Southern Desert

Bordering Arizona to the east and Mexico to the south, the Southern Desert is a must-see for anyone visiting Southern California. A clear day affords breathtaking views of the Borrego Badlands, with spectacular vistas of serpentine canyons carving through sand-hued hills and mesas. Beyond the Badlands lies Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, California’s largest with 600,000 acres sheltering a vast array of plants and wildlife, including coyotes, mule deer, mountain lions, black-tailed jackrabbits, desert kit foxes, and endangered Peninsular bighorn sheep. If you can, time one of your park visits for spring when you’ll be treated to a kaleidoscopic display of vivid desert wildflowers in full bloom.

The park surrounds the friendly town of Borrego Springs, its peaceful, unhurried pace a pleasant contrast to a thriving arts and business community where you’ll enjoy art galleries, eclectic boutiques, restaurants, outdoor outfitters, and a number of independently owned shops.

East of Borrego Springs is the Salton Sea, a saline inland lake with plans for revitalization. Today, visitors can engage in activities like camping, hiking, biking, picnicking, kayaking, and birding as the sea is the main wildlife refuge for more than 400 species migrating along the Pacific Flyway.

Tucked into the southeast corner of the Southern Desert, the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area is a118,000+ acre playground for off-highway vehicle (OHV) enthusiasts—some dune areas rising 300 feet over the desert floor!


Southern Desert Map

Click to view a map of the California Deserts