Borrego Palm Canyon Campground is located in the northeastern portion of Anza Borrego Desert State Park, just west of the town of Borrego Springs and north of the park visitor’s center (GPS: 33.268713, -116.406073).
Of all of the campgrounds in Anza Borrego, this one best balances rugged desert solitude with access to the pleasures of civilization.
Site types: Tent, RV, Group Sites
Amenities: Potable Water, Toilets, RV Dump Stations, Trash Receptacles, Fire Rings, Picnic Tables, Camp Store
Information number: 760-767-5311
Reservations: Reservations accepted
Reservation number: 1-800-444-7275
Campground Coordinates: 33.268713,-116.406073
Location: Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
Address: 200 Palm Canyon Dr, Borrego Springs, CA 92004
Season: October – May
Getting to Borrego Palm Canyon Campground
Anza Borrego Desert State Park is located in eastern San Diego County, with portions of the park bordering Riverside County. The park is located about 2 hours drive from San Diego and 3 hours from Los Angeles.
There are multiple ways to approach the park from San Diego, but entering from the I8 on the south side or via Highway 78 through the town of Julian are popular routes. From Los Angeles and the Inland Empire, the I15 to Highway 79 to Montezuma Valley Road (Highway S22) is a common approach. Borrego Palm Canyon Campground is located just west of Borrego Springs, near the state park visitor’s center.
From Christmas Tree Circle in the center of town, go west on Palm Canyon Drive for 1.5 miles, and turn right at the sign for the campground (you’ll come to the visitor’s center if you continue west), and go 1 mile north to the campground enterance.
The campground is far enough from town to feel secluded and offers immediate access to several hiking trails. Yet it’s close enough to Borrego Springs that a 5-minute drive brings you to restaurants and stores.
The campground is open year-round and offers 120 campsites, including 51 full hookup RV sites, as well as 5 group campsites. Reservations are required October 1 to April 30, and sites can be booked at ReserveCalifornia.com (search for “Anza Borrego”) or by calling 1-800-444-7275.
Up to eight people can camp at the standard sites. Each site typically has only enough parking for two cars, but there is an overflow parking area available. Check-in time for the sites is 2 pm and check-out time is noon.
All of the sites in the campground are well-maintained and offer a decent amount of space. That said, the most desirable sites, in our opinion, are those on the outer edge of the loops, particularly those that abut the open desert – for example, sites 71-89.
Borrego Palm Canyon Campground, which is split into three separate loops, features simple but well-maintained facilities, including potable (drinkable) water from spigots and water fountains, flush toilets, and token-operated showers with hot water. Each site offers a picnic table and a shade ramada, which comes in handy during when the desert sun beats down midday.
Two of the campgrounds loops offer sites for both tents and RVs, but no hookups. The third loop, the one to the right as you enter the campground past the ranger booth, is for RVs, although you can also pitch tents as long as you also have an RV at the site. The group campsites are located on the wide loop that is the furthest west.
The showers operate on tokens that you need to buy from the ranger station at the entrance to the campground. It can be a bit of a walk back to the entrance, so it’s a good idea to pick them up when you check-in. Each token gets you 4 minutes of water, and our experience is that one or two tokens are plenty for a shower.
Ground fires are prohibited in Anza Borrego, to protect the fragile desert soil, and campfires are allowed only in the fire rings/pits provided at each site or in camp stoves.
You can purchase fire would at the ranger booth at the campground entrance and pick it up just past the entrance on the right. Don’t gather firewood in the park–the dead wood provides important nutrients to the desert ecosystem (if your planning to make smores, bring your own marshmallows roasting spits instead of using branches from live or dead vegetation in and around the campground.)
The campground offers full hookups (electric/water/sewer) at the RV sites near the campground entrance (sites 1-51). The parking pads are 15-feet wide by 35-feet long. This section of the campground also offers restrooms and token-operated showers.
Just to the right as you enter the campground is an RV gray and blackwater dump station and a spigot and hose to fill RV water holding tanks.
Generators can only be operated from 10 am to 8 pm.
There’s a lot to do near Borrego Palm Canyon Campground. There are several trails that can be accessed from the campground, including Borrego Palm Canyon Trail, Panoramic Overlook Trail, and the Visitor’s Center Interpretive Trail, which brings you to the state park visitor’s center. The Slot Canyon Trail, known as “The Slot,” is another great option, about a 15-minute drive away.
The visitor’s center is worth a visit. The staff are highly knowledgeable about the park and can make suggestions on hikes and points of interest, as well as provide information on road conditions and any area closures. The visitor’s center featured nice museum-quality exhibits on Anza Borrego’s natural and cultural history. It also has a small movie theater, where they show short films about the park.
The visitor’s center is located at:
200 Palm Canyon Dr, Borrego Springs, CA 92004
For more information on restaurants, attractions, and outdoor adventure near Borrego Springs, visit our Ultimate Guide to Anza Borrego Desert State Park.