Tamarisk Grove Campground
in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
Tamarisk Grove Campground is one of four developed campgrounds in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, with 27 sites, plenty of shade, amenities, and nearby hiking trails. Tamarisk Grove has interesting history too, originally serving as a San Diego County prison camp. Thanks to numerous park improvements, it won’t feel like you are doing hard time to spend a little time at Tamarisk Grove Campground.
Tamarisk Grove Campground is bordered by paved roads on two sides, so you will hear and see limited desert traffic while camping. The tall tamarisk trees, an unusual import from the Middle East, give the campground lots of shade. Additionally, each campsite has a picnic table covered by a shade ramada. To add to your comfort, there are charcoal grills, fire rings, and flat ground for a tent at each side. Sites can also accommodate trailers up to 21 feet in length.
Tamarisk Grove Campground has non-potable water and coin operated showers (along with flush toilets). Drinking water is available for purchase from a small store and visitor information area staffed by the campground hosts.
Tamarisk Grove Campground is a convenient base camp for casual hikers. Two nature trails, Yaqui Well Trail and Cactus Loop Trail, begin just across the road from the campground entrance. Kenyon Overlook Trail, which is just 2 miles away, makes a great end of day hike, when golden hues from the disappearing sun spread out across Mescal Bajada and light up Sunset Mountain. A Kumeyaay Indian Village Site is also just a few miles from the campground.
Tamarisk Grove Campground has 27 sites at $25 per night, reservations accepted (price as of 2018). If you are planning to camp at Tamarisk Grove Campground and find it full, two nearby primitive campgrounds serve as backup (and both are free). Yaqui Well Primitive Campground is the closest, located along a dirt road near Yaqui Well (at the end of Yaqui Well Trail. Yaqui Well Primitive Campground has vault toilets, but no other amenities. The other primitive Campground, Yaqui Pass Primitive Campground is located two miles up Yaqui Pass Road at the start of Kenyon Overlook Trail, and is nothing more than a large dirt parking area (no bathrooms) must suitable for RV campers.
To get to the campground: From Christmas Circle in Borrego Springs, drive 5 miles southwest on Borrego Springs Road. Turn right on Route S3 (Yaqui Pass Road) and drive 6.5 miles south on Yaqui Pass Road. The campground is located on the left (southeast) side of the road marked by a large sign (if you reach Route 78, you went about 0.4 of a mile too far).
Campground address: Yaqui Pass Road, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Julian, CA 92036
Campground coordinates: 33.138584, -116.375208 (33° 08′ 18.90″N 116° 22′ 30.74″W)
Use the map below to view the campground and get directions:
Or view California Desert trails and campgrounds in a larger map
|Cactus Loop Trail|
This 0.75-mile loop on a self-guided nature trail explores cacti and other plants that have adapted to survive in the Anza-Borrego Desert.
|Yaqui Well Trail|
This 1.6-mile out and back hike on a self-guided nature trail explores area botany and history, crossing a wash to reach a rare desert water source.
|Kenyon Overlook Trail|
This 1.15-mile loop sets out from Yaqui Pass to reach an incredible viewpoint across Mescal Bajada.
|Narrows Earth Trail|
This 0.5-mile self-guided hike explores the geology of the park.
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.
|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.
|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.
|Borrego Palm Canyon Trail|
This 3.25-mile loop visits a popular palm tree oasis in a canyon west of Borrego Springs.
|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|
Four developed campgrounds, eight primitive campgrounds, and extensive roadside camping 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.
Very disappointed with another state park. Beautiful site but only available if you are tenting and you must bring your own water as drinking water is not available. With no drinkable water on site not sure why they are charging $25.00 per site.
I’ve been camping at the Tamarisk Grove campground for over 15 years. It was, and to some extent still is, a great place to take a family to visit the Desert. Recent changes, however, have been made to the campground that have not really made it a better place to visit.
Not that many years ago, for a reasonable fee, the camp provided drinkable water, a pay phone (as there is no cell coverage in this area), decent showers for a reasonable charge, and plenty of campsites. Now they have built several cabins (eliminating about half of the tent campsites), raised the nightly camping fee, no longer provide drinkable water and there is no phone. In addition, the restrooms no longer have electrical outlets, (although the camp does have electricity), and it will cost you $1.00 for a four minute shower. For all this, you now get to pay $25.00 per night.
The assault on your pocket book is not over, however. If you have another vehicle, such as another car or a trailer, they sock you an additional $8.00 per night. This charge is applied even though the campsites all have enough parking for 2 or three vehicles and even if you only occupy one site.
To be honest, there are much, much better places to camp in and around Anza Borrego,for free, and I think that is where I will be camping in the future.
November 12, 2013
So WHERE are these other free sites that are better than Tamarisk?
Actually you can camp for free in Anza Borrega State park just ask.
33.13664, -116.37905 and 33.14818, -116.34865 are free and officially authorized.
Eric’s coordinates are for Yaqui Well Primitive Campground and Yaqui Pass Primitive Campground. These are two of the primitive campgrounds in Anza-Borrego State Park and both are close to Tamarisk Grove Campground. (They are visible on the map if you zoom out.)
I just spent a weekend in late January with my son at this campground and found it to be a great spot for car camping. The new cabins are modest but very clean and perfect for a family with two kids. There is a loft with a king-size bed space above, and two bunks below. Two chairs, a table, some shelves and two good-sized windows. The only complaint is privacy – sites are very close to one another, but I’ve found that to be fairly typical of state park campgrounds.
The fees are reasonable, in my opinion, for what you get, and I have no problem supporting our broke state parks by paying for hot showers etc.
This campground is very central, perfect for kids, and definitely recommended. Nice spot, a fair amount of shade, and very informative and helpful park rangers.
Thanks for the review, Jay. Were there mattresses and bedding, or do you have to bring sleeping bags? Any heat in the cabins? Were all cabins really right on top of each other? Is it otherwise a beautiful site? Never been, thinking of taking family of 4 this weekend. Thanks!
[…] home to California’s only native palm, the California fan palm. South of Borrego Springs off the Tamarisk Grove campground, stroll through the Cactus Loop Trail to see barrel cactci, cholla and ocotillo bright with blooms. […]
It’s wierd that after all these years of collecting tax money that they would charge so much for nothing.? Some may say I’m a complainer but I just expect better for the good hard working families of this great country.families work hard and fight for our country just to find out it’s parks are badly managed and asking even more money.
Lots of complaints, but be grateful this land is protected from over development! If not for the state, you would be a trespasser which means either getting the police called on you or shot.
[…] Loop Trail: El sendero de una milla frente al Tamarisk Grove Campground Estaba lleno de amapolas y flores de "vientre" (las tan pequeñas que tienes que ponerte […]
How much do the cabins cost? Are there pads to put sleeping bags on in the loft & on the bunks, or just bare wood?
Any electricity in the cabins?