My name is Bee, and I’m a hiker and outdoor enthusiast who lives in San Diego, CA. I moved out here in the summer of 2020 to be somewhere warm, close to the ocean, and near some epic hiking adventures. Living with access to nature is very important to me, and I’m so grateful to live where I do and for the upbringing that inspired my love for the outdoors.
I grew up in Westchester county, NY and lived with my family in a beautiful house in the middle of the woods – with trees in every direction when you look out from the house. There are hiking trails through the woods around our house that I memorized from the hundreds of times I walked them.
As much as we loved hiking in the woods around our property, we were not a camping family, and I didn’t go on my first camping trip until I was in college with the Sierra Club. I felt inspired from that trip and started acquiring more gear and planning trips of my own. Now, it’s all I want to do!
Why Anza Borrego is a Great Adventure Spot
I have visited Anza Borrego more times than I can count, and I think it’s an underrated part of Southern California. Most people go to Joshua Tree, but if you want to escape the crowds, Anza is the place to go! It’s only about 2 hours from San Diego which makes it perfect for weekend adventures and activities like hiking, camping, backpacking and off-roading.
Although Anza Borrego is a desert, it is very diverse. There are slot canyons, badlands, mountains, giant metal sculptures, a palm tree oasis, an abandoned train track, mud caves and more. Plus, you can camp almost anywhere – so there’s a lot of freedom to choose your own adventure.
My Best Experience at the Park: Fonts Point
My favorite memory from Anza Borrego was the first time I hiked out to Fonts Point. I had seen so many photos of the stunning view looking out over the badlands from Fonts Point and wanted to see it so badly myself. I knew my car wouldn’t make the drive down the sandy wash, so I decided to make a backpacking trip out of it. Walking those 4 miles through the sand and then the big reveal when you arrive at the point, is magical!
You cannot camp at Fonts Point, but if you hike half a mile from the main area you’ll be fine. The feeling of camping there all by myself – watching shooting stars, listening to coyotes throughout the night and being able to see the view at sunrise the next morning – made it a trip to remember.
Can You Go Camping at Anza Borrego?
You’re allowed to camp pretty much anywhere you want in Anza Borrego Desert State Park. There are plenty of backcountry campsites as well as established campgrounds. You can find the campsites on the park map, reserve through the park website or find a campsite of your own.
I have felt safe every time I’ve camped there, but I think it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and be prepared for anything – especially as a solo female. Something important for solo hikers to do is to let someone you trust know where you will be and when you expect to be back.
There are many areas without cell phone service, so I have a satellite device with location tracking if needed. Heat is a killer during the summer, and underestimating how much water you should bring and how much you need to drink can be deadly. Stay hydrated and have the proper protection!
How to Get to Anza Borrego Desert State Park
Having a high clearance car with AWD/4WD is ideal for Anza Borrego because there are many overland trails through the park. I drive a sedan and can’t access some areas by car, so I hike by foot. There is a small town in the middle of the park, Borrego Springs, that has gas, food and some shops. A popular trail town for PCT hikers on the way into the park is Julian, known for their pies and cider, and it’s a very cute town especially in the fall.
When to Visit this Incredible State Park
I visit Anza Borrego all year round. I just visited a few weekends back and it was beautifully sunny during the day but chilly at night. It can get quite hot in the peak of summer, too hot for my comfort, but otherwise it’s great any time. Always check the forecast – especially if you are traveling through the canyons/washes because you wouldn’t want to get caught in a flash flood!
Happy trails! Get out there and have fun. Anza Borrego is a giant – choose your own adventure in this desert state park because you can’t really go wrong with whatever you choose! For more inspiration in America’s national and state parks, follow me on Instagram at @Beeswildlife.