Culp Valley is a primitive campground in the San Ysidro Mountains west of Borrego Springs. At 3,375 feet above sea level, the campground a cradled by peaks. Here’s what Culp Valley Primitive Campground doesn’t have: water, picnics tables, fire rings, and charcoal grills. Here is what the campground does have: vault toilets and ground to put a tent on. That’s why they call it primitive camping, and the price is right – free!
There are no trees at Culp Valley Primitive Campground, but boulder piles and tall brush provide early morning and late afternoon shade. The potential campsites are located around a few dirt roads that branch out around the campground. The surrounding brush and boulders add privacy so that you can avoid seeing other campers while you unwind in the desert.
You can get a good view of the desert city of Borrego Springs in Borrego Valley from a scenic overlook at the end of Culp Valley Trail, a half-mile long wheelchair-friendly hiking trail departing from from the campground. This trail can be used as part of Culp Valley Loop, a 2.2-mile hike to Culp Valley Overlook and nearby Peña Springs, a pleasant trek that all campers should enjoy.
Dogs are allowed on leashes on camp roads only (not on trails). Ground fires are not permitted. All fires must be in metal containers. Wood gathering is prohibited. The camping area is first-come first-serve. If Culp Valley Primitive Campground is full, there are several other options for camping in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, including four developed campgrounds and seven other primitive campgrounds. Culp Valley Primitive Campground is the highest campground in the park and offers cooler evening temperatures than other campgrounds.
To get to the campground: From Christmas Circle in Borrego Springs, drive 1.3 miles west on Palm Canyon Road. Turn left on Montezuma Valley Road (Route S22), which is 0.4 miles before the park visitor center. Drive southwest on Montezuma Valley Road for 8.2 miles and turn right (north) on a dirt road into Culp Valley Primitive Campground. Bear right at the intersection with the road to Peña Springs and proceed 0.2 miles to the camping area. Culp Valley Trail is to the left and the vault toilets are to the right.
From outside the west side of the park, take Route 79 to Warner Springs and continue south on Route 79 for 3.5 miles. Turn left (east) on San Felipe Road and proceed 4.7 miles to Montezuma Valley Road. Turn left and proceed 9.2 miles on Montezuma Valley Road to Culp Valley Primitive Campground on the left.
Campground address: Montezuma Valley Road, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Ranchita, CA 92066
Campground coordinates: 33.220541, -116.458858 (33° 13′ 13.94″N 116° 27′ 31.88″W)
Use the map below to view the campground and get directions:
|Culp Valley Loop|
This 2.2-mile loop visits Culp Valley Overlook and Pena Springs, delivering views of the San Ysidro Mountains and Borrego Valley along the way.
|Tubb Canyon Trail|
This 1.5-mile hike follows a footpath across Tubb Canyon to Big Spring in a desert canyon below Pinyon Ridge.
|Hellhole Canyon Trail to Maidenhair Falls|
This 5.5-mile 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.
|Borrego Palm Canyon Trail|
This 3.25-mile loop visits a popular palm tree oasis in a canyon west of Borrego Springs.
|Panoramic Overlook Trail|
The 1-mile round trip hike ascends a ridge on the south side of Borrego Palm Canyon to sweeping views of the San Ysidro Mountains and Borrego Valley.
|Calcite Mine Trail|
This 4.25-mile trek climbs 600 feet to a historic mine site, exploring exciting narrows along the way.
This short hike descends through a narrow canyon beneath a natural rock span that is among the most photographed landmarks in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.
|Hikes in the California Desert|
Explore more trails in Death Valley National Park, Joshua Tree National Park, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, and Mojave National Preserve.
|Anza-Borrego Desert Campgrounds|
There are four developed campgrounds, eight primitive campgrounds, and extensive roadside camping to accommodate your visit to California’s largest state park.
|Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Wildflowers|
The desert bloom brings bursts of color to barrel cactus, beavertail cactus, ocotillo, and more.