Top 5 Beginner Trails in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

February 29, 2024
Tags: Beginner, California, Easy, Trails

‘Tis the season to explore the desert, and one of our favorites is Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. If you’ve never put tires on dirt in Anza-Borrego, you really should. But we don’t want to send you in blind, so we’ve compiled a list of our top 5 favorite beginner trails in Anza-Borrego.

Technically, it’s desert season year-round, but we tend to stick to late fall through springtime. Summer can get seriously hot, regularly hovering around 100 degrees Fahrenheit. But, in the winter, most daytime highs stay in a comfortable 60 to 80-degree range. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Before we get into our favorite beginner trails to check out, there are a couple of things to remember when going off the grid in the desert. First, even in the winter, natural water sources are essentially non-existent. So bring plenty of extra water, even for short day or weekend trips. But, when it does rain, the low-lying areas and washes can quickly become raging rivers. Flash floods are no joke, so if there is significant rain forecast in or around Anza-Borrego it might be worth postponing your trip. Or, hop onto Trails Offroad and find another option nearby! Make a point to visit the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park official website to view all Park Regulations; there are specific rules regarding where dogs are and aren't allowed, flying drones is strictly prohibited, campfires must be in metal containers, etc.

Arroyo Tapiado (Mud Caves)

Not only does Arroyo Tapiado offer a beautiful, winding drive between tall canyon walls, but it also features the famous Mud Caves. Peek in a couple of caves on your way through, or set up camp and spend the whole weekend exploring. Either way, you won’t be disappointed!


Fish Creek

This expansive trail follows Fish Creek wash and provides access to stunning geological features and other trail systems to explore. Be sure to stop and make the short hike up to the Wind Caves. You can also make a worthwhile detour through Sandstone Canyon, the next trail on our list. 


Sandstone Canyon

In years past, Sandstone Canyon was a popular option for some light rock crawling but that section of the trail has since been closed for preservation. The narrow canyon with its towering walls is still worth checking out. 


Blair Valley

Whether you’re looking for a quiet place to camp or an afternoon hike, you'll want to wander through Blair Valley. Its higher elevation offers a unique landscape often filled with grass, thick shrubs, and various desert succulents. At the end of the offroad trail is a hiking trail leading to ancient Native American pictographs. 


Inspiration Wash

Just to the east of Borrego Springs is one of the most entertaining washes in the whole state park. The trail begins directly off the main road as an unassuming wash but quickly narrows as it winds up into the Anza Borrego Badlands. If a spectacular view is what you’re after, we’d also suggest checking out the nearby trail, Fonts Point


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Taylor Kempkes
Taylor Kempkes is as passionate about the outdoors as he is the automotive world. When weekend campsites became progressively further removed from civilization, the need for capable transportation became evident. It didn’t take long before the offroad journey became as much of an obsession as the camping itself. A simple 1995 Jeep YJ is Taylor’s 4X4 companion of choice, taking him on trails over California, Arizona and Nevada. He is always looking for new environments to explore and bigger rocks to drag his Wrangler over. Recently, Taylor is learning what it’s like to camp and wheel with a growing family.

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