Bicycle Touring in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

By Darren Alff on - Download my FREE bike tour starter guide!

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is the largest state park in all of California – and an excellent location for a bicycle touring adventure! Cyclists from all around the world come to Anza-Borrego to discover the wildflowers, palm groves, cacti and incredible desert scenery. But if you’re anything like me, you’ll come to the Anza-Borrego Desert to see the 130+ giant metal sculptures that dot the landscape near the small city of Borrego Springs.

That’s right! There are more than 130 of these giant metal sculptures scattered throughout the Anza-Borrego desert near the city of Borrego Springs, California. These giant pieces of art are the work of an artist named Ricardo Breceda – who is based in Paris, California. Just look at how big that scorpion is in comparison to me and my bicycle!

Anza Borrego desert elephant sculpture

Located just two hours away from San Diego… and three hours away from Los Angeles, California by car, the Anza-Borrego desert is a great weekend getaway not far from the big city.

While most people drive around the desert and stop to look at each of the Ricardo Breceda’s giant metal sculptures in their car, one of the best ways to explore Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and is to ride your bicycle around and see the sculptures on your bike.

What makes bicycle touring in the Anza-Borrego desert so unique is that you can ride your bike right up to the sculptures. In the photo above you can see me riding my bicycle past a giant mother sloth carrying a baby on her back.

One of the most famous sculptures in the entire Anza-Borrego desert is this 350-foot-long serpent, which is so long that it’s body actually crosses the road and stretches onto the other side. It’s head is on one side of the road and it’s tail is on the other!

There are two main clusters of sculptures within Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. The largest grouping of sculptures is located north of Borrego Springs, along Borrego Springs Road. If you park your car at the circle in the center of Borrego Springs and then cycle north through this loop, you will cycle approximately 14 miles before returning to your car.

The second largest cluster of sculptures is located south of Borrego Springs – also along Borrego Springs Road. Once again, if you park your car at the circle in the center of Borrego Springs and then cycle south along Borrego Springs Road to the sculptures, your round-trip journey will be approximately 11 miles.

Should you choose to cycle to both sculpture groupings, the entire journey will cover a distance of approximately 25 miles, which is an excellent distance to cover in a single day. I suggest cycling to the northern-most cluster of sculptures in the morning. Then return to Borrego Springs for lunch and a cool drink. Remember, it’s hot out there, so wear lots of sunscreen and drink lots of water. Then, after you’ve rested and refueled, cycle to the south and see the giant metal sculptures on that side of the city.

After your return to your vehicle in downtown Borrego Springs, drive to one of the nearby campsites. Borrego Palm Canyon Campground is located 3 miles west of the circle in the center of Borrego Springs. It is a pay campground with toilets, picnic tables and fire rings, but there is a cost to stay at this campsite. Making reservations in advance is a good idea!

free campground in anza borrego state park

If, however, you are willing to drive a ways outside of downtown Borrego Springs for a more private and scenic campsite, consider driving 10 miles west of Borrego Springs to Culp Valley Primitive Campground. This is a very special place that is rarely occupied by other visitors. There are pit toilets at this location, but not much else, so be sure to pack in and pack out your trash and any other items you might bring with you. Beware: the road loading into Culp Valley Primitive Campground is dirt and may not be passable for all vehicles.

It should be noted that Borrego Palm Canyon Campground and Culp Valley Primitive Campground are not the only two campgrounds in the Anza-Borrego desert. I recommend using the website at www.freecampsites.net to find other free camping locations within Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and the surrounding areas.

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is truly a spectacular place to go bicycle touring! The next time you visit the desert, don’t forget your bicycle. Not only is Anza-Borrego a beautiful place to spend a few days, but it’s a wonderful location for a cycling adventure. Click here to learn more about cycling in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and the other popular cycling routes within the park.

Click here to download the XML / GPX route information for the sculpture tour in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. You can use these free files to add the route information to your GPS, smartphone, or offline mapping application. Then, you simply follow the route on your device to see each of the 130+ sculptures that litter the landscape surrounding Borrego Springs, California.

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About Darren Alff

My goal as the Bicycle Touring Pro is to give you the confidence and inspiration you need to travel by bicycle anywhere in the world. I do all of the work on this website by myself. Since 2007, all of the articles, books, emails, interviews, photos, podcasts and videos have been created by me in my spare time. Thanks to the generous donations I receive from readers like you, I'm able to focus on creating regular, high-quality content; invest further in developing the website; and cover the costs relating to my bicycle touring activities.

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2 Comments

  1. desi

    October 27, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    I think it’s Perris, California.
    There is no Paris in California, none that I’ve found at least.
    You raised my eyebrows on this one 🙂 I’m a parisian !
    The sculptures in this park are amazing, btw. Another interesting place I’ll never visit, probably…

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