Anza-Borrego Desert State Park – Part 1 with Fonts Point

March 8th ~ Borrego Springs, CA

Fonts Point Lookout

Our plans got thrown for a loop in two ways. 

Challenge #1: Originally we had talked about heading north and revisiting Death Valley National Park to try to catch the desert in bloom. In the spring of 2005, we managed to hit the “100 year bloom” which was spectacular. With all of the rain California has had this past month, we thought that perhaps another great bloom might occur. Unfortunately Mother Nature had other plans and the bloom reports were not encouraging.

Solution: The reports were looking good that Anza-Borrego Desert State Park would have an abundant bloom, so that was chosen as our alternate destination.

Challenge #2: Ellie Mae, our new RV, needed a few minor repairs (things we had missed on our initial walk-thru). We had also decided to have solar panels and a stabilizer system installed while she was “in the shop”. Tim dropped her off at the dealership on February 15th with the list of repairs needed and instructions that we would be leaving on a road trip on March 7th. Further phone calls and follow-up emails were sent to confirm that the work could be completed so that we could pick her up on March 6th. When we again spoke with them on March 3rd, we were advised everything was completed except for one item where they were waiting on a part.

We again confirmed that we would pick her up on this past Monday. On March 4th, Tim called the service department to make sure that the missing part had arrived and we got a completely different answer – Ellie Mae had been taken apart for the repairs to be done, but NONE of the work had been started. They said they could hastily put her back together so we could take her, but then we would just have to bring her back again when we returned. Well, not wanting to have a last-minute rushed job of throwing her back together, we told them to please just get the work done as soon as possible – which of course meant no Ellie Mae for our trip to the desert. Insert my sad face here 😦

Solution: Well, we do have a car. So, mid morning on the 7th we loaded up the SUV and headed south-east from the San Fernando Valley.

Since we had been planning on sleeping in the RV, I had not made any reservations. Big challenge this time of the year. That first night, the hotels in Borrego Springs were sold out, unless we wanted to spend $500/night (we did not), so we continued on, through the park and found an $80 hotel in Westmorland, an hours drive away.

After a decent nights sleep and an acceptable dinner, we were ready for a fresh start!

On the way to the park and in the park we found quite a collection of metal sculptures. In fact, there are over 130 of them in the park alone that were done by the late Dennis Avery. The work is being continued today by ‘Perris Jurassic Park’ owner/artist/welder Ricardo Breceda based in Perris, California. The artworks include horses and artifacts from the wild west, prehistoric mammals and dinosaurs, historical characters, and a 350-foot-long serpent.

Metal Sculpture

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

This park is HUGE. Covering over 600,000 acres, it is the largest state park in California, and only beaten out by New York’s Adirondack Park, it comes in as the second largest state park in the lower 48 states.

Located roughly a two-hour drive north-east of San Diego or south of Palm Springs.

Anza-Borrego location

The park derives its name from explorer Juan Bautista de Anza and the big horn sheep found in the area. “Borrego” means sheep or lamb in Spanish, hence Anza-Borrego.

In the heart of the park, is the small town of Borrego Springs. Ideally, this is where you want to base yourself for a few days. We were able to grab two nights at the Borrego Springs Resort, Golf Club and Spa for the next two nights.

The place is a bit dated, but some renovations have improved the rooms. Our units included a living room, small kitchen area complete with refrigerator and microwave, roomy bathroom and comfortable bedroom – except for the bedbugs, which we found in TWO different rooms. And all of this for a bargain (choke, choke) $248/night including the mandatory resort fees.

The on site restaurant had some potential but left us scratching our heads at the presented meal. Ordering sea bass, the fish was well prepared, but served up on a bed of cooked frozen peas and corn and topped with a handful of undressed mixed greens. Just did not get either of us excited.

Visitor’s Center: Located in town is the park visitor’s center and a great place to begin your adventure. The knowledgeable staff will provide you with a brochure that includes several maps of the park, recommendations on places to see based on your goals, and other information booklets covering certain trails as well as how to identify the local flora and fauna.

They have a short 15-20 minute film that shows the park in all four seasons which we enjoyed.

Sample of literature from the Visitor’s Center

There is also a .7 concrete walkway at the Visitor’s Center which will give you an introduction to the common plants and animals found in the park.

Our first goal was to see some of the desert blooms. Two places were highly recommended and marked on the map above and we headed out. Where the pavement ends at the north end of DiGiorgio Road, which is also the entrance for exploring Coyote Canyon, we found quite a few cars … and flowers.

Desert Blooms

Lone Tree

Just some of the flowers we saw would include the Desert Lily, Dune Evening Primrose, Arizona Lupine, Sand Verbena and the Desert Sunflower.

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Then on to the see the sunset from Fonts Point. Four wheel drive is recommended for off-road jaunts, but we had no problems taking the four mile long dirt road in our Lexus SUV which has all-wheel drive. The sand road can be tricky, but staying in the roadway path was doable.

The road to Fonts Point

Along the road toward Fonts Point

The views from Fonts Point are pretty spectacular. From up high you look down into the Borrego Badlands. In fact you have an amazing 360 degree view!

The Borrego Badlands to the west

Borrego Badlands toward the east with the Salton Sea in the distance

And as the sun dipped further, we were joined by about 20 others. Some snapped away, others enjoyed a beer, sat on a chair or rock and simply soaked up the experience.

Golden glow of sunset from Fonts Point

I must confess it made me a little nervous seeing this young couple sitting on the very edge. We old fogies kept a wider margin.

Tim soaking up the late sunshine with the Badlands behind him

What a spectacular ending to a fun day…

GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful for flexibility. We are so fortunate to have the time and willingness to come up with alternate plans when thrown a curve ball. And it worked out just the way it was supposed to. In reality, we could not have taken this off-road adventure in Ellie Mae. So, by not fighting the situation, and by staying open to the possibilities, we ended up with a silver lining.

STAY TUNED FOR ANZA-BORREGO PART 2, (coming soon) which includes our hike down into The Slot…

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About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our "next chapter". At a stage in life where traveling the world, taking pictures, and sharing our adventures with friends and family will be our dream come true.
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35 Responses to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park – Part 1 with Fonts Point

  1. Terry says:

    Wonderful, I was out there today, Sunday, at it was a nightmare in town. So many people looking at the wildflowers. I got there at 7AM and left at 9AM. There were cars parked everywhere and the traffic getting into Borrego Springs was miles long. All the way to the 76 and 79 head toward the OC. Glad you got there when you did, sounds like an enjoyable time. Take care you 2.

    Like

  2. My husband and I will be there tomorrow! We are so looking forward to seeing the blooms – it is supposed to be the best in years.

    Like

  3. mike alesko says:

    This entry and its photos have given me pause to ponder again just how grand our country’s amazing landscape is. Gee, this incredible looking place is one I haven’t even heard of, and I’m pretty geography savvy. I got this same kind of feeling years ago on a trip east from Oregon that included Yellowstone, Glacier National Park, The Grand Tetons, Badlands, Black Hills, and more. On other trips I’ve been awed by the Grand Canyon, Death Valley and the Mississippi. Our splendor is seemingly endless. And let us all be sure to protect it from those who would now exploit it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. randyjw says:

    It’s nice you were able to enjoy your trip, anyway. The views must have been incredible in-person.

    Like

  5. A great adventure trip. Here in Australia we too have enormous areas of wilderness. You can really get lost there, and some do.
    Lovely photos. Hope you got the Campervan fixed.

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  6. sheilsm says:

    I was in Carlsbad from the 1st to the 10th. I was going to drive to that park, to see the blooms, but decided against it, since I was by myself with a rental car. The last thing I needed was to get stranded somewhere! So, it was nice to see your post! Can’t wait for part 2!

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  7. Keng says:

    Beautiful sunset. I’m glad things worked out OK. Those hotels were so expensive. We were able to secure the park campsites during the 4 days that we were there. Look forward to reading the Part 2.

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  8. Thank you for sharing and the metal sculpture looks amazing…love the sunset ‘happy’ pic too. x

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  9. jjspina says:

    Sounds wonderful! Love your photos – made me feel as if I were there. Thank you for sharing. I may never get there but I feel as if I had, thanks to you. Best wishes on the next trip. 😀

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  10. sanberdooboy says:

    Enjoyed your posting on about Anza Borrego. When we lived in Southern California my wife, kids, and I had some wonderful times there. If you get back that way, you might want to try the hike from the campground just out of town up to the oasis. After all of the rain this season, it must be spectacular. And if the season has been dry, it is still miraculous to see the bright green palms in the rugged, dry canyon.

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  11. What beautiful country. I love the sere clean power of desert landscape. And the flowers are a bonus. I was lucky enough to be in Death Valley for the bloom way back in 1977 – it was sheer good luck that I was there when the flowers were blooming. The resort sounds awful! Love the photo of the kids sitting on the edge. I’d have been there with them 🙂
    Alison

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    • Death Valley was just a fluke for us as well. We had no idea when we planned that trip back in 2005 that we would hit the 100 year bloom. What an amazing experience that was. Haha, I’m pretty sure I would not be joining you out there on the point – but happy to take a picture for you!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Anabel Marsh says:

    It certainly worked out in the end – but I’d still have been furious at those mechanics!

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    • It worked out fine, but we are definitely learning that any repairs or work at the dealership can take a long, long, long time. Hopefully everything will be completed correctly and we will be able to stay away from them for the foreseeable future.

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  13. Maxxtrails says:

    I’m glad you enjoyed Borrego Springs, it’s one of our favourite hiking locations, and you also found a new metal sculpture, I don’t think that one was there when we were in Borrego last November. I hope Ellie May is out of the RV hospital soon 😊

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  14. Maxxtrails says:

    Oh I forgot this part of my comment … we are heading home through Death Valley because we keep thinking it has to be a good flower year even though the desert reports don’t show that!

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  15. Lovely photo of you two!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Caroline Reay says:

    Great photos and looks a wonderful trip. But how do you find bedbugs?

    Like

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