Burk's Bench

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A moderate hike with a point of difference and a place to sit and contemplate the natural beauty of Santa Rosa Mountains, Clark Dry Lake and the Borrego Badlands is “Burk’s Bench”. The view is a clear indication of how this landscape evolved and shows areas that have been uplifted more than 500,000 years ago. The eroded mountain sediments originally flowed down to the south until the area was uplifted and now flows north. The sediments contain fossils that include camels, horses, ground sloths and mammoths.

Atop a sandy knoll Burk’s bench displays a memorial plaque commemorating the 1974 gift of 1600 acres by Dana Burks who was a Palm Springs and Los Angeles real estate developer. He envisaged the potential of developing Borrego Valley. Following the Depression, and the slow economic growth, Burk lost interest in his dream and decided to donate the land to the state. It is a place to give thanks to those that provide a beautiful and dramatic landscape for generations to come and enjoy.

It is an easy drive from Highway S-22 turning south on Inspiration Wash, then hiking through an unnamed wash to the man-made memorial bench. A perfect backdrop with a spectacular viewpoint awaits.

Another option for this hike is to turn south off S-22 onto Fonts Wash, go 1.1 miles, and look for a 'Closed Area' sign along the west side of the wash. From there hike the wash west and take the right fork. Hiking length is 2-4 miles round trip depending on where you park.  Maps are available from the Visitors Center.

Enjoy! Nature planned it that way.

Dianne Owen

Photos complements of San Diego Reader