Thursday – March 26, 2015
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
Borrego Springs, California
We departed Joshua Tree National Park, near Twentynine Palms, California, at 12:20 p.m. We arrived at the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in Borrego Springs, California at 2:15 p.m.
This region of southeastern California is experiencing record high temperatures for this early in the year. Temperatures are in the high 90s and expected to reach 101 degrees on Saturday. Although the humidity is low at 10%, it is still hot!
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is a state park located within the Colorado Desert of southern California. The park takes its name from 18th-century Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza and borrego, the Spanish word for bighorn sheep. With 634,000 acres, this is the largest state park in California and, after New York's Adirondack Park, the second largest in the continental United States. The park occupies eastern San Diego County and reaches into Imperial and Riverside counties, enveloping two communities: Borrego Springs (home of the park headquarters) and Shelter Valley.
Anza Borrego Desert State Park includes 500 miles of dirt roads, 12 designated wilderness areas, and 110 miles of hiking trails. The great bowl of the surrounding desert is surrounded by mountains, with the Vallecito Mountains to the south and the highest Santa Rosa Mountains to the north.
The park features: bajadas and desert washes; rock formations and colorful badlands, vast arid landscapes, and dramatic mountains. The bajadas are predominantly creosote bush-bur sage with creosote bush and the palo verde-cactus shrub ecosystems with the palo verde tree, cacti, and ocotillo. In the washes, Colorado/Sonoran microphylla woodlands can be found. These woodlands include such plants as smoke tree, velvet mesquite, and catclaw.
Anza Borrego Desert State Park has natural springs and oases, with the state's only native palm, the endangered California fan palm. Seasonal wildflower displays can be stunning. The high-country to the north and east has closed-cone pine forests, manzanitas, and oak woodlands.
The oases are prolific with all types of fauna, especially for bird-watching. Throughout the park, visitors may see kit foxes, mule deer, coyotes, greater roadrunners, golden eagles, black-tailed jackrabbits, ground squirrels, kangaroo rats, quail, and prairie falcons. In the reptile class, desert iguanas, chuckwallas, and the red diamond rattlesnakes can be seen. Some areas of the park are habitat for bighorn sheep, however, few park visitors see them.
Borrego Springs has a quaint small town environment. Our impression is the town is a haven for senior citizens who spend the winters there. We had dinner at Pablito’s Mexican Bar. Despite the temperature being in the high 90s, we selected a dining table in the open-air section of the restaurant. It was quite comfortable and the food was delicious.
Camping Fee: $35.00 ($33.00 for seniors over 62 years)
Camping Site: 43
Total miles traveled today: 75
South on California Highway 195
South on Calfornia Highway 86
West on California County Highway S22 to Anza-Borrego State Park
Tomorrow another adventure begins.