dawn 'til dusk (in the day use area of the developed campgrounds)
Visitor Center Hours: Daily 9am to 5pm.
Due to the extremely large number of visitors to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Borrego Springs is experiencing heavy traffic congestion, so please expect traffic delays and long waits for parking. Please be patient. We encourage visitors to come early or later rather than midday. Visitor Center Parking Fee is $5 (cash only).
Also, due to the large amount of visitors to Borrego Springs, cellular data may not be available.
Parking at Borrego Palm Canyon is limited. Vehicles will be restricted to occupying one parking space. There will be limited parking for oversized vehicle at the Visitor Center 2nd parking lot. People with RVs, trailers, and other oversized vehicles are encouraged to plan for limited parking. Visitor Center parking is $5; Day use parking in campground areas is $10.
ANZA-BORREGO DESERT STATE PARK®
WILDFLOWER UPDATE 3-24-2017
Abundant winter rains have given us this lovely phenomenon of annual plants, shrubs, and cacti bursting into bloom this month, and we’re happy you’re here to see it, too.
Follow this route to see a variety of different wildflowers:
• Head east on Palm Canyon Drive (the “main drag” through our little town)
• Go past the traffic circle/roundabout that we call Christmas Circle
• Follow the highway as it continues east, then follow the road as it heads north (if you have time, check out the flowers—Dune Primrose and Sand Verbena, with a few Dune Sunflowers and Desert Lilies—blooming in the dunes along Old Springs Road, a paved road to the right at this corner)
• You should see white Dune Evening Primrose and pink Sand Verbena along the sides of the highway.
• Where the highway bends right to continue east, make a left turn onto Henderson Canyon Road (an alternative is to follow the highway to a great display near mile marker 31, then come back).
• You’ll see more pink and white, along with purple lupine, near the east end of Henderson Canyon Road, before arriving at the fields of yellow-orange Desert Sunflower. There should be lots of parking along this road. The freshest-looking sunflowers are in the eastern half of this field.
• Continue west on Henderson Canyon Road; you’ll see a field of flowers at the intersection with DiGiorgio Road; a left turn on either DiGiorgio or Borrego Springs Road will show you more flowers and bring you back to the center of town. A collection of large metal sculptures near the intersection of Henderson Canyon Road and Borrego Springs Road is worth checking out, too.
Desert lilies have mostly finished blooming, but a few can still be found at Arroyo Salado primitive camp.
Ocotillos are starting to bloom; look for them along Highway 78, on Yaqui Pass Road (Highway S-3), and in the Desert Gardens area in Coyote Canyon (the dirt road beyond Desert Gardens requires a 4WD vehicle).
The bright yellow flowers of Brittlebush are stunning, on the hillsides of Highways S-22 and S-3.
The Visitor Center is one of the best places to see a variety of cacti in bloom, as well as desert dandelions, pincushionjoining other shrubs such as brittlebush, indigo bush, and chuparosa.
Primitive camps available to two-wheel-drive vehicles are Culp Valley (west of town) and Arroyo Salado (east of town), both on Highway S-22. 4WD vehicles can access Yaqui Well camp. No ground fires permitted.
Visitors who have a day or more would do well to explore the southern half of the park, also.
Flowers will be coming into bloom at higher elevations, and are already blooming at the Carrizo Badlands Overlook.
Blair Valley and Mountain Palm Springs are large primitive camps along S-2 in the southern half of the park, with plenty of room, vault toilets, and short hikes nearby. Both are accessible to 2WD vehicles. Fill your gas tank before heading south, take plenty of water, and be prepared to pack out your trash. No ground fires.
Please drink plenty of water while you are here, obey all traffic laws, and be considerate of the flowers (all vegetation is protected!) and of the visitors who are here with you and those who will come
USE CAUTION ON DIRT ROADS
Many dirt roads in the park experienced flooding last month. Road conditions are variable; most roads require four-wheel-drive and many require high clearance as well. Be aware that after rains, mud can be very sticky and can trap even four-wheel drive vehicles; do not drive into mud puddles! Check road conditions (last updated 2/10/17).
MORE RAIN IS FORECAST FOR THE COMING WEEKEND, WHICH MEANS THAT ROADS ARE LIKELY TO BECOME EVEN MORE MUDDY, SLICK, AND STICKY. VISITORS ARE ADVISED TO USE EXTREME CAUTION WHEN TRAVELING DIRT ROADS IN THE PARK, EVEN WITH FOUR-WHEEL-DRIVE VEHICLES!
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is the largest state park in California. Five hundred miles of dirt roads, 12 wilderness areas and many miles of hiking trails provide visitors with an unparalleled opportunity to experience the wonders of the California Desert. The park is named for Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza and the Spanish word borrego, or bighorn sheep. The park features washes, wildflowers, palm groves, cacti and sweeping vistas. Visitors may also have the chance to see roadrunners, golden eagles, kit foxes, mule deer and bighorn sheep as well as iguanas, chuckwallas and the red diamond rattlesnake. Listening devices for the hearing impaired are available in the visitor center.
The Park is located on the eastern side of San Diego County, with portions extending east into Imperial County and north into Riverside County. It is about a two-hour drive from San Diego, Riverside, and Palm Springs.
Many visitors approach from the east or west via Highways S22 and 78. From the coast, these highways descend from the heights of the Peninsular range of mountains with spectacular views of the great bowl of the Colorado Desert. Highway S2 enters the park from the south off of Interstate 8.
Most visitors approach from the east via Highways S22, S2, or 78. Visitors from San Diego via Highways 79 and 78 have the added pleasure of driving through the mountainous Cuyamaca Rancho State Park--quite a different experience from Anza-Borrego. The highways from the east climb to 2,400 feet or so and then descend about 2,000 feet to the valley. Where the highway breaks out of the high-country vegetation, it reveals the great bowl of the Anza-Borrego desert. The valley spreads below, and there are mountains all around. The highest are to the north--the Santa Rosa Mountains. The mountains are a wilderness, with no paved roads in or out or through. They have the only all-year-flowing watercourse in the park. They are the home of the peninsular bighorn sheep, often called desert bighorn. Few park visitors ever see them; the sheep are justly wary. A patient few observers each year see and count them, to learn how this endangered species is coping with human encroachment.
Borrego Springs is a Dark Sky Community, providing outstanding opportunities for exploring the star filled night sky.