Tamarask Grove Campground
Tamarisk Grove Campground is one of four developed campgrounds in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, with 27 sites, plenty of shade, amenities, and nearby hiking trails. Tamarisk Grove has interesting history too, originally serving as a San Diego County prison camp. Thanks to numerous park improvements, it won’t feel like you are doing hard time to spend a little time at Tamarisk Grove Campground.
Tamarisk Grove Campground is bordered by paved roads on two sides, so you will hear and see limited desert traffic while camping. The tall tamarisk trees, an unusual import from the Middle East, give the campground lots of shade. Additionally, each campsite has a picnic table covered by a shade ramada. To add to your comfort, there are charcoal grills, fire rings, and flat ground for a tent at each side. Sites can also accommodate trailers up to 21 feet in length.
Tamarisk Grove Campground has non-potable water and coin operated showers (along with flush toilets). Drinking water is available for purchase from a small store and visitor information area staffed by the campground hosts.
Tamarisk Grove Campground is a convenient base camp for casual hikers. Two nature trails, Yaqui Well Trail and Cactus Loop Trail, begin just across the road from the campground entrance. Kenyon Overlook Trail, which is just 2 miles away, makes a great end of day hike, when golden hues from the disappearing sun spread out across Mescal Bajada and light up Sunset Mountain. A Kumeyaay Indian Village Site is also just a few miles from the campground.
Tamarisk Grove Campground has 27 sites at $25 per night, reservations accepted (price as of 2018). If you are planning to camp at Tamarisk Grove Campground and find it full, two nearby primitive campgrounds serve as backup (and both are free). Yaqui Well Primitive Campground is the closest, located along a dirt road near Yaqui Well (at the end of Yaqui Well Trail. Yaqui Well Primitive Campground has vault toilets, but no other amenities. The other primitive Campground, Yaqui Pass Primitive Campground is located two miles up Yaqui Pass Road at the start of Kenyon Overlook Trail, and is nothing more than a large dirt parking area (no bathrooms) must suitable for RV campers.
To get to the campground: From Christmas Circle in Borrego Springs, drive 5 miles southwest on Borrego Springs Road. Turn right on Route S3 (Yaqui Pass Road) and drive 6.5 miles south on Yaqui Pass Road. The campground is located on the left (southeast) side of the road marked by a large sign (if you reach Route 78, you went about 0.4 of a mile too far).
Campground address: Yaqui Pass Road, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Julian, CA 92036
Campground coordinates: 33.138584, -116.375208 (33° 08′ 18.90″N 116° 22′ 30.74″W)