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Desert Discovery:
Anza-Borrego & Ocotillo Wells

10/21/2023 @8:45am

Spend the day exploring the North side of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park (California's largest state park) and the adjoining Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area. Traverse other-worldly terrains to stunning and curious locations like Inspiration Point, Shell Reef, the Badlands, and Pumpkin Patch (just in time for Halloween).

We scouted the trails following all the recent storms and built a ride with something for everyone who has an off-road ready SUV or truck. These two parks spread out with trails in all directions, providing lots of opportunities to have some challenging fun or avoid most (but maybe not all) obstacles and stick to the taking in the scenery. The day will begin in a 4x4 practice area so you can warm up or build your skills before heading out into deeper desert.

We'll take pauses along the way to take in the views, meet other drivers and riders, and have a long lunch. We'll also try and make it out to the visitor's center on the far side of Anza-Borrego.  Once the off-roading is done, we'll lead an on-road group out to the nearby town of Borrego Springs to take in the famous larger-than-life metal sculptures that dot the landscape.

Anza-Borrego has ample room for dispersed camping plus features vault toilets out in the wild, for those who may want to brave any wind and weather to spend the night under the stars.

We are managing our RSVPs on Meetup. Come on out! Read on for more info.



These two parks typically feature easy to traverse dirt roads with fun-but-avoidable challenges along the way. We've seen on the last few SCORCH rides how much the wet weather earlier this year has amped up the roughness of previously smooth trails up in the mountains.  This corner of the desert went through all of that plus had a tropical storm blow through in August. We scouted it out in September and managed to put together a ride that avoided the closed areas.  There were ruts and rocks here and there as well as significant patches of  soft sand but everything was passable. You can CLICK HERE to get a report on trail conditions then make sure to check back right here closer to the ride for our own trail report.

This means make sure you don't have street tires or bald tires, you do have tow points so we can yank you out if you get stuck, and you have some clearance to get over the rocks that may litter parts of the trail.  We will for sure cross a dry wash or two, and will also drive down a few. Some of those are wide enough for just one vehicle, others are wide enough to drive 20 vehicles side by side.  There were no unavoidable hard hill climbs but there are a few short easy/moderate ones.  There are plenty of chances to tackle some optional  harder stuff and we will stop the line from time to time to do just that. The 4x4 training area where we will start has all levels of challenges for you to practice your chops on first.

In case you are wondering, we will not be hitting Diablo Dropoff, Sandstone Canyon, the Mud Caves, Pinyon Mountain or any of the trails on the south side of the park (south of Route 78).  We are saving those for a Return to Anza-Borrego ride we are planning for a different time.


We are meeting at the Truckhaven 4x4 Training Area at 8:45 am to air down and be ready for an 9:00 am drivers meeting followed immediately by our departure. Please note that this location is off Highway S22 and you will need to off road for about a mile to get there.  Plan your arrival time accordingly.  We will post specific instructions on where to turn off the highway once we complete our scouting run earlier in the month, so check back here for updates before the ride.

The training area is fenced off.  There are two access gates on the north and south sides.  Newer drivers are invited to arrive as early at 8am to warm up on the practice obstacles.  SCORCH Founder Jonathan Z will be there in the SCORCH Wrangler to offer tips and encouragement.


We will aim to be wrapped up with the off-road portion by 4pm followed by an optional on-road trip to Borrego Springs.



Here are some recommended items to bring along.  We get a little kickback from Bezos if you buy any with our links.  You can also visit our store for more gear suggestions.

  • Lunch

  • VHF Radio ( good one / better one )

  • A Camp Chair for Chilling ( like this one )

  • Sunscreen (you can still burn in October)

  • Water

  • Layers (check the weather)




IMPORTANT: Check back here closer to the ride for a full trail report and also check back the day before the ride to make sure nothing major has changed.  The ride will be cancelled if flash flood warnings are in effect.


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The organizers of SCORCH meetups are not responsible for any damage done to your person or vehicle at the events, getting to the events, or after the events. We are a group of adults meeting up for an activity that takes a high degree of personal responsibility. All participants must do so at their own risk.


If you act like an asshat, douche, idiot, jerk, or in any way behave or operate your vehicle in a manner that is a risk or annoyance to others or does not respect the rules of the land we are on, you will be asked to leave the ride and be possibly ejected from SCORCH.






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