Thought I would start to share some of the email I get at my Borrego Springs/Anza-Borrego Desert site. It will remain a work in progress depending on general interest and precious time. First Draft 12/18/01, update 03/22/2006
I'm going to be going to my sister's for spring back and she lives in San Marcos which is right next to Escondido. I'm thinking about going to anza borrego state park. I love to hike and just go out and see the natural wonders. I'm probably not going to have 4 wheel drive, so I was wondering which main highways have views of badlands. I've seen pictures from Font's Point and I would really like to go up there but I'm pretty sure you need four wheel drive. Are there any hikes that a person must do while visiting? I enjoy exciting and fairly strenuous hikes or anything that has good views along the way. Do you recommend going to one area of the park in particular or should I try to see as much of it as possible? I'm sorry if you don't know or want to answer these questions. I'm just looking for some first-hand advice on what to do and see.
Thanks, Jeff - 3/1/02
Reply: I have never had to use 4-wheel drive going up to Font's Point. One must know how to drive in soft sand, though. Some of the sandy washes have turns where the sand piles up. Just go slow and easy, don't stop in soft sand, and don't turn sharply; you should be fine. During the winter season there are so many tourists and rangers out there that even if you do get stuck, someone will be along shortly to help. There are 4X4 tour companies that offer reasonable tours out to the badlands. A lot of people just park at the Font's Point entrance from S22, and walk the four miles up to The Point.
You can see the east end of the badlands from S22, about 20 miles east of Borrego Springs on the Salton Seaway, past the Imperial County line, looking south. The viewpoints have no real parking so you have to be real careful where you park. You can also see segments of badlands from BLM land from S22, looking north. Parking is easy; you will probably see motorhomes on the plateau; just take one of the dirt (sand) roads to the north; this area is about a mile past the Imperial County line.
600,000 acres is hard to see in one visit. If I were a first time visitor here for one day, I would go directly to the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Visitor's Center (weekdays are best, as soon as they open), check out the whole center, then take the 2-1/2 mile hike up Borrego Palm Canyon. You would then have time to see (not hike) Font's Point, and perhaps Coyote Canyon. These areas are close to Borrego Springs. The Split Mountain, Wind Caves and Elephant Tree areas are also a must see, but are "out south" of Ocotillo Wells (about 25 miles from Borrego).
You may want to camp in the Park. Check out the State Park website for reservation info at http://www.anzaborrego.statepark.org/
If you haven't read it already, check out Anza-Borrego Hiking, by Mark Sheehan, on my page http://la.znet.com/~kat/katgibson.htm under Trip Reports and Photos.
Remember that San Marcos is at least an hour (sometimes more) from Borrego Springs. You will see amazing scenery just driving down Montezuma Grade just past Ranchita.
Enjoy our desert. Make sure you read the rules and regulations for open fires in the Park while camping.
Hi; Am trying to plan a winter trip south. Find everything kind of pricey. The camping and Leain' Lizard RV Ranch trailer rental may be what we end up doing. Are there any bargains out there that never hit the internet? We are hoping to drive south Jan. or Feb. to spend two weeks in the sun
Ted, March 01, 2002
Reply: Winter is "high season" in the Anza-Borrego, and rates go up accordingly. Leapin' Lizard or camping would be your best bet. You could possibly get a "rate" if you plan to stay two weeks from one of the resorts listed on my website. Doesn't hurt to ask, but it is doubtful during the winter season. The State Park allows open camping in all areas of the park. You can check out Reserve America's website for availability and rates at http://www.reserveamerica.com/usa/ca/anza/index.html
Subject: Amazing Web Site - Kat, what a wonderful Website you have here.
I've been thinking of taking my son and sister out to Borrego Springs for hiking, lodging and exploring. I am very much intrigued by area but truly do not know much about it. I was wondering if there are water streams in the area and so forth. If you have any details that you would like to share in regards to lodging recommendations, trails and preparations for such a trip, this would be greatly appreciated.
I live in Huntington Beach and I am familiar with Palm Springs. I imagine Borrego-Springs is quite close to Palm Springs. I hope to visit the area within the next few weeks.
Thank you so much for any feedback you might have and of course, for your time as well.
I truly enjoyed viewing the items in your web page, great details!
Lisa, March 01, 2002
Reply: Thanks for the kind words about my
Borrego Palm Canyon (2-1/2 mile easy hike) and Coyote Canyon (drive; 4x4 is best) usually have flowing water, depending on the time of year.
600,000 acres is hard to see in one visit. If I were a first time visitor, I would go directly to the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Visitor's Center (weekdays are best during the winter season, as soon as they open), check out the whole center, then take the 2-1/2 mile hike up Borrego Palm Canyon. You could make a better decision about what you want to see after checking out the Visitor Center. If you are going to be here for a few days, be sure to see Font's Point and the Split Mountain areas (Wind Caves, Elephant Trees).
If I had children with me, I would stay at Palm Canyon Resort or the Hacienda del Sol (if I could get a reservation at this time of year).
Preparations for the trip include making sure you have plenty of water, camera, hats, shorts, hiking boots, sun screen, and warm clothes for morning and evening. Star gazing is incredible out here, so if you have a telescope, be sure to bring it. Otherwise, the State Park usually has stargazing programs for their Jr. Ranger Programs (see http://www.anzaborrego.statepark.org/activities.html ).
Ruth has just had her first book of poetry published. We're pretty excited about it and wanted to let you know since you've been kind enough to include a link to our photo albums on your site for some time now. There is also a web site for Ruth's book which is probably too "commercial" for you to include, but please take a look at it if you get a chance. There are a couple of desert poems on it that you may enjoy.
San Diego Magazine is going to review the book and her publishers have asked for a second and possibly third book so we are very pleased with the progress. The following is a notice we sent to the Borrego Sun about the book. We have no idea if they'll print it but it does tell the story pretty well.
Part time Borrego Springs resident and full time desert lover, Ruth Rice-Sipila is proud to announce the publication of her first book of poetry, inspired by and written in Borrego. The book entitled The Wind Speaks Her Own Name is being published by PoetWorks Press, a publisher based in Florida and known for their books by established as well as unpublished poets. After contributing to and editing a poetry anthology recently, Ms. Sipila was encouraged by the publishers to submit her own work for possible publication. Although she has written poetry for years, she had never submitted her work for publication, making their acceptance even more special.
Ms. Sipila was introduced to poetry at an early age by her mother Phyllis Frazee Rice, and has a number of other poets in her ancestry. One of the most notable is her great grandfather Issac Jenkinson Frazee who not only was a well known poet of his day, but built the Frazee Castle in Escondido for which Old Castle Road is named. His daughter, Helen, was also a famed and published poet. Her name appears in the British Anthology and she was rated one of the seven best sonnet writers during the 1920s.
For samples of Ms. Sipilas poetry and ordering information please go to:
This web site also includes a link to ten photo albums filled with hundreds of photos of the Anza Borrego Desert State Park taken by Ruth and her husband Thomas...
One other reason we were trying to write to you was to thank you again for your site. It is the only Borrego Springs web site we have found that updates regularly and always seems to contain something new. Other sites with potential have simply gone away. Yours is appreciated and we thought you should know that.
Thank you and have a wonderful holiday.
Tom and Ruth Sipila 12/16/01
Reply...What a beautiful website! My congratulations to Ruth on her book...
Of course you knew I would love the desert poetry; I am truly impressed with her verbal graphics. I am going to send a link to the poetry website to a gentleman who recently emailed me regarding the wind in Borrego...Let me think about publishing the press release on a separate page on my site. If I decide to take the time to publish a new page for you, may I have permission to reproduce the "Borrego" poem? I could then include text direction to the poetry site...
Thank you for your website. I have used it as a source for hours of enjoying information about the Anza-Borrego Desert and Borrego Springs over the past few months.
My wife and I are looking for an area that we can get away to in the winters, and eventually retire to in the next 3-6 years. I have always felt drawn to the Southwestern desert. We do have a place on a lake in New Hampshire where we live now. When we retire we would probably keep the place on the lake to get relief from the desert summer heat of our place in the Southwest.
One question I had that I was hoping you could give me some input on. We have some friends who bought a place in Ridgecrest CA. (desert) and one of the surprises they got was the amount of wind. I do not mind the wind occasionally but I would go banana's if I lived were the wind blew for weeks on end. Is that the way it would be in Borrego Springs?
Thanks again for your site, and the courtesy of a response to the wind question.
Jay & Linda Cleary 12/14/01
Reply...We do get wind before and after a storm, but it doesn't go on for weeks...just for days. (Makes it rather inconvenient for the golfers in the valley, but the wind doesn't usually stop them from playing.) Having grown up in the Salinas Valley in central California, I don't consider the wind in Borrego of any particular consequence...used to wear curlers in my hair until I got to school because of the wind, and I hated the wind. Ridgecrest is considered "high desert," and there is a big difference between high and low desert...It even snows in Ridgecrest...
Spring is usually our "perfect" season, and you will not experience much annoyance with the wind. I would suggest a visit during November/December to gauge our wind factor. The San Ysidro mountain range, to the west of our village, usually tells us when the wind is coming. We can see the "wind clouds" sitting on the mountains and know there is a storm on the coast and a wind will be coming to blow the storm out of the area.
I've learned to love the wind in Borrego; breaks the monotony of perfect weather, and makes cloud watching a joy. So, I guess I am the wrong person to ask about the annoyance factor of wind in the Anza-Borrego Desert. You can't have spactacular sunrises and sunsets without clouds, and you can't have clouds without wind. But I will tell you it is nowhere near as bad as Salinas or Ridgecrest. Life in Borrego is all about compromise; one deals with isolation, quiet, star-filled skies, no traffic lights (no traffic), low crime, weather, etc., for particular reason.
Our snowbirds (and year-around residents, myself included) consider the wind a minor factor compared to the benefits of living in Borrego Springs. It's a wonderful place, with great people and enough activity to keep most of us away from the dreaded Boredom Boogie. Our population (about 3,600 year-round) almost doubles during The Season, which tells you how our snowbirds love the place.
Come visit during a storm and experience the wonder of the wind. How's next weekend look? We are expecting a nice little storm.
Kat Gibson, Cloud Watcher...
P.S. See what Ruth Rice-Sipila says about "Borrego" on her new website at http://www.geocities.com/desertruth1/ ... obviously a lover of wind in our desert.
Response...Ahhhh a lesson learned. She obviously made a friend with the wind, accepted, then loved it, and it speaks to her the beauty our creator has given us.
Thanks for the insight. I should have known that there are compromises in every choice we make. A little wind or even a heavy wind can be a welcome change and experience of nature
But I still wouldn't want a 15-30 mph wind blowing everyday for weeks. Which based on what you said may be experienced in Ridgecrest but not the Borrego Springs.
Lawrence "Jay" Cleary
Found you on the net and have a quick question I hope you can answer. I took 2 trips to Anza Borrego last year and was greatly taken with the beauty of the area. On my 2nd trip I brought my family and took a couple of hour Jeep trip (Borrego Bob). The trip was great but I don't know where we entered the wilds. I am returning this weekend with my brother-in-law. He has a 4-wheeler and I'd like to find a remote trail head that we can enter and then leave the vehicle for some hiking and camping. A suggestion would be greatly appreciated.
Jack Bierman 12/13/01
Borrego Bob usually goes out to the Font's Point area, which is approximately 10 miles
east of downtown Borrego Springs on S22. Stop at the State Park headquarters and get
a map. Make sure someone at the Park knows where you plan to go and how long you
will be "in the outback."
I, personally, would go out to Coyote Canyon, which is north of Borrego from DiGiorgio Road; or out to Split Mountain, which is about 30 miles southeast of Borrego, nearer to Ocotillo Wells. Tamarisk Grove is less frequented, and has a campground; located at Route 78 and County Road S-3.
It's cold at night so dress warmly; no open fires in the park. Have a wonderful time in our special place on the planet.
***Website design and photos,( unless otherwise noted) by Kat Gibson, POB 147, Borrego Springs, California 92004. All Rights Reserved.
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