites are open to the public due to the pandemic, wildfire impacts and other issues. Day use outdoor areas of park units currently open to the public remain open.

As State Parks increases access to the State Park System, it is critical that Californians continue to recreate responsibly in the outdoors as the pandemic is far from over.

Please take the time to read the information contained on this webpage to find out what is open and closed, and the COVID-19 guidelines for this park unit.

What is open now?
  • Vehicular access on designated routes of travel.
  • Developed and boat-in campgrounds.
  • Group campgrounds and group picnic areas including Group Canoe Camp #1, Group Canoe Camp #2, and Headquarters Group Camp.
  • Boat ramps, docks, and parking areas.
  • Motorized and non-motorized boating, kayaking, paddle boarding, and personal watercraft recreation.
  • Picnic tables, hiking trails, points of interest, and shoreline areas are available for recreational use.
  • Biking, hiking, swimming, wading, and wildlife watching are permitted.
  • Most restrooms and shower facilities are available.
  • Limited special events, as permitted by County Health Orders.

What is currently closed at this park and throughout the State Park System?
At this park:
  • Park office.
  • Some restrooms may be closed in remote areas.
  • Large special events, concessions and tours continue to be canceled until further notice.

Statewide:
  • Some park units and campground sites continue to be temporarily closed due to the pandemic, impacts from wildfires or other issues. Please visit the webpage of your local outdoor destination to find out if it is open.
  • High public-use indoor facilities, including museums and visitor centers.
  • Special events and tours continue to be canceled until further notice.

Are there any new visitor guidelines?
State Parks has implemented the following guidelines to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the outdoors:
  • Plan Ahead
    • The ongoing pandemic response continues to be dynamic and fluid. Prior to leaving home, check the webpage of your outdoor destination you plan to visit to find out if it is open, if parking is available, and what visitor guidelines are in effect.
    • Learn what safety precautions you should take when exploring the outdoors at parks.ca.gov/SafetyTips.
  • Stay Safer at Six Feet: No matter the recreational activity, maintain a physical distance of six feet or more. Your guests should only include those within your immediate household. This means no guests or friends, and no gatherings or parties. If there are too many people to maintain the required physical distance, please visit us on a different day. 
    • Boating: Do not raft up to other boaters or pull up onto a beach next to other recreators.
    • Off-highway Vehicle Recreation: Do not ride next to others or pull up next to someone else as it could put you in close proximity to others. Stage 10 feet or more from each other during unloading and loading.
  • Keep Clean: Be prepared as not all services may be available. Some restrooms will be temporarily closed to keep up with cleaning schedules. Bring soap/hand sanitizer. Please pack out all trash. Park units are experiencing heavy use and you can help alleviate the impact on park facilities.
  • Stay Covered: The state requires you to wear a face covering when you cannot maintain a physical distance of six feet or more. Individuals must have a face covering with them at all times.

Although law enforcement entities have the authority to issue citations, the expectation is that the public is responsible for adhering to the advice of public health officials, visitor guidelines and closures.

California State Parks continues to work with local and state officials on a phased and regionally driven approach to increase access to state park units where compliance with state and local public health ordinances can be achieved. However, the situation remains fluid and park operations can change at any time. For information on statewide current closures and available services, please visit parks.ca.gov/FlattenTheCurve.

Phone Number

(760) 996-2963

Max. Trailer Lengths

Trailer: Up to 30 Feet
Camper/Motorhome: Up to 35 Feet

Park Hours

Day use and campground open all day and all night.
First-come first-served camping, contact the park directly for information.

Dogs Allowed?

Yes
Dogs allowed in developed areas such as roads and campgrounds. Dogs not allowed on beaches or trails.

Driving Directions to Picacho SRA

Take the 24-mile (mostly unpaved) road north from Winterhaven near the Mexican border. The road to Picacho from Winterhaven is paved only for the first 6 of 24 miles. The last 18 miles is over a dirt road that is passable for cars and vehicles with trailers and motorhomes. At times during the summer thunderstorms are likely to cause flash flooding in the washes, temporarily making short sections of the road impassable.

Online reservations are not available for this park.

Upcoming Park Events

No events scheduled at this moment.

BOATING
Boating
Boat Ramps
OVERNIGHT FACILITIES
Family Campsites
Group Campsites
Primitive Camping
Boat-in/Floating Camps
RV Access
TRAIL USE
Hiking Trails
DAY-USE ACTIVITIES & FACILITIES
Historical/Cultural Site
Picnic Areas
Exhibits and Programs
Fishing
Guided Tours
Interpretive Exhibits
Beach Area
Swimming
Vista Point
Family Programs
Geocaching
OTHER FACILITIES & VISITOR INFORMATION
Parking
Restrooms
Drinking Water Available

***PLEASE BE ADVISED:

Picacho Road has areas with deep sand, it is only recommended for 4-wheel drive vehicle access at this time.

The condition of Indian Pass is unknown at this time, but it is recommended that you approach with extreme caution, in a high-clearance 4-wheel drive vehicle only.

100 years ago Picacho was a gold mining town with 100 citizens. Today the site is a State Park, popular with boaters, hikers, anglers and campers. The park offers diverse scenery, including beavertail cactus, wild burros, bighorn sheep and thousands of migratory waterfowl. (The park is on one leg of the Pacific Flyway.) Eight miles of the lower Colorado River are the recreation area’s eastern border.

As in any desert country, travelers on this road should carry extra water and other essential supplies. All motor vehicles are required to stay on the authorized routes of travel in the recreation area. In case of trouble it is best to keep calm and remain near your vehicle and in the shade until help arrives.

Location-Directions
Take the 24-mile (mostly unpaved) road north from Winterhaven near the Mexican border. The road to Picacho from Winterhaven is paved only for the first 6 of 24 miles. The last 18 miles is over a dirt road that is passable for cars and vehicles with trailers and motorhomes. At times during the summer thunderstorms are likely to cause flash flooding in the washes, temporarily making short sections of the road impassable.

For additional information or questions, please call the park office at (760) 996-2963.

***Please Note:

If you are using a mapping device or program make sure you are routed to Picacho SRA via Picacho Road from Winterhaven. The secondary route into the park from Ogilby Road through Indian Pass is a 4X4 ONLY route. Four wheel drive vehicles towing trailers should always access the park via Picacho Road from Winterhaven, CA.

Friends4Picacho
Discover important information about Picacho State Recreation Area at this link:  www.Friends4Picacho.org
Find out about current park events, volunteer opportunities and ongoing efforts to save this pristine land for future generations to enjoy. F4P and Picacho SRA have also partnered with the Park Champions Program through the California State Park Foundation.  For current volunteer opportunities please visit www.calparks.org.

Park Videos

Vista: Parks from Ridge to River

The online video journal of the Colorado Desert District covering Anza-Borrego Desert State Park®, Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, Palomar Mountain State Park, Picacho State Recreation Area, Salton Sea State Recreation Area, and Indio Hills Palms Property.