As the largest park in California, the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park has a wide variety of spectacular scenery and options for visitors, from casual campers to those wishing to get into some serious backcountry. Just a stone's throw from the U.S.-Mexican border, this giant 600,000-acre desert park is only two hours from San Diego, Palm Springs and Riverside.
Featuring 150 miles of trails, 500 miles of roads and several campsites, this is a wilderness filled with adventure. Gorgeous sweeping views abound, as do the cacti, palm groves and wildflowers. The landscape ranges from scrubby, desert lands to one-of-a-kind rock formations that stretch as far as the eye can see. This arid land is also home to many animals, such as Peninsular bighorn sheep, golden eagles, iquanas and jackrabbits. Look out for the red diamond rattlesnakes and gasp at the beauty of the majestic prairie falcons. There are greater roadrunners here, too, dashing away from the coyote, one can assume. And underfoot hide the fossilized remains of giant sloths, a North American elephant called the gomphothere, a North American relation to the camel, and the remains of the Aiolornis incredibilis, the largest North American bird that could attain flight with a wingspan of up to 16 feet.
While your dog is welcome to join you in this furbulous outdoor reserve, they are limited to protect the wildlife that calls the park home. Dogs are not allowed in the wilderness areas, flower fields, or on the many hiking trails found throughout. They are allowed in several of the campsites, on designated roads which can be dirt, sandy wash, or paved, and on the Visitor Center/Campground Trail. Check the website for all the dog-friendly areas.
If your pup is accompanying you to this desert pupperdise, be sure to keep them on a six foot leash at all times, and never unattended. Further, dogs must be in the tent or camper at night, so they can't be tied outside or left in an outdoor pen or crate. The land and its hot climate can be dangerous, so be sure to always have enough food and water to share with your adventure pup, and never leave your furry friend locked in a vehicle. Also have clean-up bags on hand, and always stoop and scoop. Restrooms, showers and drinking fountains are available in certain areas.
To experience the beauty and serenity of the desert with your dog, check out the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park!