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Borrego Springs : Things to do


Stop by the ABDNHA Nature Center - one block west of Christmas Circle in Borrego Springs and our staff will show you the exact location and route to all of the activities listed here. 


Borrego Springs is the logical place to base your trip to the Anza-Borrego Desert. All of the hikes, scenic drives, and other activities on this page are within a one hour drive of Borrego Springs.  


If you are camping, you should know that you can camp along any of the park's dirt roads, as long as you park within one car length of the roadway itself, and follow park regulations.  It is important to note that you may not build fires on the ground or collect any wood or plant materials.  State park campgrounds are available at Palm Canyon, Tamerisk Grove.  In the town of Borrego Springs,  The Springs at Borrego and The Palm Canyon Hotel & RV Resort offer full service RV campsites.

Borrego Village Guide
Additional  Borrego Springs Information
Borrego Springs History Weather & Climate Finding Borrego
Desert Gardening Borrego Desert Energy Project Desert Garden Flowers
Living / Retiring in Borrego Borrego Events Borrego Dark Sky

1. Desert activities in and around Borrego Springs

  A calendar listing of activities in Borrego Springs

  Stop by ABDNHA's Headquarters when you are in Borrego Springs
  abdnha desert store and nature center borrego springs
The Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association (ABDNHA) Borrego Desert Nature Center: 652 Palm Canyon Drive, one block west of Christmas Circle is a good place to stop for general information about the area, as well as  Information on flower blooms, upcoming hikes, educational programs, maps, and guides. 
The ABDNHA store offers a wide ranging collection of desert books as well as jewelry, clothing, gifts for both children and adults, and a variety of other items for the 'desert minded."   The center staff is always ready to assist you in planning your desert hikes and drives.
The ABDNHA Botanical Garden is an interesting place to stop and see a variety of desert plants.  Phase 1 has recently been completed and work continues as funding becomes available.  One block west of Christmas Circle.
Also check the schedule at Anza Borrego Desert State Park.
2. Short hikes around Borrego Springs
  borrego palm canyon trail borrego springs
  a group of hikers encounter bighorn sheep in anza-borrego
Hike: Palm Canyon Trail  At the western edge of Borrego Springs, next to the Palm Canyon Campground in Anza-Borrego State Park.  Just minutes from Christmas Circle.  See an oasis of native palms, interesting geology, lots of lizards along the way, and if you are lucky, you might see some desert bighorn sheep.  This is the most heavily used trail in Anza-Borrego. 3 miles roundtrip.

  headquarters to visitor center trail anza borrego borrego springs

Hike: Visitor Center to Campground Trail  Travels between the park visitor center and Palm Canyon Campground.  Easy, level walking.  1.2 miles roundtrip. 

  pupfish ponds borrego springs
Walk: Visitor Center Trail, a short .25 mile self-guided trail at the park visitor center.  See native plants along the way, as well as native pupfish in a small waterhole.

Hike: Glorietta Canyon and Wash   Glorietta Canyon is just minutes from Borrego Springs and it offers lots several options for hiking, all with beautiful scenery, plants and rock formations.

Hike: Kenyon Overlook Trail  A short walk with a fantastic view.  An easy walk from the parking lot beside the Yaqui Pass Road (S3).  This is a great hike at sunset, as the distant mountain ranges take on subtle hues and shadows drift across the bajadas. 

Hike:Little Surprise Canyon A beautiful little canyon with fascinating geology and wildflowers in season.  Just minutes from Borrego Springs

Hike: Morteros Trail and Pictograph Trail (2 miles round trip).  These two short hikes in the Blair Valley include many morteros and petroglyphs.

hiking borrego mountain slot canyon in anza borrego
Hike: The slot.  Approximately 1.5 miles roundtrip.  Have lots of fun exploring this deep and narrow slot canyon.  There are many different ways to explore this area with hikes of varying lengths.  If you have never to the area before it will be best to stop by the ABDNHA Nature Center or State Park Visitor Center for directions and other information.  Several miles of dirt road driving are required to get to the starting point of this hike.  4WD is generally not required but a high clearance vehicle is best. 

Hike: Cactus Loop trail  1 mile round trip.  Self guided moderate hike, with some hills to climb, across from Tamarisk Campground.

Hike: Narrows Earth Trail  .5 mile loop trail with self-guiding brochure describes the geology of the area.  Park off of Highway 78, 4.7 miles east of Tamarisk Grove.

Hike: Yaqui Well Nature Trail  1.6 easy walk to desert water hole.  Generally a good place for birding.  Trail starts across from Tamarisk Campground.
3. Scenic Drives around Borrego Springs
montezuma grade borrego springs by tchester Scenic Drive : Montezuma Grade.  It is less than 15 miles from Borrego Springs to the small community of Ranchita following Highway S-22.  But you gain 3400 feet in elevation and pass through several different climate zones along the way.  The drive is actually most spectacular heading west, from Ranchita down to Borrego Springs.  The scenery is spectacular, with massive rock formations, rugged canyons, and a view of the Salton Sea.  The road is good, but keep your eyes on the road; there are many twists and turns along this route.

sculptures of Recardo Breceda in Borrego Springs
Scenic Drive:  The artwork of Ricardo Breceda   More than 130 sculptures dot the desert landscape around Borrego Spings.  They consist of ancient animals that once roamed here, historical figures, and many that are pure imagination.  It is all an easy drive from Borrego Springs

full moon rising over fonts point anza borrego desert
Scenic Drive : Fonts Point 
Fonts point offers an incredible vista across the Borrego Badlands
, an area of layered sediments from ancient streams deposited during the last 600,000 years and much older deposits, as old as four million years, from the ancestral Colorado River.  4 wheel drive is strongly recommended for the four miles of off-highway driving that lead to Fonts Point.  The route is not steep but there are sections of soft sand

Scenic Drive : Erosion Road.  If you are interested in geology stop by the ABDNHA Nature Center, one block west of Christmas Circle, to pick up your free copy of this self-guiding brochure, as well as the brochure to the Narrows Earth Trail.   The Erosion road brochure will lead you on a self-guided auto tour along the Borrego-Salton Seaway, one of the most fascinating landscapes in the Anza-Borrego Desert.

Scenic Drive : The Triangle Tour.  If you want to really get into the desert but just getting to know the area, the Triangle Tour offers a great introduction. This is a 33 mile loop and it offers a great combination of scenic driving, hiking, and venturing off of the blacktop highway into some of Anza-Borrego's ever-changing washes.

The Triangle tour brochure, with map, is available in the ABDNHA Nature Center, one block west of Christmas Circle.

morteros mine wash native americn site anza borrego Scenic Drive : Mine Wash Native American Village Site   The turnoff into Mine Wash is on the south side of Highway 78 about 3 miles east of the Tamarisk Grove Campground.   Many morteros are scatted among the large boulders.   4WD is not generally required for the route to the village site but high clearance is advised.  Read more about this site.

agua caliente park anza borrego

Agua Caliente and Vallecito are San Diego County Parks about a 45 minute drive from Borrego Springs, along Highway S2.  Agua Caliente, with natural hot springs, has two beautiful outdoor swimming pools, an indoor hot pool, the Moonlight Canyon hiking trail, and lots of room for kids to play.  It's a great place for families.  Vallecito is a restored stage stop on the Butterfield Stage Line just a few miles from Agua Caliente. Both parks have nice picnic areas and campgrounds.
4. Wildflowers and Desert Plants
borrego springs wildflowers sam webb photo
There are always interesting plants to be seen in the Anza-Borrego Desert but the crowds really show up when the wildflowers are in maximum bloom.  This is generally in February - March, but not every year, as  much depends upon the winter rains that fall on the desert.  Even if you happen to be here during an 'off-year' or outside of the main blooming season, if you are a "plant person" you will find plenty to keep you busy.  
Check FLOWER UPDATES for the latest flower on where things are blooming
4. Cycling - Road Biking - See the desert on two wheels!
cycling in anza borrego
CYCLING  The Borrego Springs area offers some of the finest road biking you will find in all of the United States, and at a time of year when much of the nation's roads are covered in ice and snow.  Borrego Springs is steadily becoming the winter training ground for many professional bike racing teams, including the top-ranked North American women’s pro team – Colavita Pro Cycling, and teams MIT and other sponsors. 


You have your pick of routes to choose from, relaxing pedal trips around town, an easy ten mile loop into the citrus-growing farms north of town, a longer 20 mile loop that includes more of the desert, and many other loops you can discover on your own.  Much of the terrain in the Borrego Valley is rolling, there are wide shoulders, and traffic is far less than what you would encounter in more heavily-populated areas.  All routes start and end at Christmas Circle.   See what Road Bike Action Magazine has to say.

And... if you view yourself as advanced, or you like to push yourself to the max, there is always the 12 mile trip from Borrego Springs up the Montezuma grade to the town of Ranchita, twisting and turning along the way and climbing 3,400 feet.  It's one fantastic hill climb.

If you are looking for off-road biking, mountain biking, most of the good routes will be in the higher elevations, away from the sandy washes you find in the valley.  A good place to explore is the Blair Valley, where the terrain is mostly level and the roads are generally firm.

5. Borrego Springs Desert Photography


Borrego Springs and the surrounding Anza-Borrego Desert is full of life and color.  If you enjoy photography you will find subject matter that ranges from the microscopic in size to landscapes that start at your feet and stretch to the horizon.  Desert photography can be challenging but that's the fun of it.  You can visit for a lifetime and you will still find new things, and new ways, to fill your lens.

anza-borrego ocotillo sunset poster

Thanks Mike McElhatton, Vic Murayama, Jason Rothmey, Daren Sefcik, , Sam Webb, for images used in this composite.


anza borrego state park visitor center borrego springs
Visit the State Park Visitor Center.  Located at the top of Palm Canyon Drive (drive west from Christmas Circle) the visitor center has fascinating displays on the plants and animals of the desert, the paleontology, and archeology, as well as scheduled films on desert topics.  Desert pupfish can also be seen at the park visitor center, in a small pond not far from the main entrance.

activity calendar of things to do in anza borrego borrego springs

Click to see the ABDNHA activity calendar for programs scheduled during your visit.  Also check to see what programs are available at the State Park.

concerts, plays, art exhibits in Borrego Springs
Check to see if there are art programs, concerts, or other performances during your stay.  You can stop in the ABDNHA Nature Center or the Chamber of Commerce to ask, or you can check the individual websites of the different community organizations.

borrego springs farmers market

Borrego Springs Farmers Market  - Every Friday 7:00 a.m. - Noon, from last Friday in October until Memorial Weekend.  Local dates, other fruit, foods, and interesting items

shopping in borrego springs

Shopping - Browse through local shops at the mall and the center, offering artwork, interior decor items, desert essentials, along with fudge, ice cream, and many great restaurants.

golfing in borrego springs

Golf.  There are four golf courses in town open to the public.  There is also a tennis center in town.

borrego springs skate park

Skateboarding?  Yes.  If you have kids who want to try their skills on a professional level course, Borrego Springs has one of the best.

Buy some local citrus or dates!  You just cannot leave town without picking up some local grapefruit.  The season begins in late December and ends when the grapefruit are all gone! Borrego is famous for its delicious ruby reds.  There are several "honor system" fruit stands in town and in the orchards.  Just pick up a bag and place your money in the box.  Borrego dates are also available at the Roadrunner Date Farm and at Farmers market. 

anza borrego dark sky astronomy photo by dennis mammana
Borrego Springs is an official International Dark Sky Community.  This makes the town and the surrounding desert areas a great place for serious astronomy, star gazing, or just admiring the heavens on a clear desert night.  Check program schedules to see if astronomy programs are offered during your stay, or bring your own telescope and have some fun. 
Photo above
(c) DennisMammana/ 

Borrego Springs Internet - Free WiFi Hotspots:  Christmas Circle in Borrego Springs now has free wireless internet access.  The Borrego Springs Library, inside and outside, also has free wireless access.