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San Diego East County Deserts

A kaleidoscope of colorful flowers & more

Year-round, San Diego's East County Desert areas offer views of badlands, hikes to palm oases and slot canyons, relaxation at resorts and sightings of wildlife. But once a year, the ground erupts in a patchwork of colorful flowers that overwhelm the eyes with their unforgettable beauty.

Wildlife, Wildflowers & Hidden Treasures

The Anza-Borrego Desert is a place of ancient hidden treasures, subtle charm, epic wilderness and stunning silence, the antithesis of the highly manicured Palm Springs. 


Heading east on Interstate 8 through the pretty mountains leads to the 600,000-acre Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, one of the richest and seemingly boundless living museums in San Diego county. This massive state park is home to roadrunners, golden eagles, kit foxes, mule deer, bighorn sheep, desert iguanas, chuckwallas and four species of rattlesnake. The desert garden just outside the Visitor Center building provides an overview of some of the vegetation in the park.


Springtime in the park is a magical affair as the dry, rugged landscape is transformed by winter rains into a kaleidoscope of colorful wildflowers with splashes of bold colors across the desert dunes, creating a spectacular floral display. The annual desert spring wildflowers come in a variety of species from tiny flowers with mere sparkling bits of color no larger than the head of a pin to the majestic ocotillo with its fiery spines of scarlet that pierce the skyline.

Hidden Treasures

The desert resort community of Borrego Springs is a quiet funky corner in the world with a handful of restaurants, shops and places to stay. Cozy up in a casita at La Casa del Zorro, play Tom Fazio golf at Ram’s Hill Golf Course, nosh authentic Mexican eats at Carmelita’s or enjoy burgers, beer and karaoke at Carlee’s. There are also bed-and-breakfast inns, motels and several vacation rental condominiums and houses.

Follow this link to discover more about California's deserts.

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