OTL Home Guide
Guidebook Entry/

Anza Borrego Desert - Log in to edit.

Category: Destinations



A good place for weekend backpacking or exploring the desert.

Relevant Guidebooks & Maps

The Anza-Borrego Desert Region (a must), Borrego Palm Canyon, Collins Valley, Bucksnort Mtn., and Hot Spring Mtn. topo maps.


Take I-10 East past Palm Springs to Indio. Get on 86 South towards Salton City then follow 22 to Borrego Springs. A 3 hour drive. The pizza place just up from Christmas Circle in Borrego Springs is funky and good.


The Anza-Borrego desert offers a variety of desert habitats and is a great place for weekend backpacks and exploring if you're in the mood for the desert. Coyote Canyon is beautiful - a wide open canyon with lots of ocotillos, cholla, and palos verdes. It can be packed with 4WD vehicles on the weekend so make sure you get out of the vehicle areas. A recommended places is Sheep Canyon. There are several good traverses from here over to Salvador Canyon that would make good 2-day trips. Cougar Canyon is also fun to explore, but passage becomes very difficult and requires ropes after a mile or so. These canyons have beautiful swimming holes and waterfalls but can involve serious bush-whacking. Borrego Palm Canyon offers another good option, although it is popular and a permit is needed. Many other areas exist in the Anza-Borrego, so don't hesitate to explore. Generally, the terrain is strenuous, rocky, slow going, and the plants bite. Don't be deterred, however, because it is amazing country - especially in February to April when the desert is blooming.

Safety Notes

This is full-on desert, so make sure water sources aren't dry and the weather won't be too hot. The terrain is steep and rocky - beware of loose rock. If serious ground is to be covered make sure people are experienced and fit and be warned that travel is often slower than 1 mph in the canyons. State Park Headquarters - (619) 767-4205, 767-5311.

Edited by (in order): OTL Staff

Last updated: 05/22/2009


You are not logged in.
Log in.


Upcoming Trips
Check the OTL calendar to stay up to date on the latest trips and activities.


What's Going On?
Post a message to our mailing list.

Subscribe to our mailing list to stay informed about what's going on at OTL.