December 25, 2022 – January 3, 2023

The Springs at Borrego RV Resort & Golf Course

Over Christmas and New Years, we spent nine nights at The Springs at Borrego RV Resort & Golf Course. We had never stayed in a true resort like this, but ended up making the last minute choice as our Christmas present to one another.

The Springs at Borrego was the most expensive place we had ever stayed, but it was also, by far, the nicest. Some RV parks like to claim they are a resort, but this place really is. In addition to your standard RV park amenities such as full hookup sites, wifi, cable tv, restrooms with showers, and laundry, they also had tennis and pickleball courts, volleyball, horseshoes, lawn bowling, fishing pond, amphitheater for concerts, outdoor salt pool, fitness center, fitness classes, massage therapy, piano, reading library, computer center, ping pong table, all purpose room open 24/7, and 9 hole championship golf course (additional fees applied for some services). The front desk staff was friendly enough and the hosts were exceptional. There appeared to be at least four sets of hosts staying in the resort and they were always out working hard to keep everything manicured and greeting visitors. They would even pick garbage up at your site and take your propane tanks to refill them.

Golf course & mountain views
We experienced our first earthquake in an RV!

The Springs is located at the northeast edge of the small desert resort town of Borrego Springs. The location was great for riding our bikes to the nearby Sky Art sculptures and for visiting the shops and restaurants in downtown Borrego Springs. The town is surrounded on all sides by Anza-Borrego Desert State Park making the resort a great base camp for the area.

Even the parking lots have great views in Borrego Springs

The Springs was more than our budget typically allows, but we wouldn’t hesitate to stay there again for a special occasion. Rates vary significantly depending on the time of year and length of stay. A single night stay is as little as $45 during the summer and as high as $140 on a weekend during their “high season”. We paid $624 for 9 nights total at the weekly rate.

Borrego Palm Canyon Nature Trail

Continuing with our explorations of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, we hiked the 3.0 mile roundtrip Borrego Palm Canyon Nature Trail (click here for brochure). This is probably the most popular trail in the park and for good reason, it climbs up a scenic desert canyon to a beautiful palm oasis. Lucky hikers will see a small seasonal waterfall and/or desert bighorn sheep—we weren’t so lucky there. But we did enjoy a beautiful hike on a warm sunny day and only saw a couple other hikers. If you only have a few hours in the park, this is the trail you want to hike.

Hiking up canyon to Borrego Palm Oasis

The Borrego Palm Canyon Trail starts at the end of the Borrego Palm Canyon Campground just to the west of Borrego Springs. There is a $10 day-use fee charged as you enter the campground.

The California fan palms that you’ll see along this canyon trail are special. They’re the only palms native to the western US. Reaching 60 feet in height, this species is the largest palm in the state.

A remnant of an earlier, wetter epoch, these palms are now mostly confined to a few spring and stream fed canyon oases. They prefer moist soil and typically occur at elevations below 1,000 feet. The “skirt” of brown dead fronds provides microhabitat for birds, bats, and insects.

-Interpretive sign at the trailhead

Coachwhip Canyon

Coachwhip Canyon is a short and scenic hike for those looking for solitude in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. This hike wasn’t on my radar at all until I saw it on an information board in downtown Borrego Springs. After spending four days sick in the RV over Christmas, I was looking for a short hike close to town and this fit the bill. We combined Ella Wash and Coachwhip Canyon for a lovely 4.0 mile stroll where we were rewarded with several species of wildflowers in bloom.

Coachwhip Canyon is a beautiful little canyon in the foothills of the Santa Rose Mountains with sandstone rock formations that have been shaped by wind and water. The canyon is about one mile in length, all easy walking, and there is a fork about halfway in that you can also explore.

-Information board in downtown Borrego Springs

The dirt road leading into Coachwhip Canyon and Ella Wash is on the north side of S22 at mile 34.8, roughly 15 miles east of Borrego Springs. A 4×4 vehicle can drive most of this route, but I recommend hiking it instead so that you can enjoy the wildflowers and scenic canyon. We saw a couple Jeeps and a group of hikers during our visit.

Hellhole Canyon Trail

Our last hike of 2022 was a 5.0 mile roundtrip hike up Hellhole Canyon in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. This trail takes you to a series of palm tree oases and Maidenhair Falls, a small seasonal waterfall. The waterfall was dry during our visit, so we turned around after the first few palm oases. This trail was similar to Borrego Palm Canyon, although this it is a little more strenuous and not as well maintained. Hellhole Canyon wasn’t as scenic as Borrego Palm Canyon, but we thought the palm oases were better.

From Christmas Circle in Borrego Springs, drive 1.3 miles west on Palm Canyon Road. Turn left on Montezuma Valley Road (Route S22). Drive 0.8 miles south and turn right into the large dirt parking area at the trailhead just before the road heads up the mountain. There is a $10 day use fee charged for this trailhead.

Culp Valley Hike

Beginning on December 31, 2022, the first of 31 atmospheric rivers hit California bringing record-setting rain and snow across the state. While the storms didn’t bring significant amounts of precipitation to our travel areas in the California desert, they did bring wetter and cooler than normal conditions that would impact the rest of our winter travels. And that first storm did bring a beautiful dusting of snow to the upper reaches of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.

View up to the San Ysidro Mountains covered in snow

For our last day of explorations in Anza-Borrego, we headed up to Culp Valley Campground for a short 2.0 mile loop hike. This relatively easy loop featured fantastic view down into the Borrego Valley and up to the snow covered San Ysidro Mountains. Our hike began on the edge of the campground where we found ourselves at 3,400 feet elevation (compared to just 600′ down in Borrego Springs). Temperatures were much colder than the 70s we’d been having down in the desert and the fresh snow up on 6,147-foot San Ysidro Mountain and the jagged summits in the San Ysidro Mountains reminded us that it was indeed winter.

View down into Borrego Valley
We parked at the edge of the Culp Valley Campground (X) and hiked to a point with sweeping views of the Borrego Valley (Y) before continuing on to Pena Springs (Z)

From Christmas Circle in Borrego Springs, drive 1.3 miles west on Palm Canyon Road. Turn left on Montezuma Valley Road (Route S22) and drive up the steep and winding highway where you’ll enjoy fantastic views down to Borrego Springs. After 8.2 miles, turn right onto the dirt road into Culp Valley Primitive Campground. We found a parking spot to the left just before entering the campground. This is a fee free area.

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The Adventure Continues

Join us for our next post as we begin the slow trip back north. And don’t forget to check out our Amazon RV and Adventure Gear recommendations. We only post products that we use and that meet the Evans Outdoor Adventures seal of approval. By accessing Amazon through our links and making any purchase (even things as simple as toothpaste!), you get Amazon’s every day low pricing and they share a little with us. This helps us maintain this website and is much appreciated!

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