You can see the evidence of a father’s love just outside Borrego Springs, California. Love looms large in the sands around this sleepy little town in the form of giant metal creatures.
A Mexican artist teamed up with an unlikely collector to create this massive tribute to his daughter. Talk about a unique and lasting gift.
We’ll take you on a trip to see what sparked this prehistoric playground.
About Borrego Springs, California
Borrego Springs is sandwiched between the Salton Sea and San Diego and surrounded by the Anza-Borrego State Park. With a population of just 3,400, Borrego Springs is an International Dark Sky Community at the westernmost edge of the Sonoran Desert.
The village is a tourist destination for more than one reason. Anza-Borrego State Park is the largest desert state park in the nation. It also boasts more golf courses per capita than just about anywhere.
Known as an aerobatic playground, pilots from around the region use the desert airspace for training and competition. Snowbirds are welcome to watch practices at the airport. Two major competitions take place each year organized by the local community.
Borrego Springs also appears in the Liam Neeson film Taken 3 and Dean Koontz’s Jane Hawk novels. But all of these pale in comparison to the desert behemoths on the Galleta Meadows Estate.
What Are These Beasts of Borrego Springs?
After seeing Jurassic Park III in 2001, artist Ricardo Breceda’s daughter Liliana asked for a dinosaur for Christmas. Instead of buying something from the local toy store, Breceda went a step further. Liliana got a 20-foot-tall, 45-foot-long T-rex under the tree.
Breceda eventually left his job selling cowboy boots but continued adding creatures to his metal zoo. In 2007, something happened that changed Breceda’s life forever.
Dennis Avery, the heir to the Avery Label fortune, stopped by Breceda’s studio and made him a proposition. Avery owned three-square miles of land outside Borrego Springs and had written a book about the prehistoric creatures in the area.
The two men looked at the book, and Avery asked if Breceda could make life-size versions for the town. Around a year later, the first of the Beasts of Borrego Springs rolled into town.
Over the five years of their partnership, Breceda installed 133 creatures on Avery’s desert land. Breceda started with the Plio-Pleistocene creatures and branched out to the dinosaurs he loved.
Avery wanted a giant scorpion in honor of the arachnids found in the area. The piece de resistance is quite impressive.
Stretching out over 130 feet and weaving in and out of the desert floor is a terrifying creature. Breceda imagined a beast with the head of a Chinese dragon and the tail of a rattlesnake. He more than delivered.
Does Borrego Springs Have Hot Springs?
Agua Caliente County Park, a short drive from Borrego Springs, is home to natural hot springs. The area is very popular with tourists during the winter months and features camping, hiking, and 102-degree pools.
The park features full hookups for RV campers and a caravan section for large groups. Three pools are available for adults and children over 14 years old to soak in. Stargazers will appreciate the Dark Sky designation for the clear sky viewing late into the night.
What Else is There To Do in Borrego Springs?
Borrego Springs has plenty to offer outside of the Beasts. Guided hikes into the desert landscape will get you out in nature.
Stargazing is unparalleled with big skies and dark nights. If you want to get out on your own, the hiking app AllTrails offers over 40 trails in the area to explore.
Pro Tip: Make sure to check out these Best State Parks in California on your adventure.
Best Hikes in Borrego Springs
Our favorite hikes in the area may be a challenge for some. Both are moderately difficult and will take a few hours to complete. If you want a more leisurely hike, we recommend walking around the Beasts. It’s one of the best manmade views around.
Created by floodwaters centuries ago, The Slot is a canyon trail that you shouldn’t miss. With 40-foot rock walls and amazing wildflower views, hikers love this trail.
The $10 entry fee is worth it. The path is a little short at 2.3 miles. Only a foot-wide throughout most of it, the slot canyon feels magical as the outside world disappears.
Borrego Palm Canyon
Home to the third-largest palm oasis in California, Borrego Palm Canyon is the most popular trail in the park. Gorgeous views of the palm oasis and waterfalls await you on this kid-friendly hike.
During wildflower season, don’t expect to get away from it all on this trail. But, you can take the long way around and explore the v-shaped gorge and see some mountain sheep.
Best Camping in Borrego Springs
Because the state park surrounds Borrego Springs, there’s no shortage of camping in the area. Check the Campendium and iOverlander apps for dispersed camping options if boondocking is your thing. But if you want to be close to the Beasts, these spots are in Borrego Springs proper.
The Springs at Borrego RV Resort
The Springs at Borrego RV Resort has consistently high ratings for cleanliness and maintenance. They have 163 RV sites with full hookups available year-round and a Good Sam rating of 10 for attention to detail.
Beyond the basics, there’s a nine-hole golf course on the grounds and numerous walking, hiking, and biking trails. A mineral soaking pool is also available to relieve your aching bones after a day of activities.
Resort hosts organize regular social events and encourage RVers to mingle. You can also get a massage and then enjoy the benefits of the Dark Sky community. You have never seen stars like this before.
Borrego Palm Canyon Campground
Borrego Palm Canyon Campground is more spartan but worth checking out. RVers report mostly level, well-spaced sites with full hookups.
The spectacular night skies eclipse the beautiful daytime views.
And the town is so close it’s an easy scooter or e-bike ride out to get whatever you need.
Borrego Palm Canyon Campground has 117 sites available. Near state park hikes and with trails around the campground, you’re sure to enjoy your stay.
Pro Tip: We put together The Ultimate Anza Borrego Camping Guide for your next adventure.
Are the Beasts of Borrego Springs Worth Visiting?
We certainly think the Beasts of Borrego Springs are worth a visit. If you’re just checking out the sculptures, you won’t be disappointed.
There’s a little something for everyone with hot springs, hiking, art, and stargazing. You’ll certainly find plenty to keep you occupied.
Have you visited the Beasts of Borrego Springs before? Tell us about your experience!
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