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Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

Western Sonoran + Colorado Desert, California

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Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

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  • Barrel and cholla cacti.- Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
  • Cholla cactus.- Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
  • Elephant Knees Butte in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.- Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
  • Cracked mud.- Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
  • Sunset view in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.- Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
  • An ironwood tree and a field of ocotillos in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.- Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
  • Field of ocotillos- Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
  • Chuparosa flower.- Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
  • Coyote footprints in the caked mud, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.- Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
  • Split Mountain Wash.- Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
  • Wildflowers open up in Borrego Palm Canyon.- Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
  • Cactus blooms near Indianhead Peak.- Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
  • Brittlebush near the trailhead of Palm Canyon.- Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
  • Brittlebush blooming on the road into the park.- Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
  • Barrel cacti blooming with Indianhead Peak towering in the background.- Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
  • Incredible views from the summit of Indianhead Peak.- Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
  • Fun rock scrambling just off of the Palm Canyon Trail in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.- Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
  • Sunset view on along the ridgeline of an alternate trail in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.- Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
  • There are plentiful swimming holes to cool off in!- Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
  • Tarantula heading back to its den.- Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Pictographs. Stunning vistas. Stargazing.
Cons: 
Some roads are rough. Very hot during the summer.
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Alerts: 
There is currently no water at Bow Willow Primitive Camp.
Region:
Western Sonoran + Colorado Desert, CA
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
General Day Use Fee
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Fall
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Sponsored Contributor

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is the largest state park in California. It includes 12 designated wilderness areas, 110 miles of trails, and 28 mountain summits. The landscape varies from desert washes and mud caves to canyons and mountain peaks. Although at first glance the scenery may seem bleak and empty, it is part of the unique ecosystem of the Colorado Desert. Anza-Borrego is home to many plants such as creosote bush, sage, palo verde trees, several types of cacti (including cholla and barrel), ocotillo, velvet mesquite, and elephant trees. The desert is also home to a variety of seasonal wildflowers. Many of the animals here have adapted to withstand hot temperatures and little water. For example, the kangaroo rat can survive without ever drinking water (they get moisture through their diet of seeds). Other animals you can find here include kit foxes, bighorn sheep, coyotes, roadrunners, golden eagles, jack rabbits, ground squirrels, quail, a variety of lizards, and rattlesnakes.

Anza Borrego is one of the best stargazing places in Southern California. Just a few miles south on route S-2, off of CA-78, lies Blair Valley. The best time to see the stars is between midnight and a few hours before dawn. Make sure you give your eyes about 20 minutes to adjust after using flashlights or sitting by a campfire. This is definitely a go-to spot for amateur astro-photographers and hobbyists alike.

Although the desert can be an exciting and beautiful place to visit, it is important to remember that it can also be dangerous if you come unprepared. It is recommended that you bring one gallon of water per person, per day. Cell phone service is unreliable out here. The best time to visit is during the winter or spring, since summer temperatures can reach up to 125 degrees.

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Field Guide

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(2 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(12 within a 30 mile radius)

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