Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is a varied and beautiful geological wonderland. From mountains to low desert and over 600,000 acres in size, there is something for everyone. The low desert locations, including the charming town of Borrego Springs, is a fantastic cold-weather destination and one of the first places to see wildflowers. In fact, depending on autumn monsoonal activity, you may see blooms from September until January when the spring flowers are beginning to sprout. Likewise, the higher elevations are often in full-flower in later spring and early summer. Open camping, a rarity in any park, promises fun-filled days searching for plants and star-filled nights around the campfire. For those who require a little more comfort, there are many independent inns in the town of Borrego Springs, which was the first International Dark-Sky Community in California.  Put this park on your bucket list.

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Blue Palo Verde

Mule Deer, Bighorn Sheep, and jackrabbits browse on the leaves.

Blue Paloverde in the desert

Elephant Tree

The Cahuilla tribe used this plant as a cure-all for many ailments and to promote longevity. Some birds feed heavily on the Elephant Tree, such as Ash Throated Flycatchers and Vireos, while others browse only lightly, but are the primary means of seed dispersal. This is a protected species in California and Arizona, occuring mostly in Mexico.

Elephant Tree in the desert

Desert Ironwood

Indicator species of the Sonoran Desert. Wood is extremely dense. The most important nurse plant in the Sonoran Desert region, in terms of shade, cooling for seedlings in summer heat, warmth during frosts, seeds that collect around the tree after flash floods, seed dispersal by the large number of species that seek shelter there. The tree can live to be 1,000 years old, though it rarely grows taller than 35 feet.

Desert Ironwood tree in the Eastern Mojave
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