Anza-Borrego Desert State Park California
The Borrego Badlands - Font's Point
View from Font's Point
Centered in the arid Borrego Badlands due east of the Visitors Center between County Road S-22 and Route 78, four million years of geologic and paleontologic history are exhibited across a stark desert landscape. Conglomerates, sandstones, claystones and mudstones, compressed and hardened, chronicle a variety of landscapes, fossil life forms and climates that no longer exist at Anza-Borrego.
More than 200 years ago, the Spanish explorer Juan Baustista de Anza passed Font's Point leading a band of men, women and mules northward to Monterey, California. The path he forged through the desert followed San Felipe Wash. Father Pedro Font, who served as official chaplain, diarist and observer on Anza's expeditions of 1775-76, described this vantage point of the Borrego Badlands later named for him as the "sweepings of the earth."
Font's Point may be the best place in North America to view sediments of the Pliocene and Pleistocene Epochs. But the visitor has to stretch their imagination to visualize a landscape devoid of cacti, Ocotillo and Creosote Bush. During the Pliocene Epoch, (1.6-5 million years ago), Anza-Borrego was located south of the border as a receiving basin for the ancestral Colorado River while it carved out the Grand Canyon.
To the east, where the land slopes downward, the placid inland pool of the Salton Sea, 235-feet below sea level, occupies the lowest portion of the geologically young Salton Trough, down-dropped by faulting that is separating Baja from mainland Mexico. To the west, the granitic San Ysidro Mountains rise above the Anza-Borrego Desert. To the north, Clark's Dry Lake contrasts with smaller Coyote Mountain and the 8,000-foot Santa Rosa Mountains.
Earlier, delta-marine waters of the northern Gulf of California covered the area. Where the river met the sea, organic deposits were overlain by shallow ponds, lake bogs and flood plain deposits, as local mountains were uplifted. Piled on top of one another, these sedimentary layers contain a sample of some of the most spectacular land mammals that ever lived.
These days, the Colorado River has migrated east; gone from the area are the beaches and reefs, camels, horses, cheetahs, bears and ground sloths. Many of these creatures are now extinct altogether.
Now, all that remains is arid rocky geography, sunken mesas and corrugated hills of dry mud. The forces of erosion gently soften contour lines through wind, rain and generations of flash flooding. Thousands of acres of sedimentary rock contain enough side canyons and dry washes for a lifetime of adventurous exploring.
Click on links below to watch video on -
- Borrego Badlands - This spectacular area, with its arid rocky geography, sunken mesas and corrugated hills of dry mud, is called the Badlands of Anza Borrego. See the Pumpkin patch.
- Fonts Point in Borrego Badlands - Join the crew of DesertUSA and take a trip to Fonts Point in the Borrego Badlands. Font's Point may be the best place in North America to view sediments of the Pliocene and Pleistocene Epochs.
- Mud Caves Carrizo Badlands- The Mud Caves are found along the walls of Arroyo Tapiado canyon. One of the most extensive mud cave systems in the world, they contain approximately 22 known caves and 9 slot canyons.
- Bighorn Sheep - Watch a Desert Bighorn grazing on grasses on a rocky hillside, then gamboling up the hill. Great shots of this beautiful animal against the skies of Anza Borrego.
- Ocotillo Wells SVRA - Join DesertUSA as we take a look at what draws so many people to this location - almost 2 million people in 2007! See also the Gas Domes' mud pots and the Pumpkin Patch
More on the Borrego Badlands 17 palms, 5 palms and the Pumpkin Patch
Share this page on Facebook:
DesertUSA Newsletter -- We send articles on hiking, camping and places to explore, as well as animals, wildflower reports, plant information and much more. Sign up below or read more about the DesertUSA newsletter here. (It's Free.)
SEARCH THIS SITE
Click here to see current desert temperatures!