There’s more to Southern California than the beautiful beaches and city life that occupy the coastline. Drive just a few hours east, and you enter beautiful deserts and mountain ranges that go relatively undiscovered by tourists. Among this beautiful desert land in southeastern California is Borrego Springs, a tiny desert town famous for its massive sculptures.
These sculptures are the perfect way to enjoy art in an outdoor environment, while exploring a new area of California. In this post, we explore more about Borrego Springs and its beautiful sculptures.
About Borrego Springs
Borrego Springs is a desert town located within Anza Borrego Desert State Park in Southern California. With a population of 3,429, this tiny California town has a few claims to fame that have been generating tourism in the industry. First, Borrego Springs is the first and only community in the state of California that is part of the International Dark Sky Community. Surreal stargazing, anyone?
More importantly, it is home to 130 stunning sculptures that depict various animals and creatures and are open to the public, free of charge. The sculptures are located sporadically throughout the town, and we highly recommend that anyone who is in the area stop by to check out these creatures that bring life into the town.
About The Sculptures
There are a total of 130 metal sculptures, and each represents the creatures that dwelled in this very same desert millions of years ago. The sculptures are made out of numerous pieces of metal that were sculpted together and placed on various plots of land in Borrego Springs.
Among the most popular of the sculptures is the serpent, a 350 foot long creature that weaves in and out of the ground and spans both sides of the road. The serpent was definitely our favorite sculpture, both due to its sheer size and the incredible detail in the metal work.
In addition to the serpent, there is also a scorpion, grasshopper, mammoths, camels, sloths, dinosaurs, horses, turtles, a massive bird, and more. Visitors are free to walk up and interact with each sculpture.
To get to Borrego Springs from Los Angeles or San Diego, you’ll need to head east into the desert. Follow the instructions from Google Maps or Waze to get you close. Once you’re close to town, take S-22/Montezuma Valley Rd all the way to the roundabout at the center of town, and then take the Borrego Springs Rd. exit on the right.
The sculptures are located along the roadside of Borrego Springs Rd., and most are no more than a couple hundred feet from the road. The sculptures can be seen while driving by, and paths to each sculpture are cleared so it’s easy for any vehicle to drive up to the sculptures.
To determine where a particular sculpture is located, use this link to the Borrego Springs Sculpture Map, or see below.
About the Artist
Each of the incredible metal sculptures was envisioned by one artist: Ricardo Breceda. Born in Mexico, Breceda has lived in California for the past 25 years. He created his very first sculpture, a dinosaur, at the request of his young daughter after watching Jurassic Park. Breceda is a textbook example of a self-taught artist, trading a pair of boots for his first welding machine.
The concept for the sculptures of Borrego Springs came about when Breceda met Dennis Avery, the owner of a large estate in Borrego Springs. Avery commissioned 130 sculptures from Breceda to span the property. The initiative has been incredibly successful from a tourism perspective, drawing thousands of visitors who wish to see the sculptures.
Planning Your Visit
The sculptures of Borrego Springs are open 24/7, 365 days a year. They sit off on the side of the road and aren’t protected by any fences or gates, so there is unrestricted access for visitors. That being said, you’ll obviously get the best view of these sculptures if you go during daylight hours.
Since Borrego Springs is located in the desert, it can be extremely hot during the summer months. This can be okay if you don’t plan to get out of your car much, but otherwise, plan to visit Borrego Springs during the Autumn, Winter, or Spring months. Those seasons will have cooler, more endurable weather, allowing you to walk around the sculptures and explore more.
If you are planning to spend the night in Borrego Springs, there are a few lodging options. Palm Canyon Hotel & RV Resort and Borrego Springs Resort are hotels that are closeby to the sculptures. There are also numerous Airbnb rentals available if you are looking for something more private and remote.
The Borrego Springs sculptures are an amazing way to experience the more rural areas of Southern California. Located in an international dark community, plan to spend the night if you want an incredible stargazing experience.
Borrego Springs is also a short drive from Salton Sea, the largest lake in the state of California. But this enormous lake has been all but deserted–read our blog post on visiting the Salton Sea to learn why.
You can also visit the small mountain town of Julian which is also nearby. Julian is famous for its apple pie and apple picking. It also has a charming downtown area where you can stroll around and grab a great bite to eat.
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