'TIS THE SEASON TO VISIT ANZA BORREGO DESERT STATE PARK

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By Miriam Raftery

January 9, 2014 (Anza Borrego) -- Late winter and early spring are the prime seasons to visit Anza-Borrego Desert State park, when the weather is mild enough for savoing outdoor hikes through rugged and  beautiful terrain.  There are also many activities coming up from hikes to cultural events -- and several organizations offering activities besides the Park itself.  

Winter is a good time to try and spot elusive and endangered Peninsular Bighorn Sheep and other wildlife.  Soon, spring blooms will cover the desert floor and mountain passes, adding brilliant splashes of color to the landscape.

Start by checking out activities listed at the Park website's activities section, for starters.  For example,  you can join a hike up Ghost Mountain on Saturday morning January 11 (free), or take a landscape photography class (pricey at $100). There's even a Junior Rangers class for kids.   There are birdwatching hikes on Sunday and later in the month, activities include a sunset/moonlight hike, treks with a geologist and an earthquake expert, campfire programs, stargazing, programs on wildlife and botany, and hikes for rugged outdoor enthusiasts. 

You can visit the main park website here for additional information about the park.

The Anza Borrego Foundation also has a wealth of information and activities on their website.  Right now, they're holding a photo contest through January 31 - so send in your best desert photos if you visit--and feel free to send us an entry for our "photo of the month" too!

The Anza Borrego Desert Natural History Foundation publishes updates on wildflower sightings, since the region is famed for its spring wildflowers -- but it helps to know where to look, since blooms occur at different times at various elevations. 

The Borrego Chamber of Commerce also lists a variety of civic activities in the Borrego Springs vicinity, including an upcoming film festival January 23-26.

Art lovers will also enjoy the whimsical sculptures of wildlife and prehistoric creatures by artist Ricardo Breceda, which are visible in the Borrego vicinity.