Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

Auto Tours

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There are a number of highways that criss-cross this huge state park.

California Route 78 runs east to west through the middle of the park while County Routes S1, S2, S3 and S22 links the various sections of the park.

Southern Emigrant Trail Self-Guided Auto Tour
Much of Highway S2 parallels the old trail known at times as the Sonora, Colorado River, and the Southern Emigrant trails, which was the route into California for a number of travelers in the 18th and 19th centuries.

A part of this old trail was used by the Spanish, and from 1826 it was an element of the Mexican mail route. Kit Carson was familiar with it, and part of it served as the route for General Stephen W. Kearny and the Army of the West at the time of the Mexican War.

In 1857 a portion served as the route of the San Antonio and San Diego mail line, better known as the "Jackass Mail" (they left it to travel through Oriflamme Canyon to San Diego). After improving the trail, the Butterfield Overland Mail stages followed it through Vallecito from 1858 - 1861 (Highway 79 follows the stage route from S2.).

The Gila / Southern Emigrant Trail was briefly the most popular southern route taken to California by emigrants and the '49ers on their way to the Gold Rush. It was a route hard on man and beast, and by the Civil War other routes had become more popular, and it had largely fallen into disuse.


Erosion Road Self-Guided Auto Tour
One-way, 18-mile (1 hour) drive east from the Visitor Center along County Road S-22 (Borrego-Salton Sea Way). Erosion Road tour is an introduction to the geology of the Anza-Borrego Desert. It includes stops at the Coyote and Santa Rosa Mountains, Font's Point, Clark Dry Lake, Font's Point Wash and an overlook of the Borrego Badlands and Salton Sea. It demonstrates the constant conflict of geologic forces at work here -- faulting and erosion -- to form mountains, canyons, alluvial fans, playas, bajadas etc.. The geology of Anza-Borrego also highlights the effects of the San Jacinto Fault, the most active branch of the famous San Andreas Fault. A brochure with map is available from park offices. It describes each of the 10 stops, identified by the mileage the marker which precedes it, plus the fractional mileage off-road from that marker.

Borrego Springs Metal Art Sculptures tour. What you will see - Dennis Avery, landowner of Galleta Meadows Estates in Borrego Springs, California envisioned the landscape of his starkly beautiful desert property enhanced with the incredible steel welded sculptures of artist and welder Ricardo Breceda, based in Perris, California. About 130 of Breceda's metal sculptures are now located in the Borrego Springs area. A round trip of about 22 miles on mostly paved roads allows you to see them all. Just a few are located on dirt roads, but the roads are negotiable by most cars.
The original sculptures were inspired by animals that lived millions of years ago in the Anza-Borrego area during the Plio-Pleistocene age. Later works were representative of local history, and pure whim and fantasy motivated the creation of many others. There is even a fully sized Willys Jeep CJ-3A with a driver and a passenger. Now there is an eBook on the tour. Kindle --- iPad


Other DesertUSA Resources
Gem Trails Guides Book
Related Books & Gifts - Trading Post
Desert Rocks, Minerals & Geology Index
Desert Survival Primer
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Anza Borrego Overview A video overview of all the fascinating places in and around Anza Borrego Desert State Park that you can visit, from the Gomphotherium Park in Borrego Springs to the Pumpkin Patch and much more! Watch this video to get an idea of the range of geologic features available to check out in the Park.

Carrizo Badlands - Video of Mud Caves and Canyon Sin Nombre The length of the mud caves varies, with some extending over 1000 feet and featuring ceilings as high as 80 feet. Caves have been reported up to 35 feet wide, and others so narrow, you have to squeeze through openings. Multi-level caves with skylights have been found, where erosion has created an opening, or sinkhole, in the ceiling of the cave. Some of the caves are fairly easy to navigate while others may require you to crawl in sections.

Fonts Point - Borrego Badlands Video
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. Join the crew of DesertUSA and take a road trip to Fonts Point, maybe the best place in North America to view sediments of the Pliocene and Pleistocene Epochs.


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