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Enjoying the Anza Borrego Desert

Updated on November 7, 2014
Yuha Desert Sunrise (just south of the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park).
Yuha Desert Sunrise (just south of the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park). | Source

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.

Anza-Borrego Links

These are some links that are related to the area.

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

    (760) 767-5311

    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



    (760)767-5976 (fax)

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.

Anza-Borrego Desert Region: A Guide to State Park and Adjacent Areas of the Western Colorado Desert
Anza-Borrego Desert Region: A Guide to State Park and Adjacent Areas of the Western Colorado Desert

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.

Day and Overnight Hikes: Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
Day and Overnight Hikes: Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

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.

Flowering barrel cactus.
Flowering barrel cactus. | Source

'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.

Flowers Growing. . . Buy this at
Flowers Growing. . . Buy this at | Source
Creosote in the Hellhole Canyon area.
Creosote in the Hellhole Canyon area. | Source

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

Flowering agave
Flowering agave | Source

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.

My Guestbook.

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    • Dusty2 LM profile image

      Dusty2 LM 

      5 years ago

      This was another place that I enjoyed visiting also. The 4x4 Club that I was a member of at that time used to go out to the desert and do a lot of volunteering work cleaning up the area and repairing places where the inconsiderate people went off-road with their different vehicles. The one place we mainly 4x4'd was Blow Sand Hill. I don't know if you know the Hill or not but I enjoyed challenging the Hill. There were many times one of the members would fly us over Anza Borrego and seeing it from the air was fantastic. Again, Thank You for sharing this lens and stopping by for a visit. I really appreciate it. (^_-)

    • Shorebirdie profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from San Diego, CA

      @RinchenChodron: It's not far at all depending on what part you want to visit. The park is extremely large and it extends from the I-8 at Ocotillo and goes all the way up to the southern base of the Santa Rosas. It's also easily accessible from the CA-78 not too far west of the CA-86. If you want to visit the southern parts of the park, I would say it's pretty close to Yuma, but if you want to visit the visitor's center, it would be quite far.

      I'll try to get more cactus flowers, but it got extremely hot too early this year and I'm not sure how good the flowers are going to be this year. I haven't heard any reports, lately.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      How far is this from Yuma? Please post more cactus flowers when they come. Thanks

    • NibsyNell profile image


      5 years ago

      Have bookmarked this lens. Looks like a beautiful place to visit. It's definitely going on my list of destinations to visit! :)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I live in a desert... but not like this one :) The Kuwaiti Desert! :) Blessed!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      It's been many years since I visited the Anza-Borrego but I wouldn't mind going back. I was surprised how much I enjoyed being there. it's a lovely place.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I sincerely hope that things will work out for you positively so that you might again visit the Anza-Borrego and then share with us your new pictures and story!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I haven't been to a desert, but would like to just to see what its like personally.

      Thanks for sharing. - To answer the question, no I don't. :)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      good lens, thanks for sharing

    • sukkran trichy profile image

      sukkran trichy 

      6 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      visiting desert is quite an experience. thanks for sharing

    • CruiseReady profile image


      6 years ago from East Central Florida

      It surely is an interesting looking area .... not at all like what we see here on the Florida coast!

    • Countryluthier profile image

      E L Seaton 

      6 years ago from Virginia

      The wild horse sculptures are off the chain. Very inviting lense. THanks for sharing.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Looks like a beautiful place to visit. Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I'm interested in birding spots in Southern CA. So, this lens helps a lot. Thanks.

    • profile image


      9 years ago


    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I like deserts and dry, arid places! Maybe once I'm finally visiting the USA I'll visit this place too. Thank you btw for your compliment on my Lost theories page. Great to hear my efforts are appreciated! 5*

    • stephenteacher profile image

      Stephen Carr 

      9 years ago from Corona, CA

      I live in Corona, and me and my wife like to visit trails that are out the way and not very visited. We found the Wilderness Gardens and saw them yesterday. Ruins of an old mill, ponds, etc., it's a very nice place. It's amazing how much So Cal has in the way of stuff like this. Good lens. Anza Borrego is on our list, but now the heat is coming!

    • Kiwisoutback profile image


      9 years ago from Massachusetts

      This is another place I'd like to see. I'll be heading out to CA in May, so I might just give this place a try!

    • KimGiancaterino profile image


      10 years ago

      This would be a nice day trip for us... we're in Los Angeles. Thanks for sharing!

    • Linda BookLady profile image

      Linda Jo Martin 

      10 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      I love visiting places like this. I've never been there - it is too far south for me. I'm on the other edge of California - twenty miles from Oregon.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Nice drawings of Anza Borrego. Very inspiring.

      You can check out my BLOG about Anza Borrego at

    • junecampbell profile image

      June Campbell 

      11 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      Great lens. I have never heard of this place. It is now on my list.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Very interesting lens. Desolute looking but beautiful!

      Tikal Xunantunich

    • GlobalOpps profile image

      Steve & Carol 

      11 years ago from San Marcos, CA

      Hi Neighbor,

      Great lens. We'd love to have you join us over at the Best Places to Visit in California Group. After you join, come visit us at San Diego Coastal Homestays

    • Shorebirdie profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from San Diego, CA

      Thanks! Unfortunately, I haven't had time to get out there lately, but plan to soon, before it gets hot. Then again, most of my trips there are in the summer.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Hello Darlene,

      This is a very informative site!!! The photographs of the Dessert are really Beautiful. I enjoyed spending a few quite moments here.

      Good Luck,


    • Shorebirdie profile imageAUTHOR


      12 years ago from San Diego, CA

      Hi everyone! I just visited the park a couple of days ago and took some pictures. I will be posting them on my Desert and Luckins Artwork websites, soon.


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