Anza Borrego

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California Travel Expert Veronica Hill of http://www.CaliforniaTravelExpert.com and the California Essential Guide app (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id428163062?mt=8) checks out Anza Borrego State Park and Borrego Springs in this episode of "California Travel Tips."

Anza Borrego park sits near the Salton Sea on more than 600,000 acres of slot canyons and badlands. It's a snowbird's paradise, home to four scenic golf courses, beautiful desert trails and awesome off-road adventures.

Fall through spring is the best time to visit Borrego Springs, which is the Anza Borrego desert town center. This is when temperatures dip from summer highs of 120 down to a comfortable 70 to 80 degrees. Spring is when the Anza Borrego flowers carpet the desert in a field of colorful blooms. Anza Borrego wildflowers include such species as desert dandeloin, desert mallow, white sage, lupine and Indian paintbrush.

Anza Borrego camping is free throughout the park! If you want a more pampering experience, stay in one of the hotels or RV resorts in Borrego Springs. You can enjoy a round of golf beneath the Santa Rosa mountains, enjoy some catch-and-release fishing on the Springs at Borrego golf course, or go swimming in their 85-degree pool and hot mineral springs.

When you arrive, check out the visitors center, which is located just above town. This is also where you'll find Palm Canyon, one of the main Anza Borrego campgrounds with hookups. The Anza Borrego Visitors Center is a great place to learn about the native flora and fauna, take in a geology lesson, or enjoy a short stroll to the desert pupfish pond. These endangered fish can live in water three times as salty as the ocean and up to 120 degrees in heat!

Borrego Palm Canyon is one of the area's most popular hikes, clocking in at 3 miles round-trip. Allow roughly 2 hours for the journey, which begins at the Visitor Center and ends at a natural palm oasis. If you're lucky, you may spot some of the desert's native bighorn sheep.

On the hike to Alma Wash, you can check out the rare elephant trees, which were discovered here in 1937.

One of the most unique sights in Borrego Springs are the metal sculptures, which are scattered throughout the valley. Designed by artist Ricardo Breceda, the sculptures are located along 3 square miles of Galleta Meadows Estate, which sits along Borrego Springs Road. Highlights include a field of farm workers, a stranded desert Jeep and an awesome 350-foot serpent that travels beneath the highway. Many of these larger-than-life sculptures resemble the prehistoric creatures that once roamed Borrego Valley, ranging from giant sloths and camels to wooly Mammoths and saber-toothed tigers. Outside the chamber of commerce, you'll find a replica of Spanish explorer Juan Bautista De Anza, who blazed the trail from Mexico to San Francisco in 1775.

Cycling is a great way to see the Anza Borrego desert, and many rentals are available in town. If you have a four-wheel drive, head out to popular locations like Ocotillo Wells, Blair Valley, Split Mountain and Sheep Canyon.

The desert's remote location makes it an ideal spot for stargazing. In fact, Borrego Springs hosts dozens of astronomy events throughout the year, and was California's first International Dark Sky community.

Music by Jason Shaw at http://www.AudioNautix.com

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