Anza-Borrego Desert State Park – California


For our first full day in California, we headed to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. This park is about two hours from San Diego and is California’s largest state park. The park gets its’ name from 18th century explorer Juan Bautista de Anza and the Spanish word for sheep “borrego”.

Every few years when this area receives enough rain, people flock to Anza-Borrego to view the wildflowers. This year, we were just lucky enough to be visiting during what they call the “Super Bloom”. You might have even seen it on the news!

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The drive to the park is pretty spectacular. We came in on Montezuma Road or S22 and the view from the mountains into the valley was beautiful. You could see forever.

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We made our way to the Visitor’s Center and paid our $10 daily use fee. This place was busy! The rangers were very friendly and informative. We gathered our brochures and headed just a few miles north to the Borrego Palm Canyon trailhead. You do have to go through the campground to get to the trailhead parking lot. This trail is a 3 mile out and back trail. There are signs saying that this is a very hot and dry trail and make sure you carry enough water. This is also an interpretive trail so be sure to pick up a brochure at the Visitor’s Center. The views of the mountains were amazing.

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The trail winds along a creek which is probably pretty dry most of the time, but it was full of water due to the recent rain.

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After crossing the creek for the second time, it is about another half mile to the oasis. You can see the palm trees towering in the distance. The very end of the trail was closed so we never made it all the way to the oasis, but what we did see was pretty cool. The rugged and rocky landscape contrasts with the clear creek and tall palm trees.

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The wildflowers were blooming along the trail. Nicole captured some awesome pictures!

The other trail we wanted to hike was The Slot. From the Visitor’s Center, it is about a 30 minute drive. As you drive along Borrego Springs Road, keep your eyes open for the metal statues. These are pretty unique!

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To reach The Slot, you have to drive about 1.8 miles down a bumpy, dirt road to reach the parking lot, but all cars should be able to manage. From the parking lot, head to the right and up the hill.

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The Slot is a really interesting feature that I did not expect to find in the middle of the desert. The trail narrows and the walls tower above you.

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There are parts of the trail that you have to squeeze through! I loved this trail because there was always something neat to see around each turn.

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Once the trail opens back up, you can either hike back along a dirt road for a total hike of 2 miles or hike back through The Slot for a round trip of about 1 mile. I liked hiking back the way we came to enjoy the unique features of The Slot one more time.

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This was an awesome state park! Be sure to check it out if you are ever near San Diego!

Categories: Anza-Borrego State ParkTags: , , , , , , ,

4 comments

  1. These picturs are amazing 🙂 What a wonderful hike

  2. Love the pictures of the slot! The oasis is unexpected in the desert..

  3. Impressive! Loved all the pictures! Ah, the views!!

  4. Such a variety of terrains and views! Looks fantastic!

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