A month in Borrego Springs, CA

I'm already behind on keeping routes updated month to month, but I was in Borrego Springs, CA from Feb 1 to March 6th. Overall, Borrego Springs was a fantastic and very affordable place to stay, and I'd highly highly recommend a visit there. 

Why Borrego Springs? 

Way long ago, I was supposed to meet up for a few days of riding in paradise with the notorious JVB in February of 2019 after a work trip to LA... I think many of you know how that ended (not biking for a while...). I have long heard about the wonders of Borrego Spring and while in Sedona, Jamie and I planned to meet up in Borrego Springs. But then I realized why only a week or two in this alleged cycling paradise... why not a month... 

Good Morning Borrego Springs

Borrego Springs Overall 

  • Bring a road bike. Borrego Springs is road cycling heaven. Seriously, you don't realize how much low-grade anxiety you have from riding on the road next to cars until you ride for a month in a place like Borrego Springs. Endless mountain roads with clean, near-flawless pavements and nice shoulders and low traffic. 
  •  As a town, there is literally nothing in Borrego Springs. Well, like 2 restaurants, 1 grocery store, and some spas. To give a sense of how small, mail wasn't delivered to my condo; I had to pick up at the post office. It feels very safe and friendly though! 
  • The gravel options were non-ideal in Borrego Springs (sand) but in nearby Julian (45 minutes away), there were great options with some stiff climbing. 
  • February was pretty perfect temperature wise (70-80 F most days and cool enough to sleep at night), but the winds started to pick up towards March (up to 70 mph gusts, I kid not). I suspect Nov-Feb is the time of year to go. 
  •  Joshua Tree and San Diego are within 2 hour drives, so lots of cool destination places nearby for riding too. 
  • One of my favorite parts about staying in Borrego was my "star walk" every night. As a dark sky community, the night sky in Borrego Springs is unbelievable. It was a great way to end most nights to take a peaceful walk for 30 minutes around my neighborhood. 

Borrego, from Town

Honestly just start biking, even the out and backs are amazing. 

Montezuma is amazing. It's about a 3500 ft climb that starts in Borrego Springs (from Christmas Circle) and goes UP. You kind of bake in the canyon climb going up, but at the top you can sometimes see Bighorn sheep and some incredible views. Plus, the descent is magical. I tried to do this at least once a week, and I think it's a very popular weekly training ride for most locals. 

Borregos in Borrego Springs

A ~25 mileish loop starting in Borrego Springs again. You go over Yaqui pass (about 700 ft from town) which is a gentle climb that JVB everested during her visit (!). Yaqui has a cute descent on the backside, but then you have some not fantastic highway riding on 78 for 9ish miles. From there, it's a nice slow descent with (hopefully) a tailwind back to town (choose your winds correctly!!!). 

This is an almost no climbing  loop. You get to see a lot of the statues around Borrego - use this as a fun/recovery tour route. 

Way cooler in person, I promise

I mean, that should say it all. 

Sand trap 

I mean, this is really just me showing off. Not an easy day and try to not do on a weekend because of traffic. But Palomar is incredible and a delight to climb and descend. 

Joshua Tree 

This route is absolutely worth doing - you can start in Mecca at the Starbucks/Del Taco gas station plaza or at the start of box canyon (if you want to shave off a few miles). Box Canyon is a delight, with amazing scenery for 10 miles as you slowly climb out of the canyon. Then you hit Joshua Tree National Park, and it's ... well, it's a hot dry climb for a long time. If you do the direction I did, you end up on what seems like this endless false flat climb (ok there's like 2 descents in there, but really). 

There is one stop for water at the visitor center about half way through the park, but other than that, prepare for a very hot, very dry day. The ideal way to do this would be to have someone drop you off at Box Canyon and then bike to Twenty Nine Palms (what a name) on the other end for a pick up. 

Not as many Joshua Trees as you'd expect in Joshua Tree NP


Rich has the best routes for Julian - this one is a gravel+ type of route. Plenty of steep climbs and single track to keep things interesting. Not a lot of options for water/food, so come prepared and ready for a good challenge. 

Life is better with bikes and friends 

Another great one... more single track on this one but more opportunities for stops, and make sure you close out the day with Julian pie. 

Extra Borrego Routes from Alex!

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