Imperial County is a county in the U.S. state of California. Imperial County comprises the El Centro, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is also part of the Southern California border region, the smallest but most economically diverse region in the state. It is located in the Imperial Valley, in the far southeast of California, bordering both Arizona and Mexico.
Although this region is a desert, with high temperatures and low average rainfall of three inches (75 mm) per year, the economy is heavily based on agriculture due to irrigation, supplied wholly from the Colorado River via the All-American Canal.
The Imperial Valley itself is a melting pot of U.S. and Mexican cultures. On the U.S. side, the majority of residents are of Mexican American descent, while the Mexican side was greatly influenced by U.S. culture for many decades. The entire valley is a multi-ethnic mixture of whites, Asian Americans, some African Americans and Native Americans.
Imperial County is home to the historic site of Fort Yuma as well as the famous Blue Angels of the US Navy. The Algodones Sand Dunes, Fossil Canyon, Painted Gorge, and the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park provide visitors with opportunities for hiking, wildlife viewing, and even fossil hunting. The majority of Salton Sea, an inland lake, is located in Imperial County and has several campgrounds, parks, and a national wildlife refuge for visitors to enjoy. Imperial Sand Dunes is a well-known OHV (off-highway vehicle) area for those with motorized vehicles optimized for sandy terrain. There are two other OHV areas including Superstition Mountain and Plaster City OHV. Visitors can also see the Salvation Mountain, which is a colorful, man-made mountain located near Slab City.