Look at our travelogue for wildflower examples. It is worth a trip out to Anza Borrego to see the park covered in colorful flowers. The season depends on rain and weather conditions. If favorable, flowers can start blooming in late January through late March.
A good link to keep apprised with wildflower conditions in Anza Borrego is below. It is updated weekly and documents the types of flowers blooming and specific instructions to the locations they can be found inside the park.
During the weekends in the cooler part of the year, there are campfire talks at the Borrego Palm Canyon Campground. They usually start at 8pm on Saturday. But, check with the visitor's center for exact times that they start. They usually run from about October to April or May.
At this event, park officials and volunteers teach facts about desert wildlife, peoples, and plants. It is very informative.
There is a small fee to enter the campground, but the talks are fee. Usually, they are held near the entrace to the Palm Canyon Trail in the back of the camping area. There is no hiking or physical activity involved, it is done around a campfire. Bring your kids, they might find it fun!
At the Anza Borrego State Park Headquarters the view out over Borrego Valley with the late afternoon light features an indian head profile cast on Indian Head Mountain to the north. The shadow creates the negative shape and on the right side, the sunlight makes the shape of a head. Look to the far right of our picture to find it.
The view from the overlook at the visitors' center is easy to access from a car. It is the perfect spot to watch the shadows slide across Borrego Valley while Coyote Mountain and the Santa Rosa Mountains turn into the shades of the sunset. In the desert sunsets are more spectacular to the east as the light comes in at a low angle through the atmosphere. It creates deep purple shadows and hot pink highlights and the eastern sky turns an intense turquoise.
This is the spot where Captain Juan Bautista de Anza's overland expedition camped on March 14, 1774. From monument text: This was "During the opening of the Anza Trail from Sonora into Alta California Anza's colonizing expedition of 1775. Consisting of 240 persons and over 800 head of livestock camped here the night of December 23."
This marker overlooks the Lower Willows and Santa Catarina Spring. It is quite a beautiful spot and a short hike down to the thick stand of trees at the spring is lovely as well as historical.
The view from this historical marker makes it pretty obvious why Juan Bautista de Anza chose this as a spot to relax in 1774. It probably still looks the same today. This is a good place to have a picnic lunch if you need a change of scenery from the desolate badlands.
In warmer months shade is at a premium. A picnic lunch stop should include a palm oasis for relief from the sun. Anza Borrego has at least 4 in the eastern edge of the park that are easily accessible off of dirt roads. 'Washingtonia Filifera' or the Desert Fan Palm is the only palm native to the western United States.
Located at Five Palm Spring this lush spot has a great view overlooking the Badlands. The sound of the wind in the palms and the shade they provide makes for a nice resting spot. You have to park in the wash below and take a short hike up to the oasis.
The visitor's center is located about one mile west of the town of Borrego Springs. It is a first class facility. It is built into the hillside and is very ec-friendly. The staff and the park rangers are knowledgeable and can tell you where the wildflowers are blooming and which trails are interesting and accessible etc. I don't believe we would have found the wildflowers on our own and one of the trails we intended to hike was really only accessible by four wheel vehicles. So we saved a lot of time and effort by checking in at the visitor's center. They also have a great bookstore with many publications on flowers, animals and geology.
This is where the Kumeyaay Indian's used to grind tyhe maze to make corn meal, as Ognini is demonstrating.
From Borrego Springs and the park headquarters, The San Ysidro Mountains loom up from Borrego Valley to the west. Dramatic shadows play across its surfaces in the evening light.
The sunsets are rich in color and so are the sunrises. Different mountains light up with orange and pink light to the west.