Another weekend in Borrego Springs

 Our weekends in Borrego Springs always start with Dudley's Bakery in Santa Ysabel.  From there, we drove through Julian and down into the valley along Hwy 78.  It doesn't have the dramatic view of the Salton Sea that the route through Ranchita does, but it is interesting to watch the flora shift from live oaks to cactus as you descend.

Our first stop was the Cactus Loop Trail on Yaqui Pass Road.  This short trail is directly across from the entrance to the Tamarisk Campground.  There is short-term parking at the ranger station and the trail begins across the road.  This short loop had ocotillos blooming in orange, purple beavertail cacti with purple flowers and several species with bright yellow flowers.  The trail is very easy.  There are several other trails nearby and the ranger was very helpful.

We drove onto our hotel, Casa Del Zorro.  We stayed in the Yucca Casita, which has a private pool.

We ate most of our meals at the restaurant at Casa Del Zorro.  The roses were in bloom around the property.  We also saw a Great Horned Owl.  The resort has several pools, morning yoga, tennis/pickleball courts and many other amenities.

In the morning, we went to nearby Slot Canyon, off Hwy 78.  It is a little over a mile drive off-road over a bumpy, hard dirt road.  My sedan made it easily.  The parking lot has restrooms.  The slot canyon is just below the parking lot.  The best entrance is a very short walk up a small steep hill.  There is a small sign marking the path down into the slot.  Once in the slot, it is cool and shady.  The best trail is a left turn that takes you back below the parking lot.  The short trail down and the walk through the slot is moderately difficult.  There are a few spots where it is easier to use your hands and sit down to scoot down a short drop.  The trail eventually comes to a very narrow, dark slot.  Based on the advice of fellow hikers, we decided to turn around there and walk back the way we came.  After scrambling out of the slot, we walked in the hills and enjoyed a great view, including a view in the distance of the badlands.

                                                        This marks the point to go down into the slot
                                                One section of the great view from the ridge

We spent the rest of the morning at the Anza Borrego SP Visitors Center.  We saw lots of lizards and birds.  For lunch, we went to Carmelita's.  We drove to the head of the Palm Canyon Trail to see the pond of pupfish, which, incredibly, are tiny native fish of the desert.

After an afternoon of swimming in our private pool, we went to the Ram's Hill Country Club for dinner.  The view is spectacular!  The artificial lake attracts lots of birds.  I think I saw a kingfisher.  We had a nice meal with good desserts.

                                                The view from the restaurant
                                                        Pina colada cheesecake

We go to Borrego Springs every year and there are still many areas of the park we have never explored.  We missed peak wildflower season, but it is followed by cactus blooms, which are also very beautiful.  The green palo verde trees were in bloom with bright yellow flowers.  Even mid-April is wonderful in the desert. 


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