Enjoying the Anza Borrego Desert
Welcome to my favorite desert
Hi everyone! I decided to create this lens because this is one of my favorite areas that I travel to on a regular basis.***This page is not associated or endorsed by the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park or its foundation (of which you can find links and information about below)***
This is a great area about 80 miles from San Diego or about 50 miles or so from the Coachella Valley. A very large state park encompasses most of the area. I will try to put as much info that a new visitor would need to know when they visit this park. I will also include info for desert areas surrounding the park as well as for Borrego Springs, the town in the center of the park.
Visiting the Desert:
When visiting the desert, please keep the following in mind:
For one, please check in with local officials in regards to the conditions of the area you plan to visit. Also, be sure to carry plenty of water and food to last you beyond the time period you plan to stay. And, please be considerate of other visitors and residents. Pick up your trash, don't camp or trespass on private property, and keep noise levels to a minimum.
Just as a side note, there are WiFi services available now in the park. But, you have to be within 150 feet of the Ranger's office or the booth at the Palm Canyon Campground. WiFi may also be available at the Borrego Springs library located on the west side of the mall on Palm Canyon Drive.
All photos on this lens were taken by me except where otherwise noted.
These are some links that are related to the area.
- Park info and Links
This is the California State Parks website for the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. I would check here, first, for all general information about the park such as hours, fees, and weather conditions.
- Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association
This is the natural history association for the area. They also have links to other related information. I also like their store on Palm Canyon Drive in Borrego Springs which helps support the park.
- Borrego Springs Chamber of Commerce
This is a site related to what to do in and around Borrego Springs, CA. It may also include activities within the park. I like using this site to know where to buy supplies or scope out nature activities such as riding stables or jeep tours. Or, fo
- The Anza - Borrego Foundation & Institute
The Anza-Borrego Foundation is a non-profit organization supporting California State Parks by acquiring land for the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park® through donation or purchase from willing sellers.
Important Phone Numbers - Numbers for park and desert info
These are important phone numbers if you plan to visit the state park, or some of the surrounding areas or towns.
- Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Info:
200 Palm Canyon Drive
Borrego Springs, CA 92004
You can also call this number for sheep sightings.
- Wildflower Hotline (Recorded): (760) 767-4684
- Campground reservations for Tamarisk Grove and Borrego Palm Canyon Campground:
(800) 444-7275 (Reserve America)
- Borrego Springs Chamber and Visitor's Center:
786 Palm Canyon Drive
Borrego Springs, CA 92004-0420
Books on the Anza-Borrego Desert - These are some of my favorites.
These are some books that I have found extrememly informative, informational, and entertaining on the Anza-Borrego Desert and Borrego Springs.
This is a classic. It also comes with a very accurate map. I have an older version and it's completely worn out. You get detailed step by step descriptions and mile marks.
I own a copy of this book and I find it great for determining elevation, difficulty, directions, and terrain. It has a good graphic for elevation gain or loss for each hike.
Things to see around the Anza Borrego Desert
This list also includes things to see in the desert towns surrounding the state park or other areas, public or private, surrounding the park. All sites are accessible by passenger vehicle (or a short walk) unless otherwise noted.
- Galleta Meadows--These are various private properties (open to the public) all around the Borrego Valley where you can see giant metal sculptures of animals and people who used to live in the area. You can find a map on their website by Googling Galleta Meadows.
- The Anza Borrego Desert State Park Visitor's Center--designed to blend into the landscape.
- Desert Gardens--Depending on the recent weather, this Coyote Canyon picnic area may be accessible to passenger cars. Inquire at the Visitor's Center before going there. The road is often sandy and sometimes muddy. The gardens is about two miles from the paved end of DiGiorgio Road. Cell phone reception is spotty in this area.
- Split Mountain--This area is often passable to passenger vehicles up to the large anticline not far from the wind caves. However, it is recommended that one check with the Visitor's Center for conditions as this road can often be flooded or muddy. I recommend driving a passenger car no further than the Fish Creek primitive camp and parking there. This area is prone to flash floods and earthquakes and the campground is elevated above the area where it traditionally floods. Cell phone reception is generally good in this area because of the mines and railroad activity in the area.
- Palm Canyon Trail--You can either access this area from the Palm Canyon Campground for a fee or walk there from the Visitor's Center on the paved sidewalk, adding another couple of miles to your trek. There is water and flush toilets at the trailhead.
- Pegleg Smith Monument---This is located east of the town of Borrego Springs where the S-22 makes a sharp right near Henderson Canyon Road. It's not anything spectacular, just a pile of rocks and a sign, but it is a historical landmark and homage to those who came to the valley to search for gold.
'Tis the Season
Observations and Tips on the Current Season
Summer is ending and temperatures are beginning to cool down, though they won't get totally cool and comfortable until November. There are often still thunderstorms going on this time of year. Borrego Days Festival is happening at the end of October, but it might still be warm even then.
Nature-wise, a lot of the area is still dry from summer, though there were a few good rain storms and flooding this year. But, most of the water disappeared within a few days.
Beautiful poster of the Anza-Borrego Desert
The park is known for its great wildflowers. Some years, the flowers are good, others, not so much. You can call the park's wildflower hotline to see where the best place to find desert flowers and when.
My Last Trip
Description of my last trip to the area.
At the end of October, I went out to Borrego Days and visited the Anza-Borrego Desert visitor's center area as well. It was warm, but not too hot. I saw a lot of birds and insects in the area, especially ravens. Some people, on the same day, saw in Inca Dove in Borrego Springs. I also visited the Hellhole Canyon trailhead to see even more ravens.
While the desert had rain, recently, it was still pretty dry. Though the temperature has dropped, regular rain probably won't start for another month.
Featured Photo! - Flowering agave in late winter
I took this in late February 2013. Agave seems to flower when it wants and it's hard to predict when the best time to see their flowers are. Once the plant flowers, all but the base dies until next season. Some desert plants only flower once in a great while and often die completely after flowering. But, not this species.
Videos of the Anza Borrego Desert
Videos hand-picked by me to give you a better idea of what the Anza Borrego desert is like. Most of the videos show the attractions of the area. However, the last video shows freak flooding in the area.