Camping in Anza-Borrego State Park


Added by Morgan Scott

Largest State Park in all of California. 500 miles of trails and roads. Desert landscapes, wildlife (roadrunners, coyotes, and if you’re lucky, bighorn sheep). Ideal for families that want to get away from it all. Borrego Palm Canyon has ~120 sites with other campgrounds throughout the park.

With over 600,000 acres, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is the largest state park in the contiguous United States. 500 miles of dirt roads, 12 wilderness areas and miles of hiking trails provide visitors with an unparalleled opportunity to experience the wonders of the Colorado 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.

Numerous roads will take you into this vast park. Consult a map before making travel plans to be sure you enter the desired part of 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 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.

  • October through April is the high season, so book early, book here
  • The more adventurous can pitch their tents outside designated campgrounds

Photos: slworking2, slworking2, Bill Gracey, Bill Gracey

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Great Campsite, Rowdy Crowd

We camped during peak season in November and it was pretty crowded at the Borrego Palm Canyon site. There were several college-esque parties occurring throughout the night, so if you're looking for solitude, head out to the primitive campsites. There's plenty to do here and the 4x4 trails are awesome! Photo ops are amazing throughout the park whether it's day or night.

Great Developed Campsite

Anza Borrego State Park is simply the best. Lot's of good hiking and 4WD routes in the area. This campsite has showers and flush toilets for those who want a little more luxury when they camp. There is a great short hike in the campsite that takes you to a set of Borrego Palms. I normally don't stay here as I like the dispersed camping available in the South end of the park. However this a great a great family campground.

Anza Borrego has so much to offer. Larger than some national parks we have been to there are endless nooks and crannies too explore.

Awesome park with great opportunities for solitude. You can camp anywhere in the park off the numerous 4wd roads so get out and enjoy!

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Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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