Stagecoach Trails in Anza Borrego Desert State Park

by Laurie Rappeport
Desert travelers will marvel at the beauty of Anza-Borrego Park.

Desert travelers will marvel at the beauty of Anza-Borrego Park.

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Until the early 20th century travelers often used stagecoach travel for long journeys. Settlers who traveled to the West in the 1800s often traveled in stagecoach convoys, leaving trails in their wake that showed the routes that the stagecoach riders traveled. Stagecoach trails in Anza Borrego Desert State Park provide interesting and exciting exploration possibilities. Individuals may explore the trails with four-wheel vehicles, by motorcycle, on a horse or on foot.


Anza-Borrego State Park is the largest desert state park in the continental United States. The area includes more than 110 miles of interconnecting trails that crisscross the park just north of the Mexican border in Southern California. The park has three visitors centers that provide assistance to people who plan to explore the park's trails. The main visitors center is west of downtown Borrego Springs whereas others serve visitors at the Tamarisk Campground and in Bow Valley. Experienced park explorers note that, because of name changes and overlapping trails, individuals who set out on the park's trails should have a good map. The park's main visitors center has a bookstore and invites visitors to view a presentation of the park's history.


Some of the most widely traveled stagecoach trails in Anza Borrego State Park include the Borrego Palm Canyon Trail, the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail and the Pictograph Trail, which offers a moderately-difficult two-mile round trip that gives explorers the opportunity to see pictographs drawn on a large boulder by prehistoric Diegueno Indians, a view of the Vallecito Valley and a restored stagecoach stop. The Borrego Palm Canyon trail offers visitors a three-mile round trip to a native California Palm grove and stream. The Pacific Crest Trail, which passes northward through California into Oregon, has several Anza Borrego Park sections. Stagecoaches could not traverse all of the trails in the Anza Borrego Desert, but some of the wider trails testify to the passage of stagecoaches through the region.

Rest Stops

Stagecoach Trails RV Resort ( provides relaxing accommodations in Anza Borrego State Park's high desert region. Visitors can enjoy the RV park's perks, including hook-up sites, a heated swimming pool, a store and even a nearby golf course. Visitors can rent one of the resort's horses to ride on the nearby trails or simply hike some of the paths in the area. The Tamarisk Grove Campground near Julian on the northern edge of Anza Borrego State Park features 27 camping sites with toilets and showers, fire rings and picnic tables.


Visitors to Anza Borrego Desert State Park can enjoy the natural beauty of the area's flora and fauna among the park's sweeping vistas. Some of the wildlife visitors may see includes roadrunners, kit foxes, golden eagles, mule deer and bighorn sheep. The park hosts a rich concentration of lizards and snakes, including iguanas, chuckwallas and the red diamond rattlesnake. Wildflowers of the area include Parray's bear grass, chaparral whitehorn, cacti, the indigo bush, sand verbena, artemisia, golden yarrow, ocotillo, desert dandelion, wolf's cholla and coachwhip.

Photo Credits

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