Pets allowed
Allowed
Guided tours
No
Backcountry camping
Yes
Lodging
No
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

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.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

General Day Use Fee

Pros

Pictographs. Stunning vistas. Stargazing.

Cons

Some roads are rough. Very hot during the summer.

Features

ADA accessible
Campgrounds + Campsites
Showers
Backcountry camping
Historically significant
Flushing toilets
Mountain biking
Bicycling
Potable water
Picnic tables
Horseback riding
Bird watching
Wildlife

Site type

Full hookups

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Comments

03/18/2017
Some shots of the Super Bloom last March
03/26/2017
I'm not usually a desert person, but I had a great time exploring the mountains and canyons of this park last weekend! Definitely recommend for any mountain kids who need a break from the snow.
03/25/2017
Springtime in Coyote Canyon.
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