Camping in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Anza Borrego Camping

There is absolutely no shortage of camping in . Four developed campgrounds with 175 total sites and eight primitive campgrounds with even more places to camp are located throughout the park. Primitive campgrounds are free, and sites at developed campgrounds range from fifteen to thirty-five dollars per night (and $80 for a group site at Borrego Palm Canyon Campground).

The primitive campgrounds have vault toilets (except at Yaqui Pass), but not picnic tables or other amenities. Fish Creek Campground is the most developed of the primitive campgrounds. Its six sites all have their own fire rings, which are not included at other primitive campgrounds.

Blair Valley Campground is a large undeveloped area situated at 2,500 feet above sea level, providing more moderate temperatures than the desert below. Culp Valley is the highest primitive campground at 3,350 feet and Fish Creek is the lowest at 280 feet.

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Camping
Blair Valley

Unlimited roadside camping is available throughout the park, similar to Mojave National Preserve. Anza-Borrego Desert State Park has fairly specific rules regarding their roadside parking:

  • Do not camp farther than one car length from any dirt or paved road
  • Do not camp within 100 feet of any water source
  • There is no garbage collection outside developed campgrounds so pack-in pack-out
  • Ground fires are not permitted, and metal containers must be used for all campfires

This last rule is the trickiest. Bring a metal container to keep your fire off the ground. Pack out all coals, and dispose of them as trash. Coals should not be buried or spread out on the soil.

Dogs are welcome on leashes within campgrounds, but dogs are not allowed on trails or in wilderness areas. Overall, the desert is not a good place for dogs. Burned paw pads, cactus quills, and snakebites pose a danger to dogs, and canines threaten desert biomes as well. A dog’s scent can scare other animals away from trail areas, shrinking the habitat they rely on to survive.

If you not interested in sleeping on the ground, check out other lodging options on tripadvisor.com.

 

Developed Campgrounds in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

Borrego Palm Canyon Campground | 122 sites | reservations accepted | $25 – $80 per night | drinking water, picnic tables, shade ramadas, fire rings, showers, and flush toilets | elevation 775 feet | Start of Borrego Palm Canyon Trail and Panoramic Overlook Trail

Tamarisk Grove Campground | 27 sites | reservations accepted | $25 per night | non-potable water, picnic tables, shade ramadas, fire rings, showers, and flush toilets | elevation 1,400 feet | Start of Cactus Loop Trail and Yaqui Well Trail

Vern Whitaker Horse Camp | 10 sites | reservations accepted | $30 per night | drinking water, picnic tables, fire rings, showers, and flush toilets | elevation 960 feet

Bow Willow Campground | 16 sites | first-come first-serve | $15 per night | drinking water, picnic tables, shade ramadas, fire rings, and flush toilets | elevation 950 feet

 

Primitive Campgrounds in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

Blair Valley Primitive Campground | Lots of sites | first-come first-serve | $0 per night | vault toilets | elevation 2,500 feet

Sheep Canyon Primitive Campground | first-come first-serve | $0 per night | picnic tables, shade ramadas, vault toilets | elevation 1,500 feet

Culp Valley Primitive Campground | first-come first-serve | $0 per night | vault toilets | elevation 3,350 feet | Start of Culp Valley Loop

Aroyo Salado Primitive Campground | first-come first-serve | $0 per night | vault toilets | elevation 880 feet

Yaqui Pass Primitive Campground | first-come first-serve | $0 per night | vault toilets | elevation 1,730 feet| Start of Kenyon Overlook Trail

Yaqui Well Primitive Campground | first-come first-serve | $0 per night | vault toilets | elevation 1,400 feet

Fish Creek Primitive Campground | 6 Sites | first-come first-serve | $0 per night | fire rings, vault toilets | elevation 280 feet

Mountain Palm Primitive Campground | first-come first-serve | $0 per night | fire rings, vault toilets | elevation 760 feet

Hikes in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

Trail
Description
Distance
Location
Anza-Borrego Desert Calcite Mine810Calcite Mine Trail
This figure-eight shaped lollipop loop visits enthralling narrows and a mine site important to the history of the Anza-Borrego Desert.
4 - 4.25 miles
600 feet
33.2811,
-116.0964
Anza-Borrego Desert Borrego Palm Canyon820Borrego Palm Canyon Trail
This loop visits a popular palm tree oasis in a canyon west of Borrego Springs.
3.25 miles
450 feet
33.2702,
-116.4182
Anza-Borrego Desert Panoramic Overlook Trail822Panoramic Overlook Trail
The out and back hike ascends a ridge on the south side of Borrego Palm Canyon to sweeping views of the San Ysidro Mountains and Borrego Valley.
1 mile
275 feet
33.267663,
-116.409476
Anza-Borrego Desert Hellhole Canyon Waterfall830Hellhole Canyon Trail to Maidenhair Falls
This out and back hike visits a 20-foot waterfall in a canyon near Borrego Springs, making it the perfect place to cool off on a hot day in the California Desert.
5.5 miles
1,000 feet
33.248037,
-116.40594
Culp Valley Loop833Culp Valley Loop
This loop visits Culp Valley Overlook and Pena Springs, delivering views of the San Ysidro Mountains and Borrego Valley along the way.
2.2 miles
200 feet
33.2241,
-116.454725
Tubb Canyon Trail836Tubb Canyon Trail to Big Spring
This out and back hike follows a footpath across Tubb Canyon to Big Spring in a desert canyon below Pinyon Ridge in the San Ysidro Mountains.
1.5 miles
200 feet
33.211274,
-116.438534
Anza-Borrego Desert Slot Canyon840The Slot
This out and back hike crosses a narrow canyon beneath a natural rock span that is among the most photographed landmarks in the park.
0.8 miles
100 feet
33.18213,
-116.21417
Kenyon Overlook Trail843Kenyon Overlook Trail
This loop sets out from Yaqui Pass to reach an incredible viewpoint across Mescal Bajada.
1.15 miles
125 feet
33.148143,
-116.348653
Anza-Borrego Desert Cactus Loop Trail845Cactus Loop Trail
This loop on a self-guided nature trail explores cacti and other plants that have adapted to survive in the Anza-Borrego Desert.
0.75 miles
225 feet
33.138755,
-116.37494
Yaqui Well Trail Anza-Borrego Desert846Yaqui Well Trail
This out and back hike on a self-guided nature trail explores area botany and history on the way to a rare desert water source.
1.6 miles
100 feet
33.138333,
-116.37649
Kumeyaay Indian Village Site850Village Site
No hiking required to visit this Kumeyaay Indian Village Site on Mine Wash Road where you can find morteros in a collection of boulders.
0.1 miles33.113076,
-116.34512
Anza-Borrego Desert Narrows Earth Trail855Narrows Earth Trail
This short self-guided loop explores the geology of the park.
0.5 miles
50 feet
33.13072,
-116.30155
Anza-Borrego Desert Elephant Trees Trail860Elephant Trees Trail
This easy loop offers a lesson in desert botany including the rare elephant tree.
1 mile
50 feet
33.068153,
-116.1168
Anza-Borrego Desert Pictograph Trail870Pictograph Trail
This out and back hike visits rock paintings drawn by Kumeyaay Indians who lived in the Anza-Borrego Desert thousands of years ago.
1.8 miles
190 feet
33.01965,
-116.3598
Anza-Borrego Desert Morteros Trail880Morteros Trail
This out and back hike visits a village of boulders once occupied by Kumeyaay Indians who left behind Morteros, grinding bowls carved into the rock.
0.6 miles
40 feet
33.00895,
-116.3784
Marshal South Cabin Trail890Marshal South Home Trail
This out and back hike ascends to the ruins of an adobe cabin on Ghost Mountain (Yaquitepec) with great views above Blair Valley.
1.3 miles
450 feet
33.003382,
-116.389789
Rainbow Canyon900Rainbow Canyon Trail
This out and back hike follows an undeveloped trail up a colorful canyon full of vibrant rock formations and desert plants.
2.2 miles
300 feet
32.99775,
-116.44755
Anza-Borrego Desert Wind Caves930Wind Caves Trail
This short hike climbs to a sandstone formation that begs to be explored.
1.25 miles
250 feet
32.9933,
-116.1184
Photos

Borrego Palm Canyon Campground Anza-Borrego DesertBorrego Palm Canyon Campground Anza-Borrego DesertAnza-Borrego Desert State Park Fish Creek Primitive Campground CaliforniaAnza-Borrego Desert State Park Fish Creek Primitive CampAnza-Borrego Desert State Park Fish Creek CampAnza-Borrego Desert State Park Fish Creek Primitive Campground campingAnza-Borrego Desert State Park Fish Creek Primitive CampgroundAnza-Borrego Desert State Park Fish Creek Campground CampingAnza-Borrego Desert State Park Fish Creek CampgroundAnza-Borrego Desert State Park Blair ValleyAnza-Borrego Desert State Park Blair ValleyAnza-Borrego Desert State Park Blair ValleyTamarisk Grove CampgroundTamarisk Grove CampgroundTamarisk Grove CampgroundTamarisk Grove CampgroundTamarisk Grove CampgroundTamarisk Grove CampgroundKenyon Overlook Trail Anza-Borrego DesertKenyon Overlook Trail Anza-Borrego DesertYaqui Pass Campground Anza-Borrego DesertYaqui Well Primitive CampgroundYaqui Well Primitive CampgroundYaqui Well Primitive CampgroundYaqui Well Primitive CampgroundYaqui Well Primitive CampgroundYaqui Well Primitive Campground

These photos were taken in March of 2011 and March of 2013. Click to enlarge.
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Nine campgrounds with 500 total sites are spread throughout the park to facilitate your visit.
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A few campgrounds and endless roadside camping accommodate stays within the preserve.
California Desert CampingDeath Valley National Park
Nine campgrounds are spread throughout this large park to facilitate your visit.

13 Comments on Camping in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

  1. […] we arrived to the sands of Anza Borrego, we set out to find the perfect camping spot. We had read online that Fish Creek was the place to go for the best free, primitive camping as it provides […]

  2. Brittany says:

    We drove from San Diego to Anza Borrego for some epic desert camping at Fish Creek. We got wood and beverages at the Iron Door and had an insane time trying to bike through the sand at Fish Creek Wash. It was the perfect time of year to visit and we look forward to returning to hike the mud caves!

    Fish Creek Campground: free, restrooms, fire pits, solitude, beautiful! Bring A LOT of water.

    Check out our post with more tips, photos and more! Enjoy :)
    http://mrandmrsadventure.com/2014/03/20/camping-and-biking-in-anza-borrego-state-park/

  3. Dave says:

    It is probably obvious, but the park guidelines are “Do not camp CLOSER than one car length from any dirt or paved road”.

    It is incorrectly stated on this page as •Do not camp farther than one car length from any dirt or paved road. That is wrong. It is not safe and not allowed.

    • hikespeak says:

      Hi Dave,
      I’ve uploaded a photo of the park regulations page from a guide for Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. For primitive/backcountry camping and day use it reads that “Vehicles must be parked no more than 1 vehicle length off the road. Do not trample vegetation or drive over geological features.”

      • Dave says:

        Thanks. Sorry to post incorrect information. I was at park headquarters and must have misunderstood the ranger’s instructions (because it sounds unsafe).

        Thanks for your clarification.

  4. André Jacques Leclerc says:

    Potable water, where we can find?

  5. Christopher mcdonald says:

    Hello,
    I need to know if you are still allowed to camp at the wind caves inside the small caves. I did it when I was a younger boys out and was wondering if I still can with a few friends? Also would there be a fee if we did?

  6. I’d definitely recommend the Arroyo Salado campground, if you like quiet, wild camping like us. No reservation needed and there were plenty of spots when we rolled up over President’s Day weekend. You can have fires — just go to the hardware store in town and get a metal trash can lid for $5.

    The star-gazing there is worth the site not having potable water!

  7. […] place to begin your exploration of the Anza-Borrego Desert. To reach the trailhead, drive through Borrego Palm Canyon Campground, the largest developed campground in the park, where an eight-dollar day use fee is charged. This […]

  8. Bob says:

    Thanks for posting about camp fires and the requirement of a metal container.
    Too many times we see old fire rings with all kinds of trash left in them.
    Thanks,
    Bob

  9. Amanda says:

    hi there – just checking if your list for free camping / environmental camping is still correct for 2017?

    With Bow-Willow would it still be first come first serve? – If so where do you pay the $15 fee? Sorry for basic questions but am having issues in getting basic questions answered on Reserve America.

    Thank you!

    • hikespeak says:

      I believe that this information is still up to date. Stop by the visitor center in Borrego Springs (or call them at (760)767-4205 for the latest updates). You can deposit the fee at the campground. Bring the exact amount or a check.

  10. chris torres says:

    so im an avid offroader and im curious as to if im allowed to offroad were i want or what am i allowed to do

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