Anza-Borrego Desert: San Diego, CA

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is perfect for camping, stargazing, and hiking so long as you can avoid the thorny plants.

Anza-Borrego has sharp agave plants but is a really great morning hike if you're careful.

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
November-April: 9am-5pm (Open Daily)
May-October: 9am-5pm (Open on Weekends)
200 Palm Canyon Drive | Borrego Springs, CA 92004 [map]

[Photo Gallery]

I have briefly touched on Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in my San Diego post. I visited the park September of 2012 to get away from the monotony of living in the quiet city and gaze at stars instead. It’s one of my favorite camping memories to date; however there are some things you must remember in order to keep your road trip enjoyable.
1. Steer clear of the prickly jumping chollas. Those things have continued to plague my pants even after a few washes.
2. The roads leading up to the second largest park in continental America are really steep and narrow. They will either cause dizziness, extreme hunger, or both. I highly suggest you pack up hefty-sized meals and snacks if you’re spending more than just a few hours there.
3. If you plan to camp overnight like we did, make sure to bring blankets because the deserts of California do get cold at night.
4. Coyotes will be around and howling at night — there is no need to panic and attract them towards where you are. As smartly pointed out by a Google review, this desert is “not for sissies!”
5. If you want great photos of the stars, bring a tripod.
6. Anza-Borrego has 110 miles of hiking trails. It’s best to hike in the morning as it gets hotter and drier throughout the day.
7. Make sure you’re wearing the right shoes, the surrounding agave plants look potentially life-threatening in the event that you fall.
8. Don’t dehydrate. There is at least one gas station not far from the Visitor Center.
9. Stop by Julian and eat an apple pie on your way out.

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