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Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

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Quick Facts
Handicapped Accessible: Yes Accessible camping, picnicking and nature trail.
Reservation Status: Accepted Campground reservations can be made online or by calling (800) 444-7275.

General Information

Cliffs in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
Copyright: - California State Parks
Cliffs in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
Description - With over 600,000 acres, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is the largest state park in the contiguous United States. The park features washes, wildflowers, palm groves, cacti and sweeping vistas.

Attractions - With over 600,000 acres, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is the largest state park in the contiguous United States. The park is named after Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza and the Spanish name borrego, or bighorn sheep. The park features washes, wildflowers, palm groves, cacti and sweeping vistas. Visitors may also have the chance to see roadrunner, golden eagles, kit foxes, mule deer and bighorn sheep as well as iguanas, chuckwallas and the red diamond rattlesnake. Listening devices for the hearing impaired are available in the visitor center.

The Visitor Center is built into a hill, so it is mostly underground. It is open 7 days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during October through May and on weekends from June through September. The Visitor Center has some very informative exhibits, plus a free 16-minute nine-projector slide program, with music and narration. A desert garden just outside the Visitor Center building provides a quick look at some of the vegetation in the 600,000-acre park, with the species identified.
The desert wildflowers, a real attraction for this park, usually start blooming in force in late February or early March. Varieties of cactus bloom at all elevations but at different times, and for wildflower buffs they are the real prize.

Recreation - There are 500 miles of primitive roads and trails within the park for visitors to enjoy. Its 600,000 acres contain 12 wilderness areas, three county roads, one state highway, and more than 500 miles of dirt roads. There are two dozen well-marked hiking trails and hundreds of washes and canyons where visitors can be "alone" in the quietude of the desert.

CAMPING: Anza-Borrego has two well-developed campgrounds, Borrego Palm Canyon and Tamarisk Grove. Borrego Palm Canyon is the only one with hookups. There are nine primitive camp areas and a horse camp. In addition to all those, you can drive no more than one vehicle length off almost any dirt road in the park and camp. No conveniences, of course; you are completely on your own for water supply, garbage disposal, and anything else you might expect in a designated campground.

Climate - Days in south-central California are typically clear with less than 25% humidity.
Temperatures are most comfortable in the spring and fall, with an average high/low of 85 and 50 degrees F respectively. Winter brings cooler days, around 60 degrees F, and freezing nights. It occasionally snows at higher elevations. Summers are hot, over 100 degrees F during the day and not cooling much below 75 degrees F until the early morning.

Location - The park is located east of San Diego on Highway 79, five miles north of Interstate 8.

To find the Visitor Center, turn north (left) off 78 onto Highway S3, drive about 6 miles, and turn left onto Borrego Springs Road (Highway S3). Another 5 miles or so will take you to Christmas Circle in the town of Borrego Springs. Drive counterclockwise around the circle and turn off at Palm Canyon Drive west. Drive about 3 miles and follow the signs to the Visitor Center.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Filed By: squall (chino, ca)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: anza borrego dsp is an extraordinary place pictographs,wind caves,palm oasis',slot canyons, countless species of plants and animals,alltogether in 600,000 acres of desert ready for adventure.youll need lots of water and time.most of the park is free to camp(in designated areas}summer can be very hot.canyon sin nombre rocks! get a san diego backcountry map and your all set.

Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Hiked the Borrego Palm Canyon trail- the highlight was a herd of the elusive desert bighorn sheep- probably 20+ of them. Bring your binoculars and scan the hillsides!

Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: We went in early August 2005. Take the time to hike the trails where the pictographs and mortreros are! The roads and trails were well-marked. You simply drive in to the park and follow the main roads, keeping the nearby slopes to your left. After a few miles, you will find the trail heads. Signposts will direct you to the individual trails. The pictograph hike is easy (1 mile, relatively easy terrain) for children (mine were 5 and 8) and the views and history of the place are well-marked. The pictographs were quite remarkable! The mortreros trail is a short, quarter mile easy walk. Look for a large rock formation and note the round depressions in the "tabletop" rock- those are the mortreros. We did not go up to the homestead site, as it is a steep hike, but the background info at the start of the trail made the trip sound well-worth it for hikers who like short, steep treks.

Filed By: Joe Piluso (San Diego, CA)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: The Anza-Borrego Desert is a great place to hike, camp, or even just tour in your car. Most of the roads are accessible to two-wheel drive, and you just never know what you'll see. This past Monday (6/09/03), my buddy Wes Farmer and I drove into the Split Mountain area. While there we saw a red racer snake crossing the road; then we spotted a large gopher snake that had a bad meeting with a car, and throughout the day we saw all sorts of lizards, birds, and an occasional human. Great place; great day. Get there if you can.

Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Camping Family campgrounds and a horse camp available. Some campsites closed during summer months.

More Information

Contact Information:
Colorado District Headquarters, 200 Palm Canyon Drive , Borrego Springs, CA, 92004, Phone: 760-767-5311, Fax: 760-767-3427
, CDDHQ@parks.ca.gov

Additional Information:
Desert Region State Parks and Recreation Areas - The Desert Region encompasses the southeast corner of California. It includes a large portion of the Mojave Desert around the towns of Barstow, Indio and Needles. It features Death Valley and Joshua Tree National Parks as well as two state parks, and three state recreation areas.
Route 78--Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Road - This State Scenic Highway in the Desert Region of southern California runs through Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.
San Diego County State Parks and Beaches - The sandstone bluffs, gentle surf, and wide, sandy beaches of San Diego County offer great recreation to all visitors. The region features three state parks, seven state beaches, two state historic parks, and one state reserve.
Southern California -

California State Parks - Official agency website.
Campground Reservations - Reserve your campground online here with reserveamerica.com


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