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Old 04-17-2012, 10:24 PM   #1
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Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, CA

Heading out this weekend for Anza-Borrego. Any must see or do activities? We have never been there before and expect some warm temperatures...mid to high 90's. Any recommendations are appreciated. Thanks.

Gene
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Old 04-17-2012, 10:33 PM   #2
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Borrego Palm Canyon...go early, as this is the most popular trail in the park. The last two years I was there, I was able to photograph Desert Bighorn Sheep there, so keep your eyes peeled.
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Old 04-17-2012, 11:33 PM   #3
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We were there a month or two ago. If you don't absolutely need hookups, definitely stay in the upper campground (at Palm Canyon— I never saw Tamarisk grove— I don't think it was open when we were there), not the full hookup area — the full hookup sites are crammed together RV park-style. The sites above are lovely and relatively private. A few of the sites in the upper campground are really hard, if not impossible, to maneuver into (even if the actual sites are long enough).

If you can get these sites, do so:
104
107
116

They have these really nifty stone/wood structures (built long ago by the conservation corp) that are not only larger and offer more shade than the rest of the sites' pagodas, but they also have a stone fireplace built into one of the corners. We came back just to nab one of those sites for a couple of nights. They were pretty special. We stayed in 116 and were also lucky enough to have a (threaded) water spigot near our site that would not have been reasonably shared with any other sites, so even though the sites were supposed to be no hookups, we at least had water.

Also, there is an abundance of excellent free boondocking in the area. We boondocked a week there (the weather was perfect at the time — not sure if it's getting too hot for that yet…). From the State Park campground area, drive through Borrego Springs onto Highway 22, past the little airport, and you will start to see all the boondockers. Our favorite spot was just past Rockhouse Road, on the left. A lot less crowded than earlier on the road. And you can drive really far out, to get completely away from the highway traffic. For whatever reason, it seemed like people who camped on the *right* side of the road were the noisier ones. We stayed one night closer to town on the right side and had partiers blasting 80s hair bands on one side, and a family of dirt bikers, whose kids enjoyed riding circles around our trailer on the other. The place I recommend (past all this and on the left) was quite, with good neighbors spread far apart. (This may just have been chance though; I'm not sure if certain areas are traditionally certain "zones" of types of campers…)

Here's a pick of our (good) boondocking site:



Sorry, all my recs are for the actual camping, not activities. We honestly didn't do much of anything while we were there except hike the Palm Canyon trail.
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Old 04-18-2012, 12:10 AM   #4
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KerriO,

Thanks for taking the time for your reply...great info which I will save to check out this weekend. We booked the full hook up area in the last row facing the 4 scalloped campsites which are like turn-outs...#30 something. Not set up yet for boondocking, but from what I hear Anza is the place in our local desert (125 miles from home).

Did you take 15 south to Temecula, or the 5 south toward San Diego? About equal distance for us, but we were advised that the 15 to the 79 was a easier drive. Any thoughts? Thanks.
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Old 04-18-2012, 12:24 AM   #5
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Thanks KerriO for the information, that is super helpful. We were going to camp at Joshua Tree in January but ended up not going, but definitely want to explore the desert- I love Joshua Tree park. One thought, our Parson's Russell terrier and snakes and stuff.. am I just being a city boy, or do you have to be really alert and cautious? Maggie likes her gophers and is alarmingly quick and attentive to small animals, yesterday a garter snake in the grass. I've come across rattlers on trails and am not freaked out by them, but do give them a very respectful distance... just curious to hear anyone else's thoughts on the subject.
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Old 04-18-2012, 01:11 AM   #6
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Well, they are out there. I'm a NorCal girl myself, so no expert, and though we never saw one the entire 2-3 months we went through the CA dessert, AZ and NM, there are plenty of warnings that they are around. A guy we met in NM said he had his dog vaccinated against rattlesnake bites. I didn't know you could do that! I'd be nearly as cautious about the chollo cacti, though that may be something that dogs have to learn from experience!

We came from San Diego-- I wish I could remember which route, but I do remember that we climbed and descended a pretty lengthy steep grade prior to hitting Borrego Springs. Even so, we made the climb and descent no problem (in what many here would consider an underpowered truck), and there was an awesome view from the top. Maybe that description fits one if the routes you were considering?
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Old 04-18-2012, 06:57 AM   #7
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Definitely dine at the Krazy Coyote Bar & Grill/Red Ocotillo.
Krazy Coyote Bar & Grille/Red Ocotillo Restaurant Review - Review of Krazy Coyote Bar & Grille/Red Ocotillo in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park | Frommer's
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Old 04-18-2012, 10:39 AM   #8
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Make sure you take a drive outside of town and see all the sculptures that are placed thruout Galleta Meadows. Check out this link:
Galleta Meadows - Borrego Springs, CA
If you are going to be away for any length of time make sure you take in your awning, it can get a little breezy at times.
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Old 04-18-2012, 06:29 PM   #9
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13,
Great area and we visit quite a bit (see our gallery). 79 is a nice haul, watch the turn-offs and the drop down into the desert from Ranchita is steep, and curvy but with turnouts for a few spectacular photos. Watch the brakes, and enjoy our stay. Your outside spot offers some privacy. Parking backwards is ok so you can have your door/steps facing the campfire ring and table.
All noted above, and add the visitors center at the park, AB Supporters bookstore in town. If you forget anything, there is an outfitter in the little mall in Borrego...Watch for those sheep!
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Old 04-18-2012, 08:13 PM   #10
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Thanks to all...great info! I may have to stay a few extra days now.
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