Anza, Juan Bautista de, 1735-88, Spanish explorer and official in the Southwest and the far West, reputed founder of San Francisco, b. Mexico. Accompanied by Father F. T. H. Garcés and a small expedition, he opened (1774) an overland road from Sonora through present-day Arizona to California, reaching San Gabriel and Monterey. Viceroy A. M. Bucareli, alarmed by the threatened encroachments of the Russians and the British on the Pacific coast, sent (1775) Anza on a new expedition to establish a colony. In 1776 he chose the site of San Francisco, where a presidio was founded by one of his lieutenants and a mission was founded by Father Francisco Palóu under the direction of Father Junípero Serra. Later, as governor of New Mexico (1777-88), Anza built up Spanish frontier defenses and established order. Journals of men on his California journey are in Anza's California Expeditions (ed. by H. E. Bolton, 5 vol., 1930, repr. 1966). For his diaries and a study of his administration, see A. B. Thomas, Forgotten Frontiers (1932, repr. 1969).

See F. Thurman, The Cahuillas and White Men of San Carlos and Coyote Canyon (1970).

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is a state protected land located in Southern California primarily within eastern San Diego County, with portions within Imperial and Riverside counties. At and one fifth of San Diego County within its borders, Anza-Borrego Desert is the largest state park in California and the second largest within the continental United States after Adirondack Park in New York. The park is two-hours away from the cities of San Diego, Riverside and Palm Springs. The park is named after Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza and the Spanish word borrego, or bighorn sheep.

The park includes 500 miles (804 km) of dirt roads, 12 wilderness areas and of hiking trails provide visitors with an opportunity to experience the wonders of the Colorado Desert. The park features washes, wildflowers, palm groves, cacti, ocotillo and sweeping vistas. Visitors may also have the chance to see greater roadrunner, golden eagles, kit foxes, mule deer and bighorn sheep as well as desert iguanas, chuckwallas and the red diamond rattlesnake. Listening devices for the hearing impaired are available in the visitor center.

Most visitors approach from the east via California Highways S22, S2, or 78. Visitors from San Diego via Highways 79 and 78 have the added pleasure of driving through the mountainous Cuyamaca Rancho State Park—quite a different experience from Anza-Borrego. The highways from the east climb to 2,400 feet (731 m) or so and then descend about 2,000 feet (609 m) to the valley. Where the highway breaks out of the high-country vegetation, it reveals the great bowl of the Anza-Borrego desert. The valley spreads below, and there are mountains all around. The highest are to the north—the Santa Rosa Mountains. The mountains are a wilderness, with no paved roads in or out or through. They have the only all-year-flowing watercourse in the park. They are the home of the peninsular bighorn sheep, often called the Desert Bighorn. Few park visitors ever see them; the sheep are justly wary. A patient few observers each year see and count them, to learn how this endangered species is coping with human encroachment.

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is one of 55 California State Parks with wi-fi access in one or more areas.

Footage shot in this area was used in the feature film Serenity (2005)

External links


  • Halford, Robin (2005). Hiking in Anza-Borrego Desert: Over 100 Half-Day Hikes (Anza Borrego Desert Natural History Association, Borrego Springs). ISBN 09180513X .
  • Lindsay, Diana (2001). Anza-Borrego A to Z: People, Places, and Things (Sunbelt Publications, San Diego). ISBN 0932653421.
  • Lindsay, Lowell and Lindsay, Diana (2006). The Anza-Borrego Desert Region: A Guide to the State Park and Adjacent Areas of the Western Colorado Desert. Fifth Edition (Wilderness Press, Berkeley). ISBN 0899974007.

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