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California > California State Parks, Beaches and Historic Parks > Desert Region State Parks and Recreation Areas
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Desert Region State Parks and Recreation Areas

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Anza-Borrego Desert State Park- 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.
Heber Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area- Heber Dunes SVRA is composed of 343 acres of land that was part of the Imperial County Park System. It is primarily used for off-road recreation, however, camping, picnicking, and baseball are also popular activities in the park.
Indo Hills Palms State Park- Here, along a line where the San Andreas fault captures groundwater that nurtures the palms, is a 2,206-acre wild parkland containing some fine palm groves, including Hidden, Pushawalla, Briska, Macomber and Horseshoe palms.
Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area- Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area is adjacent to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Ocotillo Wells has over 42,000 acres of desert terrain, from below sea level to 400 foot elevations.
Pacheco State Park- Pacheco State Park is the last remaining section of the 1843 Mexican land grant of Francisco Pacheco. In the middle of the 19th century, the Pacheco family's land holdings extended to nearly 150,000 acres.
Providence Mountains State Recreation Area- Providence Mountains State Recreation Area has broad valleys full of cactus, creosote bush, sand dunes, cinder cones and dramatic mountain ranges in the eastern Mojave Desert.
Red Rock Canyon State Park- Red Rock Canyon State Park features scenic desert cliffs, buttes and spectacular rock formations. The park is located where the southernmost tip of the Sierra Nevada converge with the El Paso Range.
Salton Sea State Recreation Area- One of the worlds largest inland seas, Salton Sea was created by accident when a dike broke during the construction of the All-American Canal in 1905. This 360 square-mile basin is a popular site for boaters, water-skiers and anglers.

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General Information

Joshua Tree in Desert
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Joshua Tree in Desert
Description - 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.

Attractions - More than just a hot, arid environment, this region is rich with colorful geological formations, "badlands" dotted with fan palm oases, hardy flora and fauna, riparian wetlands toward the eastern Sierra, acres of spring wildflowers, mile-high peaks, spectacular limestone caverns, and an "accidental" saltwater lake. The Desert Region features two state parks, and three state recreation areas. Anza-Borrego State Park, which covers over 600,000 acres, is located in this region.

Recreation - Activities in the Desert Region state park sites include: camping, picnicking, hiking, biking, horseback riding, climbing, and even swimming, boating, fishing and viewing the desert scenery.

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 hours of the morning.

Location - The Desert Region lies in southeast California, around the communities of Palm Springs and Barstow. It is located approximately 55 miles southwest of Las Vegas and 65 miles northeast of San Diego. The main highways accessing this region are Interstates 10 and 40 running east/west.

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: Hanna (Sherman Oaks, CA)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Corn Springs is just a few miles east of Desert Center right off the I-10 on the way to the Colorado River (just 45 miles west of Blythe). If you like a small, serene campground with low visitation activity this place is ideal. There are 10 campsites with pit toilets, fire rings , picnic tables and water available for washing. The area is famous for some fine examples of Native American petroglyphs whose origins are unknown. Corn Springs is a good area to study native Colorado Desert reptiles, insects,bighorn sheep, birds and plants. There is a nice selection of washes you can walk and rock formations to explore and a numbered trail around the native palm tree stand. Even an old abandoned miner's shack. off road vehicle enthusiasts beware! The BLM rangers are keeping on eye on this area, so stay on those designated trails. if you need to stock up on supplies for camping, or just would like a prepared home-style cooked meal, Desert Center is only about 5 miles away where you can exploit its market and famous Desert Center Cafe. I spent a most enjoyable, restful weekend there; despite the fact we were hit with cold rainy, windy weather on one of the days.

More Information

Contact Information:
California Department of Parks & Recreation, P.O. Box 942896 , Sacramento, CA, 94296-0001, Phone: 916-653-6995

Additional Information:
California State Parks, Beaches and Historic Parks - California has 265 state parks which cover 1.3 million diverse acres. The huge variety of state parks offers tremendous outdoor recreation opportunities.
Desert Region - The Desert Region encompasses the southeast corner of California. It features Death Valley and Joshua Tree National Parks. The region is studded with glittering yet relaxing resort cities, offers the ideal spot for re-energizing your senses.


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