The Anza-Borrego Orienteering Festival is located in the middle of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, 11 miles southeast of Borrego Springs, California.
It is both spectaculary remote, yet accessible with two hours drive from San Diego, Los Angeles, and Palm Springs.
They say the hardest part about orienteering is getting to the start...
To reach the event arena, please follow these directions based on your origination:
From San Diego: Take Highway 78 through Julian and go 10.5 miles past the junction with S-3 (Yaqui Pass Road) and 1.5 miles past the junction of Highway 78 with Borrego Springs Road. Look for the brown Buttes Pass and Orienteering signs on the left.
From Borrego Springs: Take Borrego Springs Road 11 miles southeast to its intersection with Highway 78. Turn left and go 1.5 miles. Look for the brown Buttes Pass and Orienteering signs on the left.
From The Salton Sea: Take Highway 78 about 7 miles past Ocotillo Wells and look for the Buttes Pass and orienteering signs on the right.
Leaving Highway 78: When you see the orienteering sign at Buttes Pass Rd, you must quickly turn onto this small, sandy road. Yes, this is it! Follow this road for 1.0 mile to a signed Y junction, then turn right and proceed another 0.4 miles to the event HQ.
The coordinates are 33.173267, -116.206089.
About half of event attendees will chose to camp at the event HQ. This creates a fun, festive atmosphere throughout the weekend and is a great way to get to know your navigational peers.
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park allows free, unlimited, primitive camping.
Please note, "primitive" is a euphemism for zero infrastructure. Portable toilets will be available, but you must bring absolutely everything else. Critically, you must bring all your own water. Basic groceries are available in Borrego Springs, but experienced campers stock up closer to the coast.
Many participants will arrive from afar. Please consider the following airports when making arrangements:
San Diego (SAN): 2 hours. Easiest and most convenient. Multiple fun, mountainous routes available.
Palm Springs (PSP): 1.5 hours. Closest airport with flattest access. Non-stops to a surprising number of domestic destinations. Can be expensive and rental cars sell out.
Ontario (ONT): 2.5 hours. The budget choice, especially from Northern California. Be sure to check Southwest.
Other airports in Los Angeles (SNA, LAX, BUR) are viable, but would only make sense for international arrival or those integrating into longer itineraries.
The Salton Sea
Check out the surreal hydrological folly that fostered a 1950s resort culture that has since degraded markedly. Lots of migrating birds.
Sky Art Sculptures
Some guy didn't rehydrate properly and decided to build giant iconic metal "Sky Art" statues in the desert surround Borrego Springs. Self-guided and free.
Rent an ATV
Tired feet from all that orienteering? Head down the road and join the crowds roaring through the sand strapped to a powerful rental ATV.