ACTIVITY CALENDAR - Things to do in Borrego Springs  

ABDNHA's schedule of Anza-Borrego desert hikes, lectures, and tours for the period through Early November 2014 is shown below.


Some of the programs listed below allow online registration.  You can also call or visit the ABDNHA Desert Nature Center, 652 Palm Canyon Drive,  760-767-3098 for information, questions, and to register for programs. 


Be Prepared
For All Desert Tours and Hikes

Have a well-working vehicle with a full tank of gas. Know if 4WD is needed.

All hikes and walks require good closed-toed hiking shoes, and drinking water. Hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, energy snacks are strongly recommended. 

A hiking pole is also recommended.  See hike descriptions as some hikes require hiking poles.

Know your physical condition.  All hikes are going to require walking on uneven ground.  Some hikes will involve elevation gain, bouldering, etc.  Read the hike descriptions and only go on hikes you feel you are prepared to handle.

Tell someone where you are going and when you will return.



ABDNHA Business Sponsors 2014

ABDNHA's business sponsorship members support the educational work of the Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association and provide tourism services in Borrego Springs.


Their support is appreciated.

































Oct. 23, Thur., 8 a.m. – 10 a.m.
Weekly Thursday Bird Walk: Introduction to Birding
Leader: David Lasley, ABDNHA Volunteer
Want to know more about the birds you see in Borrego Springs and throughout Anza-Borrego? Join David Lasley and explore some of the best birding locations in Borrego Springs. Beginners and advanced birders are all welcome. Meet at 8 a.m. at the south end of Marker, south of Tilting T opposite the entrance to Borrego Springs Resort. Bring binoculars, bird book, water, walking shoes. Call ABDNHA Nature Center 760-767-3098 to register. ABDNHA members and volunteers: no charge; Nonmembers: $5 donation requested.

Oct. 23, Thur., 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Solar Eclipse Viewing at ABDNHA’s Borrego Desert Nature Center
Astronomer Dr. Jim & Grace Rickard
Watch as the shadow of the moon passes over part of the sun. Beginning at 2:14 p.m., with maximum 30% coverage occurring at 3:32 p.m. Safe viewing will be set up by Dr. Jim Rickard who will explain the dynamics of the event. No charge, no registration required. Eclipse-viewing glasses for sale at the Nature Center.

Oct. 24-26, Friday – Sunday
49th Annual Borrego Days Festival
Borrego Days Parade: Sat., Oct. 25, 10 a.m
We invite you to set your chairs in front of the ABDNHA Borrego Desert Nature Center and enjoy a front-row seat for the floats and marching bands along Palm Canyon Drive!

Oct. 24-26, Friday – Sunday
Birds of Anza-Borrego
A weekend birding course in the Borrego Desert
Instructor: Kurt Leuschner, Professor of Natural Resources

Participants of all birding abilities are welcome. This is a great course for general desert natural history and for teachers! Caravan to various birding sites in the Borrego Desert. Learn about the ecology, conservation, and taxonomy of many different bird species. To enroll, call the UC Riverside Extension, 800/422-4900 or 951/827-4105; email: Mention if you are a member of ABDNHA. Includes 2 quarter units. Course begins at 7 p.m. Friday evening; meet at the ABDNHA Library. Course continues all day Saturday and Sunday to 1 p.m.

Oct. 25, Sat., 5 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Hike: Sunset from Kenyon Overlook
Leader: Mike McElhatton

Enjoy the late afternoon views from the Bill Kenyon Overlook, when the shadows of the setting sun fall across the Pinyon Mountains and the bajadas flowing down from the mountainsides. Bring a snack and a beverage; we will stay until the 6 p.m. sunset. This is an easy walk with a slight rise in elevation. Bring your cameras to catch some great desert vistas. Bring camera, water, good hiking shoes, walking stick.. No charge. Max. 22 people. Call ABDNHA Nature Center 760-767-3098 to register.

Oct. 26, Sun., 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
4WD Tour & Hike: Yuha South
Leader: Naturalist Karyn Sauber

We’ll start the day with a 2-mile walk before heading toward the Mexican border. We will visit the Crucifixion Thorn Natural Area, and then drive along the international border fence. Along the way we will see concretions, expanses of desert pavement, and maybe some fall wildflowers. Bring water, lunch, chair and hat. 4WD is essential, experienced drivers. Meet at Ocotillo Community Park just north of Ocotillo along S-2. Please sign up early, trip requires a minimum enrollment of 10. NM $35; Members: $25; ABDNHA Volunteers $23.

Oct. 30, Thur., 8 a.m. – 10 a.m.
Weekly Thursday Bird Walk: Introduction to Birding
See October 23 for full description.

Nov. 1, Sat., 7:15 a.m. – 6 p.m.


Hike: Carrizo Gorge to the Goat Canyon Trestle!       

Leader: Reena Deutsch, author of San Diego and Arizona Railway: The Impossible Railroad

ABDNHA is proud to announce this extremely rare opportunity to hike on and along the tracks of the historic 100-year old SD&A Railway to the landmark Goat Canyon Trestle in southern Anza-Borrego’s breathtaking and remote Carrizo Gorge. Our round-trip hike to the curved wooden trestle will be 14 miles, with rest stops as needed; the easy grade, pace, and relatively level roadbed should mitigate the length. Built in 1932, the trestle is 185 feet tall, 633 feet long, and an engineering marvel. We’ll hike through 10 tunnels and over numerous smaller trestles with awesome views of a geologically active region bounded by two desert mountain ranges.

The leader, a noted historian of the SD&A, will recount interesting bits of history during interpretive stops along the way.  This is not the hike for people with a fear of heights, as we may be walking close to the edge of a big drop-off. Bring more water than what you think you will need, snacks, lunch, lug sole footwear, layered clothes, flashlight, and a good attitude.


Meet at the ABDNHA Nature Center at 5:15 am to carpool. From Interstate Route 8 going west [east], exit at Jacumba and turn left [right]. Take the first left past the freeway ramps onto Carrizo Gorge Road. Meet in the big lot immediately on the left no later than 7:15 a.m., and we will carpool to the trailhead from there at 7:30 sharp. Come earlier if you want to use the bathrooms and/or buy gasoline across the street. Liability release forms will need to be agreed to and signed before the hike. Limited to 23 hikers.


Hike will repeat the next day (Sun., Nov. 2) if today’s hike fills up.  Members $18; Volunteers $16.

Nov. 2, Sun., 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.

4WD Tour: Canyon Sin Nombre

Leader: Ed Pollock Join ABDNHA volunteer


Join Ed Pollock for this journey though beautiful Canyon Sin Nombre and Arroyo Tapiado in the southern part of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Bring your lunch for this full day of 4WD exploring. Our actual route may change depending upon road conditions. Meet at the ABDNHA library and we will carpool from there. Be sure to have a full tank of gas, plenty of water, lunch, and a jacket. Folding chair for lunch is optional. No charge, but space limited. Call ABDNHA Nature Center 760-767-3098 to register. Please be willing to carpool as number of cars is limited.


Nov. 2, Sun., 10 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Program & Field Trip: The Use of Native Plants by the Kumeyaay

People Instructors: Robert & Suzanne Emery

Learn about the Kumeyaay, the Native American People who populated the Anza Borrego Desert area and most of San Diego County. Become familiar with their foods, shelters, and other cultural traits both past and present. Following the presentation at the ABDNHA library, we will drive 20 minutes to Mine Wash, an actual Kumeyaay village site, for a tour and short moderate hike. Wear sturdy shoes, bring water and a sack lunch. Vehicle with good clearance is essential. Suzanne and Bob are docents at the Kumeyaay Ipai Interpretive site in Poway and have served as archeological site stewards for the Mine Wash Cultural Preserve. No charge; call the Nature Center 760-767-3098 to reserve.

 Nov. 2, Sun., 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.

* Tour: Old Borrego Townsite


You are invited to visit the Old Borego Townsite on History Preservation Day sponsored by the Borrego Civic Foundation and ABDNHA. Tour the historic buildings that were the center of commercial development for Borrego’s homesteaders and farmers in the 1930s and 40s. Visit with old timers and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere. Stop by the ABDNHA table under the eaves of the old general store to purchase copies of “Borrego Beginnings, Early Days in the Borrego Valley 1910-1960" and “Old Time Cattlemen.” Old Borego is located at 1580 Rango Way. Call or come by the ABDNHA Nature Center for directions, 760-767-3098. *Note correction from summer Sand Paper newsletter. This is on SUNDAY, Nov. 9.



Nov. 6, Thur., 8 a.m. – 10 a.m.

Weekly Thursday Bird Walk: Introduction to Birding

See October 23 for full description.

Nov. 6, Thu., 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Moonlight Walk: South Palm Wash

Leader: Mike McElhatton, ABDNHA Education Coordinator

Experience the unique and serene beauty of moonlight on the canyon walls with Mike McElhatton as we take an easy 1.5 mile walk through South Palm Wash. Meet at the ABDNHA office and carpool from there. 4WD is necessary for a short 1/10th mile off-highway-segment into the wash. Anyone without 4WD can catch a ride for that section. Bring a flashlight, water, and good hiking shoes. Space is limited to 22. Activity cancels with thick cloud cover or high wind. No charge; call the Nature Center to reserve.

Nov. 7, Fri., 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Tour: Butterfield Stage Route

Leader: Historian Tom Tefft

Retrace the route of the Southern Emigrant Trail, the route of the Butterfield Stage, the Mormon Battalion, the Army of the West, fur trappers, the California Gold Rush and many others. The first stop will be Carrizo Gap and the first reliable water since the Colorado River, then follow the Vallecito Corridor to Palm Spring and then on to Vallecito Stage Station for lunch and a tour of the stage station. From Vallecito, we head north along the S2, which is the route of the trail, and end up with a tour of the restored Warner-Carrillo stage station and home. Stand where history was made, and hear Tom explain the historical significance of each part of the route. Meet at the north side of Christmas Circle. 4WD required; please be willing to carpool. If you have a CB radio, bring it but it is not required. There is a $10 fee for all participants to cover admission to Vallecito and Warner-Carrillo House. Call the Nature Center to reserve, 760-767-3098.

Nov. 8, Sat., 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

California History Authors Day & Book Signings

A great day for history buffs. Stay for the entire day for a series of exciting presentations by authors of books on regional California history. There will be approximately one-half hour after each presentation to chat with the authors and to support their work by purchasing signed copies of their books. You may register for individual sessions (NM $11, M $8, V $7 per session), or register for the full-day series of four lectures for a reduced single price (NM $35, M $20, V $18).

Nov. 8, Sat., 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.

Gold and Silver in the Mojave: Images of a Last Frontier

Author: Nicholas Clapp

Author Explore the grit, gold, and grandeur of the Old West, in this fascinating program of exceptional historical photographs depicting day to day life in places such as Randsburg, Tonopah, Goldfield, Rhyolite, and Death Valley—and the stories that go with them. With a background as a film producer for National Geographic Society, Nicholas Clapp, is a great story teller. ABDNHA Library. Call the Nature Center for reservations or reserve online. NM $11, M $8, V $7 – or full-day single ticket.

Nov. 8, Sat., 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Missions of San Diego

Author: Robert A. Bellezza

Robert A. Bellezza presents an incisive history of the missions of San Diego, premiering newly discovered glass-plate images from the 1930s and selected rare prints and vintage postcards from his collection. Mr. Bellezza has authored a series of five books that cover that cover missions in San Diego, Los Angeles, Central California, Monterey, and San Francisco, beginning with the story of El Camino Real, “The Royal Road” that led early missionaries, pathfinders, soldiers, and settlers on a dramatic journey into Alta California. NM $11, M $8, V $7 – or full-day single ticket.

Nov. 8, Sat., 1 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.

No host lunch at the Palm Canyon Resort Reservation is required. Order off menu. Let us know if you plan to attend the lunch when you register for the lectures.

Nov. 8, Sat., 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

This Day in Borrego History

Author: Linda Pequegnat

Linda Pequegnat, part-time Borrego Springs resident, will tell stories about past historical events in Borrego Springs and surrounding areas from her book This Day In San Diego History. The book has a short story for each day of the year about past events that occurred in the San Diego area. Stories selected for this presentation will include the encampment of the De Anza Expedition in 1775 on its way from Mexico through the southern California desert to bring settlers to Monterey and San Francisco, the discovery of gold in the Julian-Banner area in the 1870s, the history of the Desert Lodge (now known as La Casa del Zorro), and earthquakes in the Borrego area that occurred in 1987. NM $11, M $8, V $7 – or full-day single ticket.

Nov. 8, Sat., 4 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Chiefs and Challengers – New Second Edition (2014)

Indian Resistance and Cooperation in Southern California 1769-1906

Author: George Harwood Phillips

Long recognized as a pioneering work in the ethnohistory of California, Chiefs and Challengers, when it first appeared, overturned the stereotype of Indian victimhood and revealed a complex political landscape in which Native peoples interacted with one another as much as they did with non-Indians intruding into their territories. In this book George Harwood Phillips examines Indian-white interactions from both Indian and white perspectives. This new (just-released) edition describes the indigenous cultures of southern California and offers a detailed history of the repercussions of Euro-American colonization. NM $11, M $8, V $7 – or full-day single ticket.

Nov. 10, Mon., 8 a.m. - Noon

Hike: The Traverse

Leader: Robin Halford, Author of “Hiking in Anza-Borrego, Over 100 Half-Day Hikes”

This 6.2-mile strenuous hike starts up Palo Verde Wash, traverses over to Smoketree Wash on an old Indian trail, and then goes down the wash. Hikers will have a look at the Moly Mine and visit the Smoke Tree Tinajas. Expect sandy washes, boulders, steep climbs, and a dry waterfall or two.  Meet at the mouth of Smoketree Wash at Mile 34.2 on S22 (14.9 miles east of Christmas Circle). We will carpool from here and drive to the starting point. 2WD okay.  Space limited, call to reserve.  

Nov 13 – 15, ABDNHA Volunteer Kick-off

Nov. 13, Thur., 5:30 p.m.

Volunteer POTLUCK Social ABDNHA

Volunteers, staff, board members, and families are all invited to a potluck social to kick-off the new season Catch up with friends—old and new—after the summer hiatus. Mark your calendars. Please RSVP to the Nature Center, 760-767-3098. To be held at ABDNHA headquarters this year.


Nov. 14, Fri., 8:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Volunteer Field Trip: 4WD Tour of Grapevine Canyon – Special Trip for ABDNHA volunteers only Leader: Volunteer Naturalist Deborah Sperberg


Spend the morning exploring Grapevine Canyon. This canyon follows the southern edge of Pinyon Ridge and contains several springs that flow into San Felipe Creek. We will make a stop at Angelina Springs, an important Indian village site, and possibly stop at a second spring. Meet at the north side of Christmas Circle. Bring a full tank of gas, plenty of water, and a snack if you wish. Space is limited to eight 4WD vehicles, 22 people total. Please be willing to carpool. Call for reservations at the Nature Center and mention if you need a ride.


Nov. 15, Sat., 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Volunteer Training & Luncheon

Call the Nature Center to reserve your spot at this popular event, 760-767-3098. Additional details of training, programs, and social events will be mailed to you. Please contact us soon for a volunteer application if you do not have one already on file. 10:00 – 10:45 a.m. What’s New at ABDNHA. About the Organization. How you can help. Areas where help is needed. 11:00 – 11:45 a.m. Breakout sessions: special information for hike leaders, tour leaders, store volunteers, office, etc. 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. Lunch provided on site.


1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Special Program for Volunteers

"Native Americans of San Diego County"

Presented by Author Donna Bradley

Donna Bradley is an author, historian, genealogist and Native American. She has been a professional genealogist for over 25 years and is a member in good standing with the Association of Professional Genealogists. She has written many articles, given many lectures and taught genealogy throughout Southern California. Although she specializes in Native American ancestry, she is very proficient in American and various international bloodlines. Her first book, Native Americans of San Diego County was published in 2009, a popular sales item in the Nature Center. She is currently working on another book, which she hopes to have published in 2015.

Nov. 18, Tue., 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Hike: The Domelands, the Other Wind Caves

Leader: Dave Duncan

Join us for a 6 mile strenuous round-trip hike in the Coyote Mountains for stunning views of the Carrizo Corridor, Fish Creek Mountains, and Vallecito Badlands. The area was once a near-shore marine environment rich in marine fossils. The wind caves themselves are "fossilized" beach dunes. Explore the mysterious mounds (fossil flamingo nests?) and make your own conclusions. High clearance vehicles advised. Bring lunch, snacks, and plenty of water. Meet at the ABDNHA Nature Center, and we will carpool from there. Nonmembers $15; ABDNHA Members $12; Volunteers $10. Call to reserve, 760-767-3098. Program repeats January 21.

Nov. 20, Thur., 8 a.m. – 10 a.m.

Weekly Thursday Bird Walk: Introduction to Birding

See October 23 for full description.  

Nov. 21, Fri., 7 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Pollen, Pollination, and Pollinators: A look at San Diego's Native Bees.

Presenter: UCSD Doctoral Candidate Keng-Lou James Hung

Join ecologist James Hung for this fascinating story of the ways many plants have adapted to attract their pollinators, along with an introduction to the natural history, diversity, and ecology of our diverse native bees.  Non-member: $12; ABDNHA Member: $8; ABDNHA Volunteer $7. Call to reserve, 760-767-3098.   

Nov. 22, Sat., 7:30 p.m.

Stargazing Program: Borrego’s Dark Skies!

Presenters: Astronomer Dr. Jim and Grace Rickard

Identify the constellations in our clear desert skies. Telescopes provided for observing objects such as the Orion nebula and the Andromeda galaxy. Bring binoculars if you have them and warm clothes.  Sponsored by ABDNHA, there is no charge or reservations necessary for this excellent program. Park at the Lutheran Church, located on Church Lane. If you need directions, please call the Nature Center, 760-767-3098. Cancelled in case of heavy cloud cover.

Nov. 22, Sat., 10 a.m.
Borrego Rock & Gem Club (B.R.A.G.)

Monthly meeting of the local rock and gem club. New members and those interested in joining are encouraged to attend. Find out about the educational programs, trips, activities, and meetings for the 2014-2015 season. Meets at the ABDNHA library.

Nov. 28, Fri., 7:00 p.m.

ABDNHA 43rd Annual Desert Lecture Series

Meet-the-Speaker Reception & Book Signing at 7:00 p.m.,

Lecture begins at 7:30 p.m.

Program: Coyote: Too Smart!

Presented by James W. Cornett, Author, Desert Researcher, Ecologist

As one of the most maligned and most beloved animals in America, the coyote is followed by controversy wherever it goes. Explore the myths and realities of the coyote in the desert Southwest with an expert naturalist and storyteller! No charge to ABDNHA Members. For nonmembers, there is a $10.00 fee at the door, which may be applied to a new membership in ABDNHA. At the Borrego Springs Performing Arts Center. Seating is limited and on a first-come basis.  For more information, call 760-767-3098. Refreshments served. 

Nov. 29, Sat., 8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.

4WD and Hike: In-Ko-Pah Mountains

Tour Leader: Karyn Sauber

The road from Yuma to San Diego was never an easy route.  Folks who live in the southern Anza-Borrego Desert travel west from Ocotillo on I-8 to do their shopping in San Diego. It’s an easy day trip in today’s automobile, but this was not always so. There are a myriad of historic trails and roads slicing through the gorge between Ocotillo and where the Desert Tower sits above Mountain Springs.  Come discover the history of the transportation system as we drive one of the back roads to a canyon to begin our walk. We’ll walk in the deep gorge of Devil’s Canyon ending up at a unique island. Peninsular Bighorn Sheep roam here. (Six seen recently.) Includes a 4-mile, moderate hike. Bring lunch, water, hat, and camera. Meet at Ocotillo Community Park along S-2, a mile before you reach the community of Ocotillo. Please sign up early, trip requires a minimum enrollment of 10. NM $35; Members $25; ABDNHA Volunteers $23.

Dec. 6, Sat., 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Annual ABDNHA Famous CHILI FEST Click for more info

All are invited to celebrate the season with us! Enjoy a variety of homemade chili, corn bread, and desserts. ABDNHA members (including those who join this evening!) receive 20% discount on purchases tonight—that’s an extra 5% over the usual 15% discount. For non-members, any receipt for a purchase from our Nature Center dated Dec. 6, 2014, entitles you to dinner tonight! Arrive early; the first 50 guests receive a special door prize! One of our most popular events of the year! At the Nature Center.