Anza Borrego Desert State Park is the largest desert recreational area in California, and the largest state park in the contiguous United States. It is 935 square miles of badlands, dry lake beds, slot canyons, and mountains. Today we were focused on the mountains, in a campsite that we found the last time we were here. Backcountry camping is allowed in all areas of Anza Borrego. My friend, Susan, told me about this secret spot a few years ago, and now it is our secret spot. We were fortunate that the campsite we wanted was unoccupied since we had our heart set on it, but at the same time this whole region is so underused I am not surprised it was open.
We recently invested in a tall tent and today was day one; our first time setting it up and our first time car camping with our toddler. All went super smooth. We were set up and seeking refuge from the heat in our “casa” (as A1 called it) in no time. We laid low for a few hours, until it was cool enough to wander around. I wanted to get in a hike before dinner. As we were walking and looking at other camping options, who did we run into but my friend, Susan! (Apparently it is a small desert after all.) We explored their campsite, which has even more granite oases than ours, and a view with a higher elevation if you are willing to work for it. We will definitely be using it as a plan B for us next time. We are in love with this area, but our next return won’t be until after summer! 80 degrees in the desert is hotter than 80 degrees at the beach.