Anza Borrego Desert State Park & Borrego Springs Campgrounds
Anza Borrego Desert is the largest of the California State Parks. Borrego Palm Canyon Campground is the official name of this popular palm oasis & developed campground located very close to Borrego Springs CA. Hike or bike to town. There is also a private RV Park named Palm Canyon Resort in town, just to confuse you.
Desert wildflowers blooms, popular hiking & biking trails, plus mud caves & slot canyons draw plenty visitors here, mostly in the winter months. Summer high temps exceed 90 degrees for months at a time.
There are hundreds of miles of dirt roads to explore, and one could easily spend every weekend for a full year, checking out all there is to see in this vast desert, where elevations range from near sea level to 5000′ peaks.
Borrego Desert Campgrounds
Anza Borrego State Park Campgrounds
760-767-5311, Anza Borrego Desert SP
BORREGO PALM CANYON CAMPGROUND
main campground near Visitors Center, in town Borrego Springs, CA
120 camp sites for tents & RVs, flush toilets, overnight / day use fees
TAMARISK GROVE CAMPGROUND
27 camp sites, flush toilets, fee
on S-3 @ Highway 78 jct (closed June – Sept)
reservations accepted (Oct-May)
Vern Whitaker Horse Camp
equestrian campground w/ corrals, 10 camp sites, flush toilets
elev, 960′, located N of Borrego Springs, near scenic and rugged Coyote Canyon.
Backcountry Campgrounds Anza
16 miles east of Borrego Springs on County Road S-22
Blair Valley Camping Area
open car camping & RV spots, vault toilets
on SAN DIEGO County Rd S-2 near Highway 78 jct
Bow Willow Campground
elev, 950′, hwy access, 16 camp sites, pit toilets, overnight fee
near Sweeney Pass & badlands overlook; located on S-2, 9 miles N of Interstate 8
Canon Sin Nombre
off S-2 near Sweeney Pass; entrance near Badlands Overlook; slot canyon hikes
Coyote Canyon Camping
N of Borrego Springs via Di Giorgio Road
rugged backcountry dirt road, tent camping only
car camping near ocotillo gardens; 4×4 needed @ creek crossing & Sheep Canyon
Culp Valley Campgound
elev, 3400′, hwy access, 8 camp sites, pit toilets, free camp
located on S-22, atop Montezuma Grade
Culp Valley Boulders
elev, 3700′, dirt road access, primitive camp sites, free
located off S-22, 4×4 near Montezuma Grade
5 mi. south of Borrego Springs on County Road S-3 & right on Yaqui Pass Road, go 6 miles to camping area on right side
5 mi. south of Borrego Springs on County Road S-3 & right on Yaqui Pass Road, go 4 miles to camping area on left side
All Desert Campgrounds Nearby
AGUA CALIENTE HOT SPRINGS
(San Diego County Park)
88 camp sites for tents & RVs, flush toilets, overnight / day use fees, 760-765-1188
located on Co. Rd S-2, 22 miles N of Interstate 8 (closed June-Aug)
BOX CANYON RD Mecca, CA – in between Joshua Tree NP and Anza Borrego Desert
BLM camping in Box Canyon & Mecca Hills Wilderness Park
BUTTERFIELD RANCH RV PARK & HORSE CAMPGROUND
(Private Campground Resort)
located on S-2 between Highway 78 & Interstate 8
LEAPIN LIZARD RV RANCH
(Private Campground Resort)
85 acres, 60 camp sites
located on Split Mountain Road, Ocotillo Wells, CA
OCOTILLO WELLS SVRA
(State Vehicular Recreation Area)
elev. 160′, 4×4 and off road camp sites for trailers & RVs
no water, no hook-ups, pit toilets, no fees, 760-767-5391
located on Highway 78 (closed June-Sept)
PALM CANYON RV RESORT
(Private Campground Resort)
located in town, Borrego Springs, CA
SALTON SEA SRA
(State Recreation Area & Campground)
Mecca Beach, Corvina Beach, Salt Creek Campgrounds
located on Highway 111 on east side of inland sea
SLAB CITY @ SALTON SEA
old Camp Dunlap in California desert badlands
free & open RV camping near Salton Sea
located off Highway 111 on east side of inland sea
STAGECOACH RV PARK & HORSE CAMPGROUND
(Private Campground Resort)
located on S-2 near Highway 78 junction
(OHV trails & camp spots)
elev. 300′, 4×4 and off road camp sites for car camping, touy hauler trailers & RVs
no water, no hook-ups, no fees,
located on S-22, East of Borrego Springs, CA
(San Diego County Park)
44 camp sites for tents & RVs, no hook-ups, toilets, overnight / day use fees, 760-765-1188
located on S-2, 22 miles N of Interstate 8 (closed June-Aug)
Desert BLM Camping Spots
- MECCA – BOX CANYON
- OCOTILLO – FOSSIL SHELL CANYON
- YUHA DESERT WILDERNESS – South of Interstate 8
FREE CAMPING ANZA – Let us also remind you that this is the best place to camp in California for primitive car camping (camping outside of a developed campground). Open all year long – always! Super secluded, darkest skies, free and always located on the back roads. 4×4 is not required in all areas, so there are plenty of options. Blair Valley or Coyote Canyon Gardens are popular camp spots, but there are thousands of hidden canyons and washes in this giant State Park, just awaiting your tent. You’ll need a decent topographic map. For more info on free camping click here.
Topo maps, wilderness hiking maps –
- Anza Borrego Desert Map (Wilderness Press)
- Cleveland National Forest Map (USDA NFS)
- Cleveland Forest Topo Atlas (USDA)
- PCT Map – Pacific Crest Trail / SoCal
- San Diego Backcountry Map (Tom Harrison)
nearby cities & towns:
Dirt roads, backroads, desert trails, OHV routes, single tracks, dunes, fire roads, gravel roads, 4×4 roads
When you wanna explore a new area, California has plenty of public land to offer. Off Road Maps can get you away from the crowds & the main staging areas. Maps can show you prime areas to ride & camp that you may not have ever imagined. Secluded, wide open, or freeway close. Terrain – the endless deserts, the mountain foothills, the higher hills , way above the city. The choice is yours.
Whether you seek secluded stream side camp sites, with some fishing or a dusty, long, desert trail that spans the entire Mojave desert, you can find these secret spots with good old fashioned topographic maps. Hard copies! The real deal. No cell signal? No problem.
4×4 Panamint Valley has numerous canyons & ridges to conquer
our random list
California off-roading maps:
- 4×4 Guide Tahoe NF
- Baja California Maps
- Big Bear Trail Map
- DEATH VALLEY MAPS
- JAWBONE CANYON OHV MAP (only a few left)
Randsburg Ghost Town, Dove Springs, Red Rock, North Mojave
- Kern River Maps
- MOJAVE DESERT MAPS
- Guide of San Bernardino Mountains
- SAN DIEGO BACKCOUNTRY MAP
(Tom Harrison) Anza Borrego Desert State Park, East San Diego County
The most trusted full-state book-atlas that Total Escape recommends. When you must have a (hard copy) map for local road trips – Benchmark Atlas is the best one by far.
National Forest Topo Atlas
Spiral bound book of all topographic quads, of select National Forests in California.
- SAN BERNARDINO OHV MAP (outta print)
- HUNGRY VALLEY OHV MAP (outta print)
- ANGELES FOREST OHV MAP (outta print)
- MOUNT PINOS OHV TRAILS (outta print)
- ROCK CREEK OHV Eldorado
Awesome California locations w/ off-road trails nearby. DanaMite has compiled a list of first-hand knowledge information, links, photos, campsites, maps, all revolving around rural California. Check out the ever growing list and get ready to explore the back roads, like never before.
OHV area, motor vehicle use, 4×4 camps, dirt trails, forest routes; Download maps for various off-roading areas in California.
What the heck is it ???
4WD = 4 wheel drive
4×4 = (same as above)
2WD = 2 wheel drive
4×2 = (same as above)
AWD = All wheel drive
SUV = Sport Utility Vehicle
MTB = Mountain Bike
MX = Motocross (dirt bike motorcycle)
SNOMO = Snow Mobile (sled machine)
GAS-POWERED RECREATION: The past two decades have emerged with vehicle redesigns from well known brands, creating a number of new “utility vehicles” for the sport of off-roading (otherwise known as, burning gasoline while recreating in the outdoors). Here is a breakdown on the acronyms, but they all basically refer to much of the same “off road type vehicles”.
ATV = All Terrain Vehicle (quad)
MOHUV = Multipurpose Off-Highway Utility Vehicle
ROPS = Roll Over Protection System
ROV = Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle
RUV = Recreational Utility Vehicle
SxS = Side by Side Vehicle (2 seated)
SSV = (same as above)
UTV = Utility Task Vehicle
Common abbreviations for off-road on public lands:
PVT – private land / keep out
MTR – motorized
RD – road
CO – county
RTE – route
SR – state route
FR – forest route / road
EXT – exit
CK – creek
EL – elevation
MT – mountain
STA – station (ranger/fire station)
PO – post office
Around 2012 the National Forest Service printed up a bunch of nice off-road maps for various popular regions of California. Oddly, they told me not to sell them and I never heard anything about them again after that. Not even sure if these above are available to the public, but if you dig around you might find ’em. Call the rangers, they might know.
If interested, you could call the ranger station and ask about any local off-road maps, and availability. Mostly they have freebie one page print-outs, black & white — to keep the crowds where they want them. Other times they might have real color, printed maps for sale at the station. Maps that can get you deeper into the terrain, with wild edges of reality nearby. 4×4 maps, OHV map, MVUM
BLM Maps (Bureau of Land Management)
Government agency that manages large amounts of California land. Public lands that do not fall into the National Forest or National Park or State Park realm. BLM oversees some mountain areas, river canyons and primarily, desert regions within California. Visit a local BLM office to see the selection of area maps.
An avenue made of dirt, earthen highways, dirt trails, forest roads, fire roads, jeep road, graded roads. Dirt driving trails that lead into the middle of nowhere. No stop signs, no billboards, no stores, no one else around… for miles. Enjoy less crowds and more open space.
If you are fed up with city life, sitting in traffic & need to vacate your mind among the barren hills of California (if only for a weekend), then Total Escape is your place. You seek solitude, peace, maybe a mini tailgate party & BBQ on a dry lake bed, with the heavenly stars above. Imagine the warm camp fire light reflecting off the high canyon walls, your music echoing, moonlight hikes for a few miles.
California has some awesome spots to drive on dirt, get way back in nature. Right up to the edge of the Wilderness boundary. That’s what this one silly “dirt street” page is all about… helping you get out there, the easiest & best way possible. We even got you the right maps!
Most of this is just dirt road driving, graded, some hills, easy stuff. But on occasion you might come across a 4×4 required sign – or perhaps a triple black diamond trail. Having several good maps on hand will help you enjoy these roads, instead of stressing & wondering if there is a lock gate at the other end – 18 miles in.
Some dirt streets lead to campgrounds, some to waterfalls, some to viewpoints, some have loop options & others are just dead end; sometimes at old mines. Get ready to explore with your truck or SUV. 2WD or low clearance vehicles (such as passenger cars) should be ready to turn back if the road get too nasty. Any decent precipitation can make any unpaved road much worse & may require 4 wheel drive, so have a plan B or C as a backup idea.
Best off road areas & parks in California:
- Anza Borrego Desert State Park
- Anza Borrego 4×4 Trails
- Canon Sin Nombre Slot Canyons
- Old Kane Springs Road
- Split Mountain Anza Borrego
- Mason Valley Truck Trail
- BLM Mojave Desert
- Turtle Mountain Road
- Mojave National Preserve
- San Berdu National Forest
- Yellow Post Campsites
- Los Padres National Forest
- Hungry Valley Gorman
- Frazier Park Camping
- Dome Springs Campground
- Quatal Canyon #9N09
- Rock Front Ranch
- Driving on the Beach
- Red Rock State Park
- Jawbone Canyon
- Horse Canyon
- Chimney Peak Backcountry Byway
- Sequoia NF OHV Routes
- Long Valley Campground
- Panamint Valley
- Death Valley National Park
- Hollister Hills
- Sierra National Forest
- Dinkey Creek – Dusy
- El Dorado National Forest
- Stanislaus National Forest
- Inyo National Forest
- Saline Valley Hot Springs
- Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest
- Green Creek Road
- Canyon Creek Campground
- Sawmill Lake Camping
- The Lost Coast
- Lassen National Forest
- Modoc National Forest
- Klamath National Forest
Tooling around Goler Wash & Barker Ranch on the very edge of Death Valley
PDF Off-Road Maps for California
“Portable Document Forms” collected from various sources.
Anza Borrego Ocotillo Wells Map
Burney Falls Back Roads
Death Valley Overview Road Map
Eagle Lake Off Road Map
Hat Creek Off Road Map
Kern Plateau OHV Road Map
Lake Almanor Off Road Map
Lake Mohave NRA Map (South)
Lassen Forest Off Road Map
Pozo Off Road Map
Rock Front Ranch OHV Map
Shasta Chappie Off Road Map
Westwood Susanville Off Road Map
Mason Valley – Oriflamme Canyon
Mason Valley Truck Trail refers to a network of dirt roads on the west side of San Diego County Road S2, on the steep mountain slopes overlooking the desert badlands of Anza Borrego State Park. These primitive back roads lead up to the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) on the edge of Laguna Recreation Area.
Oriflamme Canyon, Chariot Canyon & Rodriguez Trail are all in the area. Chaparral mountain trails lead off in many directions with dead end canyons and side routes. This high desert region consists of private property, ranches with gates, various trails and desert dirt roads – between 2400′ and 4000′ elevation.
A good portion of the lands on the west side of paved S2 are not inside the State Park boundary, but Oriflamme is the exception. The Anza Borrego Desert State Park borders includes this particular back road canyon, almost up to the Cleveland National Forest. Awesome locals little secret!
- Oriflamme Mountain @ 4611′ elevation
- Chariot Mountain @ 4644′ elevation
The main access to Mason Valley Truck Trail is located near the bottom of Box Canyon (on Co. Rd. S2). The sign at the turn off reads Oriflamme Canyon. The first sandy mile or so gets kinda confusing, as the ranch road, dirt trails and natural desert wash merge with the seasons and rains. You might encounter locked gates if you take the wrong turn. In the wash look for signage for Oriflamme.
Approximately 2 miles from S2 the dirt road splits. To the left is Mason Valley Truck Trail, which continues up Oriflamme Canyon and into wooded Chariot Canyon, eventually connecting with Hwy 78 (at Banner Grade). And the other choice on the right is a rugged 4×4 route called Rodriguez Truck Trail which is 7 miles long and meets back up with the main Oriflamme road about a mile from the highway. These back roads encircle the biggest peak around called Chariot Mountain.
Mountain bikers, hikers, horses and vehicles all use these routes, so be prepared to see others out exploring and please, always yield to equestrian traffic.
Several open, free camp spots lower in the canyon w/ large cottonwood trees. More hidden camps to be found higher up the mountain. A decent topo map, a campfire permit and a metal fire bucket is highly advised.
PCT: Pacific Crest Trail traverses the ridge line near 4000-6000′ and the desert valley below is nearing 2000′ elevation. The ambitious plan for the California Riding and Hiking Trail is still under construction and routed nearby as well.
Butterfield RV Ranch and the historic adobe Vallecito Stage Stop, are the closest thing to civilization you will find around these parts Don’t count on gasoline or cell phone coverage anywhere near here.
- Borrego Springs, CA
- Julian, CA
- Mount Laguna
- Ocotillo, CA
- Pine Valley, CA
- Santa Ysabel
- Shelter Valley
Desert / Mountains
- Anza Borrego Desert Region Map
- Cleveland National Forest Map
- Pacific Crest Trail Map – PCT #1
- San Diego Backcountry Map