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Exploring Borrego Springs: A Dark Sky Village Adventure

Borrego Springs
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Exploring Borrego Springs: Dark Sky Village and Metal Art

I suggested to King yesterday morning that we take a road trip to Borrego Springs. As is his way, he didn’t respond, so I asked if he heard me. “I’m thinking,” was his reply.

Two minutes later he snapped the leash on Petra and asked her if she wanted to go for a ride. That is also his way. I think he does it to keep me guessing, however, after 48 years I no longer guess. I know.

Stargazing Wonders in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

There are a couple of things Borrego Springs are known for, the probably lesser-known one is Borrego Springs is a “dark sky” village.

The village is located in the middle of the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in southern California. The park has long been considered a premier site for stargazing. In 2009 the community achieved the International Dark Sky Community status and the village and park work together to protect the dark night skies over the desert.


Ricardo Breceda’s Metal Art – A Desert Sculpture Oasis

I can attest to that. King and I stayed at the Blair Valley Campground within the park several years ago during a lunar eclipse. It was spectacular… until what I am convinced was a vampire coyote chased me back into the trailer.

The second, and probably one of the better-known things that put Borrego Springs on the map is the metal artwork of Ricardo Breceda that dots the desert surrounding the village.

metal artwork
Ricardo Breceda
Anza-Borrego Desert

Breceda was a construction worker until a back injury forced him into early retirement. He took up making custom made boots and eventually traded a pair of boots for a welding torch. After watching Jurassic Park, Breceda started welding metal dinosaur replicas which he displayed on his property and in his store in Perris, California (called Perris Jurassic Park). This is where he met the late Dennis Avery (of the Avery office supply fame). Avery owned three miles of land right in middle of the desert near Borrego Springs. Avery (who passed away in 2012) wanted to create a free-standing art gallery for all to enjoy, and commissioned Breceda to make sculptures for his gallery. In addition to pre-historic and fantasy sculptures, Breceda also created a miner panning for gold, Native Americas, a stagecoach and more. All told there are more than 130 sculptures dotting the desert surrounding Borrego Springs.

Cuyamaca mountains and Julian

From our campground outside Lakeside, California, it’s about a two-hour trip through the Cuyamaca mountains and through the small town of Julian, famous for occasional snow and the Julian Pie Company to Borrego Springs.

It’s been a warm weekend so there was no snow (not a disappointment for us) but we have been there in the past when there was snow. And by “been there” I mean we have driven through it. Neither King nor I are much for shopping. The quaint little town boasts a number of shops and historic buildings, dating back to when gold was discovered near Julian in the 1870s. But as I said, we don’t like shopping, and we don’t like crowds.

Today we are vegging out in the trailer. King will be watching the Lions later this afternoon and I’ll be occasionally looking up from my book and yell, “Go Lions.

Life is good.

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