Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

Anza Borrego  022Anza Borrego  011There is tons to see and do in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, the largest state park in the state of California. Last year we enjoyed some hiking and drove to Borrego Springs to see the fabulous Galleta Meadows sculptures.

Anza Borrego  023Anza Borrego  024This year, we’re taking some time to work on Hector’s photography website while enjoying our beautiful campsite. But we have managed a few outings. Starting with the small but pretty good quality farmers market in town on Fridays. We’re big fans of farmers markets so we sample them whenever we can.Anza Borrego  026Anza Borrego  027

In addition to the farmers market, there are roadside stands selling juicy grapefruits and oranges cheap. They aren’t staffed and use the honor system of payment – I love that.

Vince and Spencer … we went searching for Pegleg's goldAnza Borrego  020

We also managed a little exploring. There is a small hike to a stone snake that some inventive folks created in the middle of the desert. It’s not a marked trail, but our friend Nina posted coordinates on her blog.

We took Angel along, and headed out with Vince and Spencer to the Pegleg Campground, which also has free boondocking.   Pegleg, a famous prospector, is said to have discovered black gold pebbles somewhere on the east side of the park. The location of his lost gold mine hasn’t been discovered, but a monument to the prospector stands here along with a pile of stones. New prospectors are asked to add ten stones for luck on their hunt.

Where is that darn snake?

Where is that darn snake?

The trail turned out to be too rocky for Angel and though Hector and Vince continued up they unfortunately were unsuccessful at figuring out the right path to the snake. One of several groups that had an unsuccessful first attempt.  They had no luck finding Pegleg’s gold either.

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Another day we decided to try to find the snake with Iain and Kate. This time we’d actually spotted a flag that marks the snake from another side of the desert so we had a better idea of our route. And this time we were successful! The snake is about thirty feet long and must have seemed very lonely, as some people have created a couple of companion animals – a turtle and a lobster.

Anza Borrego  055Anza Borrego  054Anza Borrego  051There is a broad view out across the Clark Dry Lake Bed camping area.  Can you spot Island Girl out there?Anza Borrego  056Anza Borrego  057Anza Borrego  058

An outing that many people recommended was a drive out to Font’s Point for sunset. The drive requires a high clearance vehicle, so our little car wouldn’t make it. But Vince was interested in going, and we headed out in his four-wheel drive truck – a very nice ride!Anza Borrego  039Anza Borrego  042

Anza Borrego  045The truck made the four-mile drive on semi-soft sand very comfy. As we rode up the road, the landscape around us began to change, until we reached the top and found ourselves looking down into an amphitheatre of badlands. Stunning.Anza Borrego  046

Anza Borrego  040We were there just before sunset on the advice of others. Unfortunately some dark clouds hovered immediately in front of the sun, so it was a pretty subtle sunset.   But the view is spectacular sunset or no sunset.Anza Borrego  038

Anza Borrego  041Anza Borrego  047Anza Borrego  037Anza Borrego  031Anza Borrego  030We also drove out to the Clark Dry Lake bed and walked around with Angel for a bit. It rained the day before – or what passes here as a rain that is, so there were a few slightly soft spots, but the lake bed is pretty amazing.Anza Borrego  033

There is lots of room for Angel to explore.

Anza Borrego  014And neighbors to visit.

Anza Borrego  063Anza Borrego  062Another quick exploration trip recommended by our friends Vince and Spencer was the Cactus Loop Nature Trail, south of town across from the Tamarisk Grove Campground. This short (one-mile) but rocky loop has abundant cacti throughout. The area has the most cacti we’ve seen in one place since the Organ Pipe National Monument.Anza Borrego  080

Anza Borrego  078The loop has several side trails that are pretty interesting. On the north is the Pinyon Ridge, where we spotted lots of Peninsular big-horn sheep near a stand of barrel cactus, a favorite of the sheep. Borrego is the name of these sheep in Spanish, hence the name of the park. We saw more sheep heading for the top of a hill as we continued our walk around the loop.Anza Borrego  079Anza Borrego  081

Chuparosa shrub is found throughout the trails. Its flowers attract many hummingbirds in spring, though some stay year round.  We heard them buzzing about and spotted a couple.

Other plants found here are beavertail cactus, teddy bear cholla, hedgehog cactus, fishhook cactus, agave, brittlebrush and lots of striking ocotillo, many of which had green leaves. A super fun little trail.

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Anza Borrego  093When Pam and John arrived in town, they suggested an early drive in their jeep to Font’s Point to enjoy snacks and drinks at the top before sunset.  The amphitheatre in the badlands was fully lit by the sun at this earlier time in the afternoon, even more spectacular than on our previous visit.  We set up chairs and tables and basked in the view.Anza Borrego  094Anza Borrego  092

After spending some time there, Hector realized he didn’t have a memory card in his camera. This is the first time he does that, and hopefully the last. But he always has extras, so he managed to capture a few photos of us in the post-sunset light.

On our last evening we had Pam and John over for dinner. The conversation included lots of “oh, yes I remember that in your blog” which is pretty funny.Anza Borrego  089Anza Borrego  085Anza Borrego  088

Drea and Leigh stealing Tim's van

Drea and Leigh “stealing” Tim’s van

Most of our friends had left and our tanks were almost at capacity, so it was time for us to go. Saying goodbye to this desert and this beautiful boondocking spot was tough (check out my review of the camping area here).

But off we went to the town of El Centro for a little more desert time with friends and some provisioning.

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Anza Borrego  015Tomorrow we head to Quartzsite for the RV and rockhound gatherings.

And we look forward to returning to Anza Borrego.

~ Brenda
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16 thoughts on “Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

  1. What part of the MOON were you on???? I have never seen such a desolate area!!!
    Great photos and again, you guys know how to have fun!!!

  2. Hector, once again you managed to capture all the beauty surrounding this gorgeous area. You photos are so beautiful:) The lighting for your first visit to Font’s Point created some neat photos with those sun beams. I won’t mention the incident from our visit:) But the photos of the five of us are great!! We will definitely have to visit the Cactus Loop. I love all the cactus variety:)

    So glad we had a few days to get to know each other. Looking forward to our next meeting:)

    • Hector will just have to return to Font’s Point in the early afternoon next time we are in Anza Borrego 🙂 We look forward to our next meeting as well!

  3. Another wonderful-to-read blog entry! Hector, your photos just keep getting better and better, and the arrangement is very appealing. Keep having’ fun, you three!

  4. Stunning photos! I really want to visit Anza Borrego again to check out those great places. We just arrived in Q to checkout all the good stuff. Maybe we’ll bump into you guys while we’re here! Cheers!

    • Thank you! We love Anza Borrego and may stop there again in early spring to see the wildflowers. We’re driving to Q right now and will arrive later today. Let’s get together sometime, how long are you there?

    • Thanks! She was pretty cooperative this time, but a lot of times she’ll look away when she sees us put the camera up to our faces – little stinker!

    • Thank you. It was so cool to see bighorn sheep again, the males here had some of the biggest horns we’ve seen.

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