Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is the largest state park in California. Five-hundred miles of dirt roads, 12 wilderness areas and miles of hiking trails provide visitors with an unparalleled opportunity to experience the wonders of the California Desert. The park is named after Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza and the Spanish name borrego, or bighorn sheep. The park features washes, wildflowers, palm groves, cacti and sweeping vistas. Visitors may also have the chance to see roadrunner, 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.
Location - Directions
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.
As expected,the first two weeks of March were breath taking. However, on the valley floor, the fields of wildflowers have wilted from the heat and the onslaught of sphinx moth caterpillars. While some cactus flowers are still opening and the ocotillo have bloomed, it is mostly past time to see flowers in the valley. There are still cacti to see up in the canyons and in the higher elevations of the park, but soon they too will be gone.
The Wildflower update is discontinued until the next flower season.
It takes just the right amount of rain, timed well over the Winter combined with equitable temperatures to give us a good flower season. It does not happen every year. Watch the desert weather reports, and hope for rain.
Thank you and we look forward to seeing you in beautiful Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.
We remind you that the Park remains a place of beauty, grandeur, and solitude all year long.
Call our wildflower hotline for more details (760-767-4684)
More about the Park
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.
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park now offers AT&T Wi-Fi Service!
This service enables park visitors with wireless enabled laptop computers or personal digital assistants (PDAs) to access the Internet. You can access this service if you are within a 150 foot range base of the Ranger's Office.