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If you are looking for the perfect daytrip or when your annual visitors need a new day trip, or you really need them to take an overnight venture, this wonderful desert on the south side of the Santa Rosa Mountains fits the bill very nicely.
Rugged and wild. It sounds like the recent weekend warriors for the Leather Pride Festival, but this is actually a description of the balmy days and starry nights of Anza Borrego State Park, a vast under-populated region.
It is huge and diverse and is the largest state park in California. There are fabulous hiking trails, mysterious foliage, and a very cute little town. Borrego Springs, complete with shopping options, cafes, and accommodations to fit any budget.
This area is extremely sexy, sensual, erotic and fervent. Perhaps it is so vast, nature rules and humans are not very important. There are several well-known writers and artists who have found inspiration there, so do not forget your notebook or sketchpads.
Start your adventure at the Anza Borrego Visitors' Center on the west side of town. The center offers information of all the flora and fauna of the park, as well as, a full flown lesson the geology. There is a very informative slide show on the wildflowers that burst forth in February, March and April. The friendly rangers have information on all the trails to the various palm oases and back roads.
There are some interesting nature trails at the center to spark your interest in further explorations. The building itself is built into the landscape as to not to take away from the landscape. There are over a dozen trails and drives that you can experience right from this starting point.
Check with the rangers at the Center for current road consolidations, especially the dirt byways. At 600,000 plus acres of near wilderness, there are several days worth of exploring for the asking.
Yaqui Wells Nature Trail is just two miles long and full of ocotillo and mesquite. Palm Canyon Nature Trail near the Borrego-Palm Canyon Campground is stunning. Signs along the trail provide information and history of the Native Americans who once lived here.
A great excursion is a trip to Font's Point, overlooking the Borrego badlands. The area was named for Father Font, a priest in Juan Bautista de Anza's expedition through the area. Even for the desert rat that is used to beautiful color this expanse is a painter’s pallet. Wait for the stars to come out and continue to be stunned.
A great spot to begin or continue to work on your novel is Vallecito Stage Station. It was an overnight rest stop between Yuma and Los Angeles, a place where the mind boggles with interesting stories. Seventeen Palms Trail leads to one of the few year round desert trails oases with water, though in modern times it may not the best for drinking. You should always carry water and wear sun protection.
For civilization within this wilderness there are several wonderful overnight possibilities. The Borrego Springs Resort is at the high end. This is a classic golf and spa haven given three diamonds by the AAA.
The Palm Canyon Resort is a festive resort with a western/cowboy motif. A little known hideaway of Montgomery Clift and Marilyn Monroe is the Palms at Indian Head. It is a classic mid-century modern hotel.
A favorite is the Borrego Valley Inn. It is a tasteful southwest beauty with 14 pools. It adds a bit of class to the town, near the park's visitor's center. The gracious hosts will greet you and ensure your stay is a wonderful experience.
This special desert location will become crowded for the wildflower season. Go out and explore this close-by wonder.
For this and other trip ideas, e-mail George Zander at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org