THE ADVENTURERS GUIDE TO ALASKA

November 30th, 2016 by
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If you’re not one for stepping off the pavement after a long flight to Alaska and exploring nooks and crannies of endless wilderness, stop reading now.

If a trip to the last frontier is the last check box on your bucket list, the agency-booked option might be right for you. Book a tour bus, rail car or cruise ship and you get to lumber past the glacial rivers, towering peaks and dark forests that lie beyond.

But I’m here to tell you how to take on the Alaskan Wilderness without summoning a travel agency.

Unfortunately, no, this is not the most convenient way to explore. You will have sore muscles. You will have a few headaches. But on the other hand, you will leave with wanderlust for more. And you will get to stop and smell the Arctic roses.

Step 1: Find a car

Once you land in Anchorage, renting or—if you’re lucky—borrowing a car is your first step to freedom in Alaska. You can go for a bike touring option, but you might regret it when you realize everything of interest comes in 50-mile increments. With the varying climate, your vehicle will allow you to chase some better weather if your current location isn’t favorable.

Step 2: Hit the trails

The greatest tragedy in Alaskan tourism today is that the charters that many book pass by hundreds of the most breathtaking hiking trails on Earth. With your handy-dandy car, you can explore the trailheads that look interesting to you. The Matanuska Valley often gets overlooked due to its residential feel. Don’t be fooled. The towering mountains and glacial river valleys that make its borders are host to endless adventure opportunities and life-changing scenery. An extra bonus: Most fees in Alaska’s recreational areas are less than $10.

Step 3: Get on the water

Alaska has about 3,197 lakes (that’s named lakes of which there are over 3 million unnamed lakes!), 9,728 named rivers and 6,640 miles of marine coastline. Getting in some kind of boat, at least once, is a must. Whether it’s kayaking Eklutna Lake’s powder-blue waters, rafting the Nenana River or meandering around glacial fjords watching for whales, there’s no better way to appreciate Alaska than on its water. I’d recommend visiting Homer, Seward and Whittier ports for viewing both wildlife and glaciers.

Step 4: Take to the air

If you’ve never seen a braided river from above, traced a mountain ridgeline through the window of a de Havilland Otter or touched down on the uppermost part of a glacier—book a flight. This experience will change the way you view wilderness, beauty and our planet. Talkeetna, an artsy town on the Susitna River, offers several flightseeing tour options through their commercial airport. If the skies are nice and you’re in the area, spend the cash. It may be the biggest splurge you make all year.

Only have time for a few stops? Here are my top 5 places to wander:

  1. Upper and Lower Reed Lake in Hatcher Pass
  2. Flat Top Mountain near Anchorage
  3. Alyeska Peak near Girdwood
  4. Portage Pass Trail near Whittier
  5. Chugach State Park near Eagle River

– Munk Pack Explorer, @luke_hyce

5 TIPS FOR THROWING AN OUTDOOR ADVENTURE WEDDING

October 12th, 2016 by
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Hey, there! I’m Gretchen Powers (@gpowersfilm) and I’m a wedding photographer and content creator for outdoor brands. I always have a half-packed suitcase at the foot of my bed, more outdoor gear than “nice clothes” and my dog likes Munk Pack snacks as much as I do.  With the busiest part of the wedding season behind us, it’s time for those with 2017 wedding dates to start planning. If you are looking to plan the most memorable, beautiful, exciting outdoor adventure wedding, keep scrolling to read a few of my tips. Trust me, I’ve seen my fair share.

Tip 1: Venue

If you are going to get hitched somewhere off the beaten path, I would recommend picking a spot you have visited before, somewhere perhaps that holds a special meaning to you and your partner. Somewhere that you can honestly tell your family and friends, “I can’t wait to share this place with you!” This helps with keeping in mind the potentially difficult details of the location – cell service, parking, etc. If the vista is inaccessible by those who for whatever reason cannot access, you can always play by the “elope now party later” trend that is popping up more and more. Get married on the mountain top and then host a large scale reception later in the day or later in the weekend. Perhaps you re-state your vows or have a few people read poems to ensure everyone feels included in your big moment.

Tip 2. Weather

Once you have picked your venue, make sure you have a weather plan in place. This can mean an alternative spot in the area or come prepared with umbrellas and lots of dry socks. Leading up to your special day, make sure to check the weather regularly. While I personally love photographing in the rain, snow or fog, your family and friends may not think as kindly upon you if you are ill prepared.

Tip 3.  Attire

If you are going to get married on a mountainside, in a riverbed, or somewhere in between, it’s always a good idea to plan on appropriate attire and footwear – whether that is some leather flats, dressy sandals, rain boots or bare feet – guys this applies to you – slippery dress shoes are not fond of scaling mountains or hopping across wet rocks.  Ladies – chances are great (like 97% great) that your white dress (if you wear white) will get dirty.  If you accept that as part of the process from the beginning I guarantee you will have a better, more relaxed day.

Tip 4. Photography

The single most asked question I’ve heard this summer is, “if you like shooting for outdoor brands so much, how can you stand shooting weddings!?”  My response to this is twofold. First, I am lucky enough to have awesome clients who love being outside and are usually up for just about any photo opportunity I suggest; even if it means hiking up a mountainside or over some slippery rocks.  I’m still in my element – I’m just shooting humans in love who are in pretty clothes as opposed to backpacks, jackets and Munk Packs. Second, I approach each wedding day with the same mentality that I do a commercial shoot – enjoy it as much as if I were outside enjoying the day on my own terms.  I shoot with a mix of photojournalist documentary style and often prompt couples to do or say something to each other in order to create some of the fun candid moments everyone loves. My advice to you if you are planning an adventurous wedding, is to hire a photographer who has experience in shooting all of the elements, isn’t afraid of snakes or spiders, has great balance and a phenomenal sense of adventure.

If you are reading this on Munk Pack’s blog, you might be wondering what the heck any of this has to do with their Oatmeal Fruit Squeezes. Well, after bringing a box of my Munk Packs to a few recent weddings I can tell you that Munk Pack is, without a doubt, one of the best wedding-day snacks around.  On a day when many couples forget to eat, or are too stressed to, Munk Pack’s snacks are easy to eat, have a low chance of mess on fancy clothes and are packable – chocolate chips and granola bar crumbs are the worst to try and get out of a lacy dress (trust me, I know).

CLIMBING 101 WITH TAMMY WILSON

October 3rd, 2016 by
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You’ve seen the Instagram pictures of all of the rad climbers and you’re inspired to try it yourself. Do you want to start climbing, but don’t know where to start? Maybe you don’t have the right gear or friends to climb with. I’d love to teach you how to get started because it changed my life! – Munk Pack Athlete @tammyfaye

Find a Climbing Gym.  

Most places, from major cities to small town USA have climbing gyms. This is an amazing place to begin learning how to climb. Somebody will literally show you the ropes. I’d recommend looking up the closest gym to you, and get after it!

First time? Not a problem!

All gyms offer day passes and rentals, from shoes to harnesses, chalk, and everything else you will need. Once you get to the gym make sure to tell the climbers working at the front desk that it’s your first time learning how to climb. They can suggest classes for you to take and help you get the gear you’ll need. So now you’ve tried it and you love it. It’s time to sign up for a membership and eventually get around to buying your own gear.

Classes are great tools!

They can give you the knowledge to feel more confident on the rock, and help with the basics of climbing. It’s also an easy way to meet people who you can start climbing with because climbing is naturally a social sport.

Now get outside!

Once you get more comfortable climbing in a gym and you have your own gear, you can start to transition to the world of outdoor climbing. It’s a wonderful community and also an awesome workout while hanging out with your friends. Combine some rocks, the right gear, safety knowledge, Munk Pack snacks and friends and it’s hard to go wrong.

TRAIL RUNNING 101

August 23rd, 2016 by
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Take a deep breath. Breathe in through your nose and down to your diaphragm, filling your lungs with air. Then slowly let out your breath through your mouth while closing your eyes and contemplating your favorite outdoor memory. Think about the way the sun felt on your skin, the smell of the air; fresh and free. The feeling of being connected to the earth with a weightless body. Really though, take just a minute to contemplate or meditate on these thoughts.

*   *   *   *   *

Trail Running is what dreams are made of….right?

Okay, that page break definitely assured that you did the above exercise and you can now continue reading, right? If you’re like me you pictured a warm summer morning with an orange sun rising over the Rocky Mountain peaks. I see mountain goats picking their way over a rocky ledge while the swift sound of my breath is juxtaposed with the slower cadence of my stride on a trail 11,000 feet up. This is when time is forgotten and the concerns and uncertainties of life disappear. THIS is what my dreams are made of.

Many people have activities that provide the same therapeutic rejuvenation from the hustle and bustle of life. For me, that activity is trail running. It’s what tugs me out of bed at 4am. If you’ve never experienced the thrill and tranquility of trail running, let’s chat for a few minutes. Even if you have, read along and see if your experience is similar to mine.

Why would you want to trail run?

In my opinion the better question is, “Why would you ever NOT want to trail run?” I have always been a lover of the outdoors and I spent summers tanning my skin under the blistering Sacramento Valley sun. I explored the foothills of the Sierra Nevada range on foot, mountain bike and canoe. I ran my first 5k with my mom in fifth-grade, beating her by only a couple of minutes. To this day, I’m not sure if I actually beat her or if she let me beat her. Either way, it was good for my juvenile heart.

Years later, after moving to Salt Lake City, my love of hiking began to conflict with my school schedule. It was hard to fit a hike in between classes. I began to run the downhill sections of the trails so I could cover more ground and still get outdoors. It just seemed natural. I would hike the uphills, then bomb the downhills in hiking shoes, hiking shorts and a daypack. Before long I traded out my hiking attire for running attire and have yet to look back. Whatever your reason for considering trail running is, you should do it.

Take the plunge!

Like yoga, a spiritual practice, you know that it takes patience to become good. The more often you are able to push yourself physically while trail running, the more likely you will find that feeling of vibrance and alertness in the same moment.

It’s never too late to start

No matter your stage of life you can start running. Maybe you’ve never run a step in your life. Start slow hiking the trails nearest your home. Maybe you’re a seasoned road runner or even a marathoner who has never dabbled in trail running. Try the trail! It will bring a new point of view to your life. If you do it often, eventually you will look back and see how every run has become connected in a chain of runs to bring a bit more peace and joy to your life.

Now think back to those first few moments of meditation at the beginning of this post. How did you feel? Peaceful and full of life? Trail running is all about the culmination of those feelings with tired legs and worn out lungs. Finding the flow where calmness and mindfulness meet doesn’t happen every run for me, but the more I run, the more I reach this place. My body moves freely and quickly, almost as though I am floating over the trail. It’s that feeling where you can sense everything, yet feel nothing. This flow is achieved through the combination of the peacefulness of the outdoors, the physical exertion of exercise and the pattern of getting out there. Moments like this are a large part of why I trail run.

– Munk Pack Explorer, @landonfaulkner_

HOW TO SURVIVE (AND ENJOY) A TRIP TO THE WAVE

July 5th, 2016 by
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You’ve probably seen beautiful photos of the geological formation in Arizona known as The Wave, but what you may not know is that since it’s such a fragile area, few people are granted access to visit. That being said, hiking out to The Wave is no walk in the park. If you’re one of the lucky ones who snag one of the few available permits, here are 8 tips to help you survive your special day in the Arizona desert from our ambassadors, @brod_trip.

1. Don’t Lose Your Map

When you win the permit lottery, you’re given a map. It’s vague, only providing 6 photos and descriptions as to how to make the three mile trek to the site. Since GPS isn’t reliable, there’s no cell service, and footprints could lead you off a cliff, this map is your saving grace. Hang on to it for dear life.

2. Pack Plenty of Food and Water

The desert is hot and 6 miles (round trip) is a long way. Don’t be afraid to pack at least a gallon of water and a ton of snacks. The Bro’d Trip is partial to Munk Pack’s Apple Quinoa Cinnamon and Peach Chia Vanilla Oatmeal Fruit Squeeze snacks.

3. Be Observant

The way you get to The Wave is the way you return, and everything in the desert looks exactly the same. Take notice of important landmarks to make your hike back as seamless as possible.

4. Go Early and Stay Late

Frankly, this could be a once in a lifetime opportunity! Get the most time at The Wave as possible. Pro-tip for fellow photogs: mid-day is the best time to get photos without any shadows.

5. Dress Appropriately

The desert has a bad temper. It goes from hot to cold in a matter of hours. If you plan on staying later into the day, bring clothes for colder temperatures.

6. Overpack

If you get lost out there, it takes at least 24 hours for the Bureau of Land Management to get out there to find you. It’s better to bring too much than to not have enough.

7. Pay Attention to Your Surroundings

In addition to your typical desert wildlife, weather can be a serious factor. If it’s the rainy season, pay attention to those rain clouds. Part of the hike involves trekking through a wash. If it rains enough, you could fall victim to a flash flood. Stay on your toes!

8. Enjoy It!

As long as you follow these tips and stay alert, you’ll be just fine. Get out there and enjoy The Wave in all its glory. After all, you’ re one of few that get to see it firsthand!

If you can’t make it to The Wave, we’ve got you covered. Here’s what a day at The Wave looks like!

 

 

 

GUIDE TO: MOUNTAIN BIKING IN CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARK

June 20th, 2016 by
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Do you want to do a 100 mile, four day mountain bike trip through some of the most beautiful canyon country in existence? If you answered yes, then a trip on the White Rim Trail in Canyonlands National Park in Utah is an adventure that you should seriously consider. The White Rim is a 4WD (four-wheel drive) road that offers fun riding for all skill levels and endless views of a dramatic, weathered, desert landscape. There are a handful of designated campsites along the trail that offer solitude and the luxury of pit toilets. Executing a trip like this may seem daunting, but with a little planning and foresight you can experience the glory of the White Rim with relative ease. Here are some essential tips for a successful trip. – @benjamin_kraushaar

Permits: Many guiding companies offer fully catered White Rim expeditions. If you can afford to hire a guide service, for nearly $1,000 you can do the White Rim without personally obtaining permits and gear. A much cheaper alternative is to plan the trip without hiring a guide service. The first step in this process is obtaining a permit. There is heavy competition for permits, and securing the dates you want requires obtaining them approximately 14 weeks in advance. If you plan early, you can easily put together a wonderful trip. Click here to access the permitting system and get a head start.

Time of Year: Plan a trip for spring or fall. Doing the White Rim mid-summer would be miserably hot. I have done the White Rim seven times but have always avoided the hottest time of the year.

Vehicle: Ok, so you have a permit! Nice work. Now you must start planning for the trip. The next step is to find a friend with a 4WD vehicle who is willing to drive. Overall the White Rim is relatively mellow but there are a few sections that require 4WD and high clearance. A small truck works great for carrying gear, water and food.

Bikes: Really any mountain bike should be fine for the White Rim as long as it’€™s in fine working order.  Full suspension rides are by no means essential for the trail but do offer some nice relief after a long day in the saddle.

Clothing: €“ Be prepared for all kinds of weather.  Although rare, heavy rain storms in the desert can make for a wet and cold experience for the ill-prepared. Be ready to ride in 100 degree heat or near freezing rain.  The weather is generally amazing in the spring or fall, but it can also be hazardous.

Water/Food: €“ Having enough water (about 1 gallon per person per day) is one of the most important considerations for the trip. There are no water sources along the trail, so you must bring all your own water. Dehydration is the desert can be seriously dangerous.  When riding all day, it is also important to stay properly fueled.  A Munk Pack offers a great mid-ride boost!

Have Fun: The most important tip I can offer is to have as much fun as possible. Bring some camp games (bocce ball is my favorite) and a cooler full of cold beverages. Along the trail there are a number of great side hikes as well as a very beautiful slot canyon to explore.  Just make sure that you leave no trace, do not disturb any cryptobiotic soil and obey park rules and regulations.  We want to ensure that the White Rim remains pristine for people to enjoy for a long time.

HOW TO PACK FOR A SEA KAYAKING EXPEDITION

June 2nd, 2016 by
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Sea kayaking can be a lot of fun, but making sure you bring the right materials is key to having an enjoyable and safe trip. Our Athlete + Explorer, @bentommat, shares his experience so you can start planning yours now.

We traveled west from Wyoming in our mom van and headed toward the coast. Onward, to the Great Pacific Northwest region of our country. We had plans to do some backpacking in Olympic National Park and sea kayaking around the San Juan Islands.

If you have plans to go on an overnight sea kayaking expedition, plan on packing (almost) as light as you would if you were going on a backpacking trip. With sea kayaking, you don’t have to carry all of your gear on your back, but you do have to make it fit in your boat.

One of the first things to note when packing for a kayaking trip, is that you will need dry bags to put all of your stuff in. That way if you tip your boat or the water is rough and choppy, your stuff will remain dry and safe, which is a must when camping in the PNW, especially in March. When I packed my stuff I put all of my clothes, sleeping bag, and sleeping pad in one dry bag and compressed it down, so that it would easily fit in the gear hatch of my boat.

Be sure to pack all of the essentials that you would bring on a backpacking trip like, a tent, sleeping bag/pad, cook stove, Munk Pack snacks, etc. However, since you are in a large sea kayak, you will have extra room for some things and you will also need extra things that are specific to kayaking. For instance, you’ll need a spray skirt to keep the water out of the inside of your boat, an extra paddle in the off chance that you end up losing yours, a life jacket for obvious reasons, and extra beer, of course!

If you plan accordingly and pack accordingly, you’ll have a great trip on and off the water!

 

5 TIPS AND TRICKS FOR BEGINNER CLIMBERS

May 26th, 2016 by
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If you’re a beginner climber, we know it could be overwhelming trying to figure everything out on your own.  We’ve asked Munk Pack Ambassador, @sav.cummins, to share her top 5 tips and tricks to make sure you get you started on the right foot. 

I moved out West from Ohio to a place that had a cliff 5 minutes from where I was working and living. Climbing was the convenient thing to do during down time and I quickly fell in love with it! The company I was working for had all the equipment we needed, I never had to think about what to bring, similar to a gym setting where you can rent almost all the gear you need. Here are a few things I wish I would have taken the time to learn about when I started climbing.

1. Lay out all your gear and make sure you’ve got everything you need. There’s nothing worse than showing up to the crag only to realize you forgot your climbing shoes. My must-haves for a day of climbing include: harness, climbing shoes, chalk, tape, rope, protection (quick draws or traditional gear), helmet, personal anchor, and a belay device.
2. Food and water. Your body needs fuel, just like your car, and the harder and longer you go the more fuel you need to perform. Plan accordingly for the day, if you plan to be out for the entire day make sure you’ve got enough calories and water to power you through. Munk Pack’s Oatmeal Fruit Squeezes are great, light snacks to bring that are easy to digest and wont weigh you down in between climbs!
3. Warming up allows for you to climb longer and harder. Although each person needs something different to feel properly warmed up, it’s important to activate your core muscles, fingers, and shoulders before you try anything at or near your limit. Some simple arm swings, finger flicks, planks, and hanging on the starting holds of your route are a great way to begin your warm up.
4. You can’t be too safe in the vertical world! Check and re-check your knots, lockers, harness and partner. A simple mistake can be costly and taking the time to check yourself, your gear, and partner takes a matter of seconds #worthit!
5. Take the time to enjoy your surroundings. It’s not all about high performance and big numbers, it’s the experience that matters and climbing will always take you to beautiful places!

TIPS & TRICKS FOR MUNK PACK-FUELED ADVENTURES

March 10th, 2016 by
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When you’re on the go our Oatmeal Fruit Squeezes are ready to eat right out of the pouch, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative with them! Our ambassador Matt, aka @mattnovak, shares his favorite tips for enjoying Munk Pack wherever your adventure takes you.

I recently got to spend a few weeks hitting the trail and sending routes while fueling up with Munk Pack. This could not have come at a better time for me as I recently made some significant changes in my diet to not only cure some health issues, but to start to achieving what I think is closer to peak performance. And that, is exactly where Munk Pack filled in all the gaps for me. Having said all of that, I’ve developed a list of tips & tricks for Munk Pack users both on and off the trail.

Trail:

1. Are you snowshoeing? I’m going to take a guess and assume you don’t like frozen oatmeal and icy fruit bits yeah? Plan ahead and stick one of the Munk Packs in your breast pocket of your jacket. They’re small enough to not get in the way and your body heat keeps it at a non-freezing temp.

This works in reverse as well: If you’ve settled down for a mid-trail rest and you’ve got a cool brook nearby, chill your Munk Pack slightly in the water before eating.

2. Add on calories. One of the reasons I enjoy winter camping is because I can toss some grass-fed butter or cheese in my bag-top and it keeps. This comes in handy at bedtime if you want to fat-load before bed to keep away the chill. But really, unless you’re making bulletproof coffee on your jetboil you’d better get used to chipping off frozen chunks of butter for a midnight snack. I would take my jetboil pot immediately after boiling water, throw in a tablespoon of butter, and then squeeze my whole Munk Pack in there and mix it in. I found that the Apple cinnamon flavor lends itself best to this. Reminds me a lot of apple pie. And, with that one simple trick you’ve warmed your oatmeal and double the calories of your pre-sleeping bag meal.

3. Designate a small string for caps. For some reason I found it really easy to fold up and throw out the pouches but my caps always managed to end up all over the place. We’re all doing what we do largely because we love the outdoors the way they are right? So I try to keep them that way. When backpacking I kept a small string tied to the side of my pack I could easily thread the caps onto. By the end of the trip, I had a sweet rhythmic rattle to keep pace to, and I knew none of my caps would end up in lakes, rivers or streams.

Off-Trail

1. If you’re home, fancy it up! There’s something about putting something into a dish that makes it all the better. If you’re not in a rush try squeezing a pack into a bowl before you sit down. Better yet, make it part of your breakfast meal if you have time. My favorite? Blueberry Acai on top of grass-fed yogurt with some tasty add-ons.

2. Pre-workout. Enough Said.

3. Share at home. I’ve always found that no one wants to try something new in the middle of a 10 mile grind, and at that point just about anything tastes good right?. Share Munk Packs with your friends at home or right when you hit the trail so they can experience the great taste and the energy boost. Then next time they’ll be on the hook to get a couple packs for you!

A GUIDE TO: ANZA BORREGO STATE PARK

February 15th, 2016 by
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Fresh Off the Grid spent a week in early February hanging out in Anza Borrego State Park. With its mild winter climate, Anza Borrego is a popular retreat for snowbirds, long term travelers, and anyone looking to escape the cold. As California’s largest state park, there are plenty of outdoor activities and natural attractions to check out. So many, in fact, you might find it hard to leave.


When to visit:

The best time to visit Anza Borrego, and really anywhere in the Southern California desert, is during the winter and early spring. In the town of Borrego Springs (which is surrounded by the state park), the average daytime high between the months of December and March is 72 F degrees, with the average nighttime low being 45 F degrees.

The warm weather attracts travelers from all over, and you’ll see plenty of RVs, Sprinter vans, and Westfalias with license plates from Oregon, Washington, and Canada. While it’s strange that most people are from out-of-state, the upswing is that everybody tends to be very happy and agreeable. And why wouldn’t they be? They’re all on vacation.

Where to Camp:

Free Dispersed Camping 
One of the big perks of desert camping is the abundance of free camping options. For example, you are allowed to camp anywhere in Anza Borrego for free under the following conditions:

  • Car must be parked no more than one car length off the road, though you may walk in further to set up your site.
  • Set up your camp at least 100 yards from any water source.
  • No ground fires are permitted – you’ll need to bring a metal container with you and then pack the ashes out.
  • Pack in your own firewood. Because the desert is a sparse and fragile ecosystem, collecting twigs and branches is not permitted.
  • Brush up on Leave No Trace Principals and be sure to follow them while camping in the Anza Borrego backcountry.

Read more about dispersed camping in Anza Borrego here. 

Free Car Camping 
In addition to dispersed camping, there are a variety of free dry camping areas that are popular with the RVers and vanlifers. These areas can be easily accessed with two-wheel drive vehicles, but offer zero amenities. Drinking water must be packed in and any waste must be packed out (hence the term dry camping). If you’re interested in seeing some cool adventuremobiles, it’s definitely worth checking a few of these spots out. 

Check out these free sites on Campendium: Dry Rockhouse, Pegleg, and Clark Dry Lake (we particularly enjoyed Rockhouse, which was our home for the week and offered beautiful views of both the mountains and desert).

Camping at Borrego Palm Canyon Campground
This is a full service campground with fire rings, picnic tables, shade awnings, and hook-up sites. If you’re looking for the traditional car camping vibe, then this is your spot. It has well-kept bathrooms, token-operated showers, and firewood for sale on site. It also serves as the starting point for a variety of hiking trails, including the trail to the Palm Canyon Oasis (See below).

Make a reservation here on reserveamerica.com

What to See:

The Slot
Short but sweet. While this narrow siltstone canyon is only 0.8 miles long, it is one of the most epic hiking experience in Anza Borrego. Locally known as “The Slot”, this water carved trench grows progressively taller and narrower the deeper you progress, forcing hikers to squeeze through in some spots.

Find directions to the trailhead as well as a full trail description on HikeSpeak. 

Palm Canyon Oasis
Behind Borrego Palm Canyon Campground is the entrance to Palm Canyon. Follow the gradually ascending 3 mile trail and you’ll arrive at spring-fed oasis. Relax in the shade of giant fan palms and dip your feet in the cooling waters. A park ranger fondly referred to the oasis as “The Promised Land” and shared that every year around Easter weekend, the bighorn sheep in the area come down to the waters with their young, giving you an opportunity to catch a glimpse of this otherwise elusive animal.

Modern Hiker has a fantastic write up of this trail here. 

Seasonal Wildflowers
If there was enough rain during the winter, then you might catch the bloom of desert wildflowers. Typically wildflowers bloom between February and April (call the Wildflower Hotline at 619-767-4684 to get up to date info for this year’s blooms), with early March typically being the peak.  

Iron Sculptures of Ricardo Breceda  
In additions to natural attractions, Borrego Springs is also home to a collection of magnificent metal sculptures by Ricardo Breceda. There are 130 larger-than-life statues spread all across town, inspired by the animals that roamed this section of desert millions of years ago. Dinosaurs, woolly mammoths, saber toothed cats, and wild broncos are just a few of the many iron figures that can be found here. Pick up a map from the park’s visitor center and find yourself in an area-wide scavenger hunt!

Christmas Circle
In the center of Borrego Springs, there is a large traffic circle with a park in the middle. In addition to public restrooms and water fountains, the park also offers free electrical jacks at the base of nearly every tree as well as free WiFi. For long term travelers this park serves as a modern oasis. Disclosure: This article was written underneath a palm tree in Christmas Circle Park.

So if the winter weather is getting you down, then come spend some time in Anza Borrego. But be warned, you might find things so agreeable that you never leave. As one resident exclaimed to us while waiting in line at the grocery store: “This is Borrego. Nobody’s in a rush to go anywhere!”