Calling all weekend warriors!
At a quick glance, Anza-Borrego Desert Park may look like just a desert and open terrain, which it is, but like any place, you can find beauty in a hopeless place.
I am always looking for a nearby adventure to get away from the hustle and bustle of work-life, away from the daily consumption of technology, and to see the nature that surrounds us. Anza-Borrego Desert Park was the perfect day-trip getaway because it is different and undiscovered territory only over 2 hours southeast from me.
In order to fully appreciate Anza-Borrego and the fun adventures it has to offer, you will need an All-Wheel Drive (AWD) vehicle. I can speak from experience that my friend and I were limited on what we could get to without a Jeep or a 4X4 vehicle. It wasn’t until after visiting Anza-Borrego and previously being stuck in a snowstorm that I decided my next car will have to be a 4X4.
What you will need for a day visit to Anza-Borrego:
- A 4X4 vehicle and a spare tire
- Plenty of food and water for the dry air
- Sunblock to protect yourself from the blazing sun
- Toilet paper, there will be no nearby restroom facilities
We departed on our adventure in March, during the Desert Super Bloom, so there were crowds of people and high traffic. In order to avoid the masses, consider visiting close to April but there might not be much left to look at.
Who knew gorgeous sceneries of yellow wildflowers would bring so many people?
When driving towards Downtown Anza-Borrego there are large areas of land covered in spring flower blooms. Since we arrived a little later than anticipated, we went straight to our first stop on our itinerary and did not stop for any pictures along the way. I would definitely recommend going to Anza-Borrego during the Springtime to see the beautiful flowers. Remember: With flowers, comes great crowds of tourists and Instagrammers.
To see the bloom, check out Borrego Badlands, Borrego Palm Canyon, and HellHole Canyon. Be sure to check the status of the wildflowers online before you go. If you get lucky, you will also have the chance to see Wild Bighorn Sheep!
Once we left the carpets of flowers behind and headed towards our hikes, the masses of people eventually dispersed, and we were left with barely anyone in our perimeters.
A small town vibes with few shops, motels, and restaurants.
For food and gas, Downtown Anza-Borrego is your place. There are limited restaurants and shops to grab a quick bite to eat. But if you haven’t eaten, be sure to get food here, otherwise you won’t be finding any food when you are out in the desert. Also, make sure you fill up on gas and put air in your tires before heading to the park, otherwise you might get stuck out there without any help for a while.
Slot Canyon is a fun and easy .8 mile hike, great for all ages. You can get to the trailhead just fine without a 4X4 vehicle, I even saw a Prius there. The parking may be limited since it is a popular attraction. The hike is mostly flat land with a few climbs over some rocks, but nothing to be worried about.
When visiting Anza-Borrego, make sure The Slot Is on your itinerary. It is fun and the scope of The Slot is enormous. You will feel so insignificant while walking through it as it massively towers over you. Although I am claustrophobic around people, I did not have the “walls are caving in” feeling with the rocks. It was fun to slide through the caves rather than sliding into the DMs for once.
Fish Creek, Badlands, Font’s Point
We had a few different other sights bookmarked to see but when we tried to drive towards there in our Mazda sedan, we realized there was no way we could get there without constantly worrying about our tires popping. We attempted to see Font’s Point but after halfway through, we encountered large rocks and the fear of the car getting wrecked. Forcibly, we turned around and headed back to the paved roads.
Since we were not driving a 4X4, we made vows to come back once we had access to one so we can one day overcome these rocky terrain roads and discover other lands that our sedan was not able to handle.
On the way to some of the points of interest, we got lost so we took in the views of pure desert and wildflower blooms.
Located in Borrego Springs is Galleta Meadows, home to many larger-than-life metal sculptures scattered around the area. When you get up close and think about how much work, time, and detail it takes to make each one, you will agree that they are works of art. You need to drive from each sculpture as they are too far apart to walk to each one. There is a map with the locations of each sculpture and which animal you are interested in seeing.
Be sure to grab a map at the city center or find a map online of where each one is located, otherwise, you will be driving around aimlessly.
Before the sun sets and the desert darkness took over, I was able to drive by and look at a great number of these works of art. My favorite were the elephants and, of course, you can’t leave without stopping by the most Instagrammed Sea Dragon.