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Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, California


Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is in southern California, between the coast south of Los Angeles and the Salton Sea, south of Joshua Tree National Park.

According to some descriptions the park is in part of the Colorado Desert; according to other descriptions it is in the extreme western part of the Sonoran Desert.


Anza-Borrego is the largest state park in California, indeed the largest state park in the western USA. It covers an area of 600,000 acres and extends for sixty miles or so from north to south. It is crossed by several normal public roads. It completely encloses the small town of Borrego Springs - which is most definitely a viable town, not a ghost town as you might perhaps be led to think by looking at a map.

The park consists mainly very arid, rocky terrain. It forms a fascinating contrast to the coast road between Los Angeles and San Diego and is well worth a drive through if you are in the area. Descriptions indicate that the park has a number of places of interest for visitors - if you can find them. Because of the apparent total lack of any signposting it can be frustratingly difficult to find its visitor facilities if you don't know where they are located.

According to descriptions, the main visitor centre is apparently located a short distance west of the town of Borrego Springs at the east end of Palm Canyon Road, just off County Road S-22. According to one source of information this distance is one mile; according to another source it is two miles; a third source quotes a distance of five miles. A map indicates that you should drive west from Borrego Springs for about four miles to a fork in the road where you should keep right, so as to continue west and then follow this road northwest for about a mile to the visitor centre. S-22 heads southwest (or according to another map, initially south then after a very short distance, southwest) from the fork.

Descriptions state that this main visitor centre is underground and nearly hidden beneath a desert garden. According to two independent sources of information the visitor centre is open seven days a week from October to May but only at weekends and on public holidays from June to September.

According to one description there is also another visitor centre at Bow Valley, located on County Road S-2, 15 miles north of I-8.

There are no tolls for the public roads which cross the park. However, a $5 per vehicle per day usage fee (as at Dec-97) is payable if you make any use of any park facilities. Since there are no payment booths on the road as you enter the park, presumably this fee is payable at the visitor centre.

This area is often extremely hot in summer with temperatures well in excess of 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Two other places are often mentioned in descriptions of this park and it might be worth describing their locations here:

In the Area

External Links


Pacific Coast Highway

State and Provincial Parks

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