If you don't want to hike out into the Anza Borrego desert, you can come here to walk though the landscaped gardens at the state park center and get an idea of the local environment.
You have to check this place out anyway- this building is built into the side of a small hill and is mostly underground. Inside is a small movie theater for viewing short films about the surrounding region, or you can check out the exhibits showing the natural history of the area.
If you are planning a hike out into the desert- you can stop by here for information about the Anza Borrego state park.
This photo was taken from the rooftop and looking down at the front of the building.
Tip: It can get really crowded here during the wildflower season- February and March, so come early.
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Wildlife viewing in the CA desert
The Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is a gorgeous place to come experience the desert in California. This photo was taken when I hiked the Palm Canyon Trail a couple years ago in the fall. I was thrilled to come across a herd of bighorn sheep.
Hiking in the park, I've come across jack rabbits, antelope squirrels, desert cottontail rabbits, road runners and the largest covey of California quail that I've ever seen. But there are also golden eagles, kit foxes, coyotes, mountain lions, kangaroo rats, and a variety of reptiles. It's incredible just how much animal life exists in this desert landscape!
Use your eyes and your ears when looking for wildlife in the Anza-Borrego state park. A pair of binoculars is really handy for when you think you are seeing something and not sure if it's a rock or not!
There are many trails in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Whether you want to hike through canyons, see vistas, find out of the way hikes to look at pictographs, visit a Yaqui well or a 20ft waterfall - your choice - there are many options here in Anza-Borrego.
Always be sure and check in at the state park center before you hike out to learn of trail conditions. Also, bring plenty of water. This is a desert!
Unless you enjoy heatstroke, I only recommend hiking during the months of November through March. If you hike during any other month, do so early in the morning, it gets really hot by 9am.
During the months of February through March the dry desert landscape of Anza Borrego explodes into a tapestry of color. Pick up a $5 flower guide from the state park center or the natural history association and see how many you can identify.
People come here from all over the world during the spring months to see the desert floor come alive in color with the blooms of desert chicory, monkey flower, desert star, sand verbena, desert dandelion, desert lily, dune sunflower and more.
During this time in February and March, you can find festivals going on that celebrate the flowers through local art and culture.
I highly recommend doing this hike if you are in the area.
It was unbelievable to see all of this life flourishing under the hot desert sun. Around every corner there were different plants, animals, a small river and then finally the canyon filled with palm trees!
The hike is called the Palm Canyon Hike and is about 6.5 miles R/T. It is worth it but make sure you bring a ton of water with you! It can get very, very hot.
Spring is the best time to see the wildflowers and be sure to take extra precautions (lots of water, sunblock, etc) if you are headed out any time during the summer.