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Anza-Borrego's Font's Point Has Best View of Badlands

Q: What are badlands? A: “Wasteland” that has been eroded into unusual shapes by wind and water — originally from the French term les mauvaises terres. Our local version of this, the Borrego Badlands in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, consists of soft, waterborne sediments that have been deeply carved by water and wind over many thousands of years. Because the area’s clay soils are weak and plant life is sparse, flash floods and other erosive forces have shaped the landscape into a bewildering maze of sinuous channels, razorback ridges, and mud hills. At Font’s Point, you can stand on the edge of a receding (well, geologically speaking) cliff, and gaze across square miles’ worth of this fascinating landscape. Yes, you can drive to just shy of the point itself, and yes, a little additional travel on foot gives new and different perspectives.

To get to Font’s Point from Borrego Springs, follow Highway S-22 (Palm Canyon Drive, Pegleg Road, and Borrego Salton Seaway) generally east for about ten miles to Font’s Point Wash, at mile 29.3 according to the roadside mile markers. Turn right, following sandy tire tracks heading south up the wash. (The initial section may be plagued with patches of soft sand, and therefore unsuitable for conventional 2-wheel drive vehicles.) After 4.5 miles, you come to the outbound segment, on the left, of a one-way loop road. Take this left fork, and you’ll soon arrive at a parking area just short of the Font’s Point dropoff.

The interpretive panels at the point itself illuminate the geologic history of the badlands and identify geographical features near and far. Starting from the parking area, you can walk east alongside (but not on the very brink of) the cliffs for half a mile or more. Here and there along this viewful stretch, on the way over or back, you might walk (cautiously) over toward the cliff edge, where mile upon mile of convoluted landscape unfolds below. Up to about one hour after sunrise and one hour before sunset, the razorback ridges down below cast bold shadows across the honey-colored hills — perfect lighting for photography-minded visitors. Remember to approach the brink cautiously, especially if you have kids. In a couple of places, large blocks of the cliff face are beginning to cleave.

This article contains information about a publicly owned recreation or wilderness area. Trails and pathways are not necessarily marked. Conditions can change rapidly. Hikers should be properly equipped and have safety and navigational skills. The Reader and Jerry Schad assume no responsibility for any adverse experience.

FONT’S POINT
Anza-Borrego’s Font’s Point area has the best view of local “badlands.”
Distance from downtown San Diego: 106 miles
Hiking length: 1+ mile round trip
Difficulty: Easy

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Q: What are badlands? A: “Wasteland” that has been eroded into unusual shapes by wind and water — originally from the French term les mauvaises terres. Our local version of this, the Borrego Badlands in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, consists of soft, waterborne sediments that have been deeply carved by water and wind over many thousands of years. Because the area’s clay soils are weak and plant life is sparse, flash floods and other erosive forces have shaped the landscape into a bewildering maze of sinuous channels, razorback ridges, and mud hills. At Font’s Point, you can stand on the edge of a receding (well, geologically speaking) cliff, and gaze across square miles’ worth of this fascinating landscape. Yes, you can drive to just shy of the point itself, and yes, a little additional travel on foot gives new and different perspectives.

To get to Font’s Point from Borrego Springs, follow Highway S-22 (Palm Canyon Drive, Pegleg Road, and Borrego Salton Seaway) generally east for about ten miles to Font’s Point Wash, at mile 29.3 according to the roadside mile markers. Turn right, following sandy tire tracks heading south up the wash. (The initial section may be plagued with patches of soft sand, and therefore unsuitable for conventional 2-wheel drive vehicles.) After 4.5 miles, you come to the outbound segment, on the left, of a one-way loop road. Take this left fork, and you’ll soon arrive at a parking area just short of the Font’s Point dropoff.

The interpretive panels at the point itself illuminate the geologic history of the badlands and identify geographical features near and far. Starting from the parking area, you can walk east alongside (but not on the very brink of) the cliffs for half a mile or more. Here and there along this viewful stretch, on the way over or back, you might walk (cautiously) over toward the cliff edge, where mile upon mile of convoluted landscape unfolds below. Up to about one hour after sunrise and one hour before sunset, the razorback ridges down below cast bold shadows across the honey-colored hills — perfect lighting for photography-minded visitors. Remember to approach the brink cautiously, especially if you have kids. In a couple of places, large blocks of the cliff face are beginning to cleave.

This article contains information about a publicly owned recreation or wilderness area. Trails and pathways are not necessarily marked. Conditions can change rapidly. Hikers should be properly equipped and have safety and navigational skills. The Reader and Jerry Schad assume no responsibility for any adverse experience.

FONT’S POINT
Anza-Borrego’s Font’s Point area has the best view of local “badlands.”
Distance from downtown San Diego: 106 miles
Hiking length: 1+ mile round trip
Difficulty: Easy

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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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