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Anza-Borrego Slot Canyons, California

Most San Diegans have been to Anza-Borrego State Park, but I wonder how many have discovered the (self-declared) Slot Canyons.

When entering the park from the 8, take a left after the exit, go past the only two bars in town, and if this doesn't sound like a Mexican beer commercial yet, go through the few stop signs signifying a residential area and take a right after the "Canyon Sin Nombre" sign. You'll need a 4-wheel drive vehicle to get through down into the badlands area, with enough large rocks to keep the weak at heart out of there.

Proceed along the dirt road and park/camp wherever you want, for free, as long as you don't gather any wood and have a contained fire in a grill or other container. "Slot Canyon" is on the left about two miles down the road, with the best site for camping in the whole park.

You can pitch your tent right in the slot of the canyons and get enough shade to sleep comfortably the next morning...a serious treasure in the desert.

There are trails leading straight from this spot up into the canyons with some amazing views; they’re great both day and night (with a full moon or good headlamps). Just remember to keep your bearings, because it all looks the same once you’re off the trail.

The fire at night against the canyon walls is magical, with wildlife creeping all around. We saw a snake by day and a lot of foxes at night. While the joy of camping in the desert is being able to leave your food/kitchen stuff out without fear of bears, the foxes stole brie cheese right off our cooler – so watch out for those classy things!

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Most San Diegans have been to Anza-Borrego State Park, but I wonder how many have discovered the (self-declared) Slot Canyons.

When entering the park from the 8, take a left after the exit, go past the only two bars in town, and if this doesn't sound like a Mexican beer commercial yet, go through the few stop signs signifying a residential area and take a right after the "Canyon Sin Nombre" sign. You'll need a 4-wheel drive vehicle to get through down into the badlands area, with enough large rocks to keep the weak at heart out of there.

Proceed along the dirt road and park/camp wherever you want, for free, as long as you don't gather any wood and have a contained fire in a grill or other container. "Slot Canyon" is on the left about two miles down the road, with the best site for camping in the whole park.

You can pitch your tent right in the slot of the canyons and get enough shade to sleep comfortably the next morning...a serious treasure in the desert.

There are trails leading straight from this spot up into the canyons with some amazing views; they’re great both day and night (with a full moon or good headlamps). Just remember to keep your bearings, because it all looks the same once you’re off the trail.

The fire at night against the canyon walls is magical, with wildlife creeping all around. We saw a snake by day and a lot of foxes at night. While the joy of camping in the desert is being able to leave your food/kitchen stuff out without fear of bears, the foxes stole brie cheese right off our cooler – so watch out for those classy things!

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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