El Centro Field Office CA-670
Bureau of Land Management
El Centro Field Office
1661 S. 4th Street
El Centro CA 92243
Phone: (760) 337-4400
COTTONWOOD CAMPGROUND RECREATIONAL OPPORTUNITY GUIDE
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.
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
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.
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).
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.
$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.
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.
For more information contact the Bureau of Land Management El Centro Field Office.