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hiking

views

walking

birding

nature trips

wild flowers

kid friendly

wildlife

off road driving

trail running

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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.

hiking
3 days ago

4 days ago

Totally worth the drive!

hiking
5 days ago

You can cut this hike in half if you drive further down Pinyon Mountain Road and turn right where the map shows the trail turning South. It's not as steep as I thought it would be. A previous post says this trail starts at the squeeze, this is not true. The Squeeze and Pinyon Drop-off are further down the road. If you reach the squeeze you've gone too far.

Although the railroad ties and the rocks of the grade make the walking difficult, the old tunnels and the wooden trestles make the payoff three-fold. The summer is fairly hot, be sure to enjoy this hike in the cool winter months.

I'm giving this hike 3/5 stars because we didn't end up finishing it- admittedly due to a lack of preparation. I tried to rely on the Alltrails path in order to do this hike. I don't recommend this approach. The trail is very poorly marked, and the trail that is coded into Alltrails isn't really a trail at all. Following the trail on the app requires scrambling up steep slopes with large boulders. We ended up making it up to the false summit, about 1/2-2/3 of the way up. Due to increasing winds and the a decreasing amount of sunlight with about 1,000 feet to climb, we decided to turn back.

I would definitely be interested in trying this again, as I'm sure the views from the top are incredible, but would need to map out the route in advance.

hiking
10 days ago

Great little trail with spectacular views.

hiking
12 days ago

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