Anza Borrego Desert Off Road Tour
If you are looking for an exciting, informative, fun, and picturesque off road 4x4 adventure tour in Anza Borrego Desert State Park, then you need to check out California Overland Tours. As part of a two month vacation from Dallas to California, we stayed in Borrego Springs (read more about our Borrego Springs Vacation), which is located in the center of the amazing 600,000 acre Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. We had towed our 4x4 Jeep with us and wanted to take it off roading in this beautiful State Park with over 500 miles of trails. When we arrived in Borrego Springs, our questions started flying to everyone we talked to - what is there to see and do?, where are the best off roading trails? what do you think of this trail? The answers were typically very consistent and one of them was "you should take an off road adventure tour with California Overland Tours!" We're not big fans of guided tours, we find them a little too touristy, expensive, and somewhat boring!
But since so many of the locals, Park visitors, and Park Rangers had recommended that we go off roading with California Overland Tours, we decided to check them out. Their website does a good job of explaining what they offer and since we had limited time, we signed up for the two hour 4x4 tour in an open air refurbished military troop carrier that took us through the pretty Palo Verde Wash, an exciting run through the cathedral-like formations of the upper badlands, and concluded at the stunning Font's Point.
Along the way we made several stops, where our fantastic guide, Joe Raffetto (who also happens to be the owner of California Overland Tours), gave us some very interesting information on the history, geology, fauna, and wildlife of Anza Borrego Desert. His wealth of information and ability to make it interesting as well as educational was outstanding.
To novices, the desert seems to be brown sand and lots of cactus and very boring and ugly, but when you take some time, look around, listen to some interesting stories and facts, the desert suddenly:
- comes alive with a wide variety of desert fauna and vibrant colors of red, white, lavender, and yellow
- each plant becomes more significant as you learn the important role it plays as food, medicine, shade, or implements for fire, housing, or weapons
- the indentations in the sand become meaningful as you learn what small to large and beneficial to dangerous thing caused those tracks
- the geology and amazing rock formations caused by wind, rain, volcanoes, and earthquakes become more visible and meaningful
Joe took our troop carrier through some sandy washes, up and down some steep inclines, through some narrow slots, and past some amazing scenery - typically at speeds that I wouldn't drive on the freeway. Our tour concluded at Font's Point where Joe parked the troop carrier, told us to close our eyes and trust him as he led us up a small incline to the edge of Font's Point. When we stopped and he told us to open our eyes, to a tee, everyone in our group couldn't help but emit a resounding "Wow" - the view of the badlands, Salton Sea, surrounding desert and mountains was breathtaking.
The tour with Joe was clearly one of the highlights of our two month vacation and if you're headed to Anza Borrego, we highly recommend that you give California Overland a call. And when you take a tour, California Overland Tours contributes 10% of every dollar back to California State Parks - how cool is that!
In addition to desert tours to historic ruins, slot canyons, palm oasis, wind caves, amazing scenic vistas, or Indian pictographs, California Overland Tours offers:
- Overnight desert camping where they provide all the gear, delicious meals, and fun things to see and do
- Wine tours where they take care of the driving, lunch, and fees for tasting some excellent local wines
- Custom jeep tours that cater to your interests for adventure, hiking, nature, or just a scenic drive
Some of the best pictures in this article are thanks to Janine Niebrugge. Visit her website, Wild Nature Images, and you'll see some stunning pictures of Anza Borrego Dessert State Park and other fantastic parks!
Return to the Borrego Springs Vacation page.