anza borregoAnza Borrego State Park is one of those places that I haven been trying to get to for several years. Although it is located in San Diego and we are there a lot, the timing has never quite worked out. This is what I would call a seasonal park. The season here runs from November to April. Outside of that window and you are likely to encounter temperatures well over 100 degrees f. This is a desert and as such is a place of extremes. The variety of the topography here is overwhelming. There are sections that are all sand, rocky mountain terrain, and badlands like you would expect in South Dakota. There is some really good hiking in the park. The most famous hike is the Desert Palms Trail which is a 3 mile loop trail out to a true Desert Oasis. It is really something unique and cool. Don’t come here without doing this hike. It is well worth the effort. Another unique feature of the park is the metal sculptures scattered throughout the landscape. Local artists have deposited their creations in the most unlikely places. Most are not marked and none seems to have road access to them other than the sandy dirt trails which meander between the elephants, dinosaurs, horses, and giant bird sculptures While these aspects of the park make it worth the trip, the real reason that 90% of visitors come here is for the off roading. Each weekend during the season San Diegans pack up their campers, quads, dirt bikes, sand rails, dune buggies, jeeps, and 4×4 trucks and head to the Desert. They congregate in an area called Ocotillo Wells. Camping is free and abundant throughout this huge expanse. Huge caravans of friends and neighbors meet to circle the wagons (Rv’s) and have one hell of a time. Some of the rigs are just amazing. There are some machines out here that cost more than my house. When night time comes the sky comes alive with some of the brightest stars that I have ever seen. This is a very popular place for amateur astronomers. The darkness is however occasionally interrupted by the huge bon fires held in the campgrounds. I have to admit, I was a little jealous. Our trip here was strictly a recon mission to gather intel so we were better prepared for our next trip. We stayed in a state park campground that offered full hookups. It was a great campground and the trail head to the Palm Canyon Oasis hike was right next to the campsite. With that said I would never stay there again. The guys out in the desert looked they were having way too much fun. On our next trip, we will be camping among the locals. We will also rent some ATV’s from one of the local places that rents everything from Dirt Bikes to 4 Passenger ATV’s. We only had two days here, but we learned a lot about this place and we are so much better prepared for our next trip out here. One note of caution is that there is no easy way in or out. The roads are filled with gnarly switchbacks and steep climbs and descents. Many roads have signs that advice that say that vehicles over 30 feet are not advised. The truth is that like the thousands of others who flock here every winter weekend, you just have to ignore that and get a tight grip on the wheel. It will all be over in about an hour. Like I said, there really is no easy way in or out. However even in our 35 foot RV towing our 4 door jeep, we had no problems.

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