Located in southeastern California, a short distance from the Arizona and Mexico borders, the Bureau of Land Management's Midway Campground can be found, just off of the Grey’s Well Road and Interstate 8. The campground is surrounded by a desert landscape and the main attraction in the area is the vast Imperial Sand Dunes natural and recreation area where off-highway vehicle recreation, hiking, and horseback riding are popular activities.
The Midway Campground is located in an open area beside a main highway with an elevation of only 164 feet. The campground consists of parallel parking in the dispersed dry camping area, and there is no limit on RV size. There are no serviced sites here, or water supply. However, there are vault toilets and trash receptacles available on site. Many visitors use the Midway Campground as a staging area for OHV activities, as you can take off-highway vehicles directly to the nearby sand dunes and OHV areas to enjoy hours of off-highway exploration. Campers at Midway can access Gordon Well and Glamis OHV areas from the campground using OHV bridges that cross the freeway, so you don't have to load up and haul recreational vehicles. You will require a permit to stay at the Midway campsites which can be purchased on-site or off-site.
Visitors can also travel a short way to the east, to access activities and sightseeing along the Colorado River in Yuma at civic recreation areas or at the Picacho State Recreation Area to the northeast. Other wilderness areas to explore in the region included the North Algodones Dunes Wilderness Area and the New Water Mountains Wilderness.
The Midway Campground is very easy to access for RVs and tow trailers. Travel east from El Centro, California, or west from Yuma, Arizona on Interstate 8. Take the exit onto Grays Well Road, at Royal Dunes Park and the Buttercup Ranger Station. Interstate 8 is a well-paved, east-west trending highway and the Grays Well Road is a paved, dead-end road, running parallel to the Interstate. There is a cul de sac at the end of the access road allowing vehicles to turn around, and plenty of flat desert landscape to maneuver larger RV units and tow trailers.
Campers at Midway Campground park parallel to the access road, on gravel and naturally surfaced dispersed sites. The area can be dusty in dry hot weather and there is some noise from the local interstate. During the summer months, the temperatures in this area are extremely hot, and vehicles should be well maintained and have adequate coolant and fluid levels for traveling in a hot desert region.
There are fuel stations and stores available at the many small settlements along the Interstate, and the City of Yuma, Arizona is only 21 miles east of Midway Campground. Numerous services, facilities, amenities, and activities can be accessed in Yuma.
Midway Campground is located on Grey's Well Road, just off Interstate 8, in the southeast corner of California. The campground is managed by the Bureau of Land Management, and camping here is available all year round for a nominal fee. Passes can be purchased on or off-site. There are few amenities here, and the campground mostly consists of dispersed camping parallel to the access road.
Sites are gravel surfaced and can be dusty in hot weather. The campground has no vegetation or shelter and is exposed to the elements, and especially the heat, during the summer months. The peak season for the campground is between October and April when the climate is more hospitable. There are vault toilets and dumpsters at the site which facilitate extended stays.
A ranger station and park located just down the access road provide information on activities in the area. Pets are permitted at this BLM site, but should be kept leashed and under control. There is no specified limit for RVs and the large dispersed camping area can accommodate large RV units and tow trailers. The campground is frequently used for OHV activities that are accessible from the area.
The surrounding sand dunes and wilderness areas make for great OHV, hiking, and horseback riding activities and the nearby Colorado River provides additional recreational opportunities in the region.
The Imperial Sand Dunes natural and recreation areas are located north of Interstate 8, across from the Midway Campground, and the campground is a popular staging area for OHV enthusiasts. Access points from the campground to the south and across the freeway allow OHVs direct access to the dunes recreation areas.
The sand dunes extend for 40 miles in a band approximately five miles wide. Dunes can reach heights of 300 feet above the desert floor and provide excellent OHV terrain. Maps of the area are available at the local ranger station. Ensure you take appropriate safety precautions when operating OHVs such as wearing helmets, and supervising inexperienced riders. The peak season in this area is during the winter months when temperatures are more moderate.
The North Algodones Dunes Wilderness is located 50 miles to the northwest of Midway Campground and covers 26000 acres, with some of the largest and highest sand dunes in the region, and unique desert wilderness habitat. This area is closed to motorized vehicles and is an ideal place for equestrians to explore from horseback.
Horse camping is available in the region. The peak season for riding activities is during the fall, winter, and spring, as summer temperatures are prohibitive for strenuous riding in the sandy, desert wilderness region.
Hiking in the Imperial Sand Dunes and wilderness areas in the regions north of Midway Campground allows visitors to discover the rare desert wildlife that flourishes in this unique environment. Watch out for OHV users that frequent the area. You can also find excellent hiking trails along the Colorado River to the north and east, where there is more vegetation along the riparian areas created by the watercourse. Avoid hiking during the off-season summer months when temperatures skyrocket and are not conducive for strenuous activities.
Fishing in the Colorado River from sites near Yuma, Arizona, and at the Picacho State Recreation area is a popular pastime during the summer months when temperatures near the water are less severe and vegetation along the water provides shelter and shade. You will find trout, bass, bluegill, and catfish in the river.
Boat launches allow access to the river for surface fishing, or you can use sites along the banks. Use caution when fishing on a river as there is a significant current. You will require a valid state fishing license if you are over the age of 16 to fish on the Colorado River.
Enjoy floating, rafting, and boating along the Colorado River which is situated a short drive east of the Midway Campground. Numerous recreation sites and state parks along the river course provide boat launch areas so you can paddle, motor, or float down this magnificent river.
Always ensure you have life jackets or personal flotation devices on watercraft. Use caution as river levels vary according to the season, and high fast-moving water can present hazardous conditions for on-water activities.
During the scorching hot summers, take a break from strenuous activities and do a little historical discovery in nearby Yuma. The Yuma Territorial Prison Park and the Yuma Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park at the Colorado River State Historic Park provide excellent historical sites along the river, where visitors can explore the remnants and reconstructions of historical buildings.
The parks provide views of the river, visitor centers, and interpretive information providing an insight into the activities that took place at these locations.