1. 1. Day 1 (Fri, Mar 15)
  2. 2. Day 2 (Sat, Mar 16)
  3. 3. Day 3 (Sun, Mar 17)
  4. 4. Itinerary

This content was automatically generated by gpt-4-turbo-preview (No human review). The original post is in Chinese.

Last weekend, we headed to the Anza-Borrego Desert, located east of San Diego, and camped there for two nights. Due to Southern California receiving a good amount of rain this winter, the desert was teeming with life and greenery this spring, with various wildflowers blooming in abundance and adding rich colors to the landscape. Here’s how we planned our trip.

Day 1 (Fri, Mar 15)

We drove from San Diego to the desert on Friday afternoon. We had a reservation for Friday night at Vallecito County Park, costing $29 a night, which came with flush toilets and hot showers (coin-operated). Unfortunately, upon our arrival in the desert that afternoon, a downpour began, preventing us from hiking. When we returned to the campsite, the rain stopped for a bit, and we even saw a double rainbow. However, in less than thirty minutes, heavy rain resumed and continued for over two hours, until after 8 PM, forcing us to spend our time in the car. Luckily, we had just installed Window Visors on the car, so we could crack the windows for ventilation. I played the recorder in the car for over an hour; the only downside was that it was a bit too loud for my ears.

Friday night was mostly rain-free, but it felt incredibly cold. I slept in the car, and cuihao slept in the tent.

Day 2 (Sat, Mar 16)

Finally, it was sunny on Saturday morning. We first hiked the Hornblende Canyon Trail, which was quite challenging mainly because of the plants covered in thorns along the path. We had to be careful in choosing our route to avoid damaging our clothes or getting scratched. On top of that, there were many areas where we had to climb rocks, with heights varying up to 2-3 meters, requiring careful climbing or finding a detour with not-so-obvious paths. Along the way, we encountered many bees, with Desert Apricot being the prevalent wildflower, resembling cherry blossoms.

In the afternoon, we drove to the State Park and paid a $10 fee to park at the The Slot trailhead. The trail, though short, was varied and started in a Slot Canyon, akin to a much less glamorous version of Antelope Canyon. The colors were more subdued, and the lighting wasn’t as spectacular. However, as we exited the Slot, we saw various wildflowers, including many Desert Lilies, and then had to climb a steep hill to make our way back. It started raining again, and we got wet for about 30 minutes before the rain intensified, forcing us to rush back to the car. Surprisingly, it rained on us in the desert two days in a row.

Next, we visited the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Visitor Center for some information, casually strolled around, and had dinner at the Picnic Area. En route to the campsite, we stopped at Henderson Road to see the wildflowers, arriving just after 6 PM, right before sunset, which was incredibly beautiful.

Our camping site for Saturday night was at Peg Leg Smith Historical Marker, which was free and didn’t require a reservation. We just had to find a spot to park. There was a pit toilet, which was reasonably clean. With no activities post-sunset and the outside being extremely cold, I played the recorder for a bit and watched my tablet in the car, going to sleep around 9 PM. The site was quiet on Saturday night and overall gets a thumbs up. By comparison, the Friday night site was certainly not worth the $29.

Additional note: On Saturday morning, we first went to June Wash to see wildflowers but ended up seeing nothing, even less than the random flowers along the roadside. Afterward, we went back to the campsite to pack up the still-damp tent before heading out for our hike.

Day 3 (Sun, Mar 17)

On Sunday morning, I woke up and opened the car door to see the sunrise from my bed, which was a fantastic view.

We visited Henderson Road again on Sunday morning to see the wildflowers, took a casual stroll and some photos, then drove to Coyote Canyon for a hike. We first took a dirt road to the First Crossing loop Trailhead. The trail was very interesting, lined with many cacti and various wildflowers, and we even spotted 3 Black-tailed Jackrabbits. Initially, the trail was flat desert land, but it gradually led to the foot of the mountains, followed the base for a while, and then ascended. Frequently, it was hard to discern the trail, requiring us to adjust our path based on the GPS on our phones, especially careful of the cacti with thorns. The most challenging part was finding a way down into the canyon. Once in the canyon, it was easier to navigate, eventually leading us back to the desert flatlands.

After the hike, we had lunch in a nearby park, the Borrego Springs County Park, which had nice public amenities and clean restrooms. We then drove home after lunch.

Overall, this desert camping and hiking experience was wonderful. This season, the desert was beautiful, perhaps the most beautiful desert scene I’ve witnessed. Previous visits were during winter (around Thanksgiving or Christmas) to Joshua Tree National Park, which, although full of rock formations, cacti, and Joshua Trees, lacked the wildflowers and the greenery seen on this trip. The trails we explored felt more interesting than any before, making the Anza-Borrego Desert highly recommended for a visit soon.



  • Drive
    • SD -> Vallecito County Park (1h50min, 90mi)
  • Camping
    • Vallecito County Park, Site 5




  1. 1. Day 1 (Fri, Mar 15)
  2. 2. Day 2 (Sat, Mar 16)
  3. 3. Day 3 (Sun, Mar 17)
  4. 4. Itinerary