no dogs





nature trips

wild flowers

kid friendly


off road driving

trail running



mountain biking

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 varied desert terrain and habitats, 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. Many visitors approach from the east via Highways S22, S2, or 78. Visitors from San Diego and other points west arrive via Highways 79 and 78 can have the added pleasure of driving through the mountainous Cuyamaca Rancho State Park--quite a different experience from Anza-Borrego. The highways from the west 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 Santa Rosa Mountains on the north side of this basin are notably grand. The surrounding mountains are 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 wary in their defense against predators. A patient few observers each year see and count them, to learn how this endangered species is coping with human encroachment.

Pros: Tunnels, train cars, possible wildlife spottings, bridges, trestle. All opportunities for great photos with the right time of day.
Cons: train cars have been ripped apart as more and more people find this place; unnecessary tagging of rocks (not art); bridges, in my opinion, are not safe enough to bring children or pets; flat 16 miles takes a toll.

1 day ago

Beautiful views of Blair Valley to the north and Laguna mountains to the south.

This hike was challenging. I did Cactus to Clouds a couple of weeks ago, and although it wasn't quite that challenging, it was still a very difficult trek. I did not greatly enjoy this hike. Once the "trail" ends, you are basically boldering and avoiding cacti the entire rest of the way. I was stopping every 10 minutes to visually navigate the austere terrain in front of me to find the safest and "clearest" route. This is not a hike I would suggest doing by yourself. It's dangerous, and because of the incline and obstacle ridden terrain, one step could lead to a significant injury, or worse, death. I never felt completely unsafe, but there were moments I felt anxiety, which didn't allow me to relax and appreciate it as much. The summit is nice, but there are challenging trails that offer similar or better views of the same thing, but without the bushwacking experience.

1 day ago

We had a very difficult time finding a trail to the mountain. Ended up parking off the Jacumba exit turned right down a dirt road and parked under the freeway. Followed the tracks and then had to make our way through thick shrubbery and trees they have thorns so pants are recommended. There is no path in. Once you get through the shrubs you need to walk to the southeast side to climb. There isn’t a very visible track so we made our own way. It took 3 hours round trip and my Fitbit tracked 4 miles. Definitely bring lots of water and a good walking stick. You will see border patrol helicopters flying since it is so close to the border. We didn’t feel any danger though.

You can’t go all the way from S2 near Butterfield (at box canyon) to S1 (sunrise highway) with a vehicle, but you can cut across at Chariot Canyon to Banner Grade (Hwy 78). Its a tough trek unless you have the right equipment. I’ve reviewed this already as Oriflamme Canyon trail. Check it out for recommendations. Also passable via Rodriguez Canyon if you want to rock crawl (for you Jeeper creepers). Again, go prepared. Awesome adventure. Oriflamme Canyon and the Mason Valley Truck Trail are worth exploring. The entire trek is hike-ready. It is not truly closed altogether if you are on foot. The PCT crosses this trail too.

2 days ago

Very easy hike with great views and awesome wind caves. The initial ascent is steep and rocky, but not in any way a reason to avoid this destination. Kids will love it too. Looks like something from a sci-fi movie. Definitely need a vehicle with good clearance and better with 4wd. Access is through a sandy/rocky wash. The trip in to the trailhead through the canyon is scenic too.

Great trail for beginners or with small kids. It’s about a 3 mile round trip with an alternate route back which is great. A bit crowded during the weekend when the weather is nice and cool.

It’s easy, and most of the time the goats come close to the trails. Don’t drink the water, the rangers have said that is definitely not clean!

bike packing .Overnig bike camping

Interesting trail loop winds up through several palm canyons from the Mtn Palm Springs campground. Camping there amongst the cholla is an adventure by itself, with roaming packs of coyotes and so many cacti you’re bound to get prickly. Heading up the southern side of the trail is the preferred route as coming down the north side is steep and boulder ridden. Climbing up the north loop woul be challenging. Found a beautiful chert point at top of the hike, geolocated it and left it there. Never take any artifacts that you find, they are sacred objects to the native people. Leave them for others to find and appreciate.

mountain biking
4 days ago

Camped in Little Blair valley on the east side of the trail. Several primitive campsites encircle the valley, which gets filled with wildflowers in the spring. Biked the entire route with a buddy; great ride, strenuous at times and some soft sandy sections, but great scenery. Hiked up the indian trail at the southeast end of the loop the next day, its about 3 miles in and back from the trailhead. There are several morteros and Native American petroglyphs on the large rocks in the valley. Heading back it started to rain pretty good, be careful getting out, there are some muddy bits of track on the Big Blair (west loop) side of the range.

4 days ago

Great hike with diverse terrain. Cool, moist canyon with open desert approach, rocks and mountain trails. Lands right on top of Agua Caliente. Big horn sheep are on the trail if you start early enough. Relatively easy to traverse.

4 days ago

One of the best examples of native “rock art” in the region. Easy to access and a pleasant nature hike overall. Bring the kids. Wash is stable most of the year. Still best to bring a 4x4.

This is a wonderful cultural site. Easy to access and intriguing to visit and explore. Especially with kids. Don’t miss this one or nearby pictographs and box canyon.

off road driving
4 days ago

I have taken this path (The Mason Valley Truck Trail) twice now. Once from the 78 at Banner Grade down to the S2 at Box Canyon and once in the opposite direction from S2 up to 78. Took my LR4 going up and my 4Runner coming down. It was a tough trip going both ways. But also really fun and quite beautiful. Oriflamme has an amazing history. Look it up before you go. The path is rocky and a very rough trip for anyone without experience. I recommend having a spotter/co-pilot on board too - like you would climbing rocks. My most recent trip was in October of 2017. The rains have caused major erosion since my first trip. I would rate it medium to hard because of the tight spaces, shear drops and loose surfaces. Only true off-road “overland” vehicles with a narrow footprint and shorter wheelbase will fit. Ample clearance is important too. No full-size trucks or large SUVs. You’ll risk major damage. Very few places to turn back once you get started. Also note, the big metal gate up at Banner isn’t really locked.

It is a geological interpretive trail that points out faults and different rock types. There is an arroyo that is a good side trip to walk up.

The trail at the end of the road has an impasse at about one tenth of a mile up the narrow wash. There is a way to bypass it on the steep hillside of crumbly granite, but it is a bit treacherous on descent. For casual hikers I would not recommend this trail. For the young and adventurous it would be fine.

Amazing views from the bridge but after the boulder climbing the trail begins to fade away, there are many spots where you see footprints going the wrong way, be sure to download a GPS map if you're taking this route to avoid wasting time going the wrong way or getting lost.

What you need:
- Lots of water (2L worked for me)
- A truck or SUV must have 4x4
- Sunscreen
- GPS map
- Tweezers... you will get stabbed by at least 1 cactus no doubt.. don't be in pain your entire hike!

9 days ago

My buddy and I (age 72 & 65) made a trip to Anza Borrego to take an advertised 4 mile out and back hike only to discover that our trek took almost 20,000 steps and five hours to complete(3 hours out and 2 hours back). So the 9 miles seems more realistic. If you enjoy bouldering there are many opportunities. The mix of steep and strenuous to flat and mild is 70/30. However, the views when you reach the summit are spectacular. There is a variety of desert plant life and many lizards. In the late spring and summer there will be snakes on the path. The trail was virtually deserted as we only came upon two other hikers. The trail is well marked with cairn stacks. Although I would not recommend this hike if it is wet or approaching darkness as the trail is steepest at the beginning and at the summit and again at the end.

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