If you what to experience the desert not too far from civilization Anza Borrego Desert is a good place to start. Located within the Colorado Desert of southern California, it is full of beautiful desert landscapes and things to see. Note that driving through requires a 4×4 vehicle.
The park takes its name from 18th-century Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza and Borrego. With 600,000 acres that include one-fifth of San Diego County, the park is the largest state park in California and, the second largest in the contiguous United States.
We stayed at the Borrego Springs Resort and Spa and were very satisfied. The resort has a very interesting design with a few pools, small ponds, etc. Distance-wise it is about 25 mins from Font’s Point. It is also about 10 mins from the little city center where you can get groceries, water and find some restaurants.
Things to See
The park is humongous and you can easily get lost (we did!). We ended up calling the hotel for help and directions. There is no good reception so make sure you know your route and have other means of navigation other than the cell phone. The park did not make a great impression in terms of maintenance. Other than that we absolutely loved the experience.
Ricardo Breceda Sculptures
We managed to see most of the Ricardo Breceda sculptures located near the small town of Borrego Springs. These handmade pieces of art are made from scrap metal and are life-size. They are worth checking out as you can see from the pictures below. Quite fascinating.
We also visited Font’s Point where we stayed for the sunset, something we absolutely recommend. We were super lucky to be by ourselves at the time and enjoy the silence of the desert and take as many pictures as we wanted.
The point is a coveted spot for photographers, especially at sunset or on full-moon nights. If you’re trying to catch that magic light, allow time to stake out a prime spot, and keep in mind that it’s slow going—4WD only—on the sandy and rutted 4-mile/6.4-km-long road to the point.
One scary detail about our trip was that we got completely lost trying to reach Font’s Point. For some reason, we went to The Slot and drove down a cliff road (which specifically said only for 4×4 vehicles). The thing is you can’t go back up on that road. It was more than 45 degrees and all-around deep sand. So we ended up driving through the desert until we reached a road during the night. After the fact, we realized that all we had to do was to fly our drone and figure out the proper direction. There really was no phone reception etc. Make sure you have lots of water in the car! We had plenty and the only concern was that it might get too cold during the night to sleep in the car.
Font’s Point presented to us by far the most breathtaking views we were able to see in the park. Surprisingly enough it did not seem to be a very visited stop or at least not when we were there. Even if there are some people the viewpoint is huge so you should have no issue getting a nice spot, sit and enjoy the view. If you can stay for the sunset there you should. Bring a chair and just relax.
Last but not least we explored the Slot. Some people say it is the soul of the Anza Borrego Desert. In essence, it is a narrow siltstone canyon through which you can walk/squeeze through. Great experience overall and awesome background for pictures if you go at the right time. The right time would be early in the morning or after 3 PM. The sun is pretty unforgiving otherwise. Bring a good amount of water with you as well.