Terra Firma Adventures

Exploring Anza-Borrego SP, Spring in the Desert

Kristopher Artz May,2012 1 Comment

Anza-Borrego Desert SP  is California’s largest state park. It is located to the South East of Los Angeles- about a 3 hour drive. In the late winter or early spring, this desert is an amazing place to enjoy some mild weather, primitive camping, hiking, various difficulty levels off roading,  and observe beautiful desert wildflowers.

View of the "Borrego Badlands"

The variety of terrain found in the park is amazing. In a single day you can experience the archetypical desert consisting of relatively flat mostly sandy terrain littered with low lying cacti, rough and rocky slopes with tall slender Ocotillo bushes, sandy washes, steep water and wind eroded land formations, and lushly vegetated  areas near water.

We began our adventure with a simple hike. It was the perfect way to stretch our legs after a 3 hour drive, and begin to observe some of the desert  flowers. Since we were hiking with kids, we found a trail that was fairly wide open, was very flat and had a lot to observe.

Exploring the Blooming Ocotillos with an Easy Hike

I Find the Long, Slender Branches of the Ocotillo Fascinating

After our hike we continued to explore some of the different geological formations and regions of the park by vehicle. We looked at our off road trail map and decided to head towards an area that was said to have water and some designated camp areas. We took the “Coyote Canyon Trail” that was rated as moderate and definitely found some water.

Water Crossing

After slowly forging the creek we continued and the trail got considerably steeper and more rocky.

Since the sun was setting quickly and we didn’t know what to expect with the trail conditions ahead, we turned around to find a campsite closer to the creek, where the terrain was not nearly so rocky. We found a designated spot and set up our tent. The camping here is primitive, meaning no running water etc. In the designated camping areas, you can have fires if you bring a metal fire pit to contain them and you take the ash with you when you leave. Luc and I started a small fire and sat with our girls on our laps,watching the fire and listening to the amazing sound of hundreds of frogs. In my dreams, I never would have imagined I’d be sitting around a campfire, surrounded by so many stars, an amazing variety of cacti and be listening to a very loud chorus of frogs. It was truly an amazing experience.

The next morning I was awake early to take photos of the sun rise and the desert flowers before everyone else got up.




Luc and the girls got up and we had pancakes and bacon for breakfast before packing the tent and sleeping pads and bags.

Our Perfect Camp Spot

After packing the car we went  for a short hike and climbed around on and around some of the large boulders further up the trail.

Happy Camper- Happy Hiker

We continued to tour the park in the vehicle for a few more hours before heading to Borrego Springs.

Outside of Borrego Springs is Galleta Meadows. Galleta Meadows is the home of these amazing metal sculptures by Ricardo Breceda. We stopped to admire many of these amazing pieces of art that seem so at home in the desert scenery.

This is one of 129 Different Free Standing Metal Sculptures

There were some rain clouds moving in as we were heading over the mountains on County Highway S22. At an overlook we stopped to look at Borrego Springs far below us. As we looked out at the beautiful desert below we were pleasantly surprised to see a rainbow. It was the absolute perfect ending to an absolutely perfect trip.

The Pot of Gold at the End of this Rainbow is the Anza-Borrego State Park

If your looking for a destination to explore and learn what treasures the Desert holds, I can think of no place with a greater variety of terrain, vegetation and wildlife than the Anza-BorregoDesert State Park.

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1 Comment

  1. Matt Rouse May,2012 at

    Amazing photos! I really dig the Cactus Hair image. And the rainbow? Nice shot!

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