Sprawled across the vast desert of Southern California lies the Anza Borrego sculptures, metal objects that stick out like a sore thumb along the road.
Fabulous hikes aside, many are drawn to the spectacular Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, two hours from downtown San Diego, to see 130 amazing full-sized metal sculptures that are inspired by creatures that roamed this same desert millions of years prior. The Anza Borrego sculptures vary from prehistoric dinosaurs such as the Tyrannosaurus Rex to modern-day animals like scorpions.
As you drive down the roads in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park you’ll see sculptures of wild horses in nearby fields, sabertooth tigers on the prowl, and desert tortoises slightly camouflaged by brush. So how did these magnificent yet strange pieces of art come to life and who designed them, you may be wondering.
The genius artist behind each of these sculptures is Ricardo Breceda, who brings to life his work by capturing each animal in motion. The late Dennis Avery, land owner of the Galleta Meadows Estates in Borrego Springs came up with the vision of adding ‘free standing art’ to his property with original steel welded sculptures created by ‘Perris Jurassic Park’ owner/artist/welder Ricardo Breceda of Perris, California. Thus came the creation of the metal sculptures sprawled across the desert.
Perhaps what is most curious about Brecada’s artwork is that he originally didn’t consider himself to be an artist. Brecada originally lived in Durango, Mexico and a series of twists and turns led to his true calling. One day he created a dinosaur statue for his daughter, and the rest is history. Now close to 130 of Breceda’s sculptures lie in the Anza Borrego desert and while he claims he is finished this may not be the case. Each time Brecada claims to be done another sculpture ends up popping up.
Lucky for us San Diegans and those visiting, taking in these Anza Borrego sculptures is as easy as a short car ride. Plan an entire day trip by visiting a few hikes in Anza Borrego such as the Borrego Palm Canyon Oasis and The Slot. On the way to The Slot, you will pass by many of the sculptures, allowing you plenty of photo opportunities.
To get to the Anza Borrego sculptures in Borrego springs form Los Angeles or San Diego you will proceed down S22 into the valley that houses Anza Borrego. From there, the sculptures are literally scattered over the next 10 square miles. Since there isn’t much else to see in the surrounding landscape, aside from barren desert, the sculptures are easy to view while you are driving. Some are right off the side of the road, while others are off in the distance. You can drive to almost all the sculptures, or there are dirt roads that lead to some of the sculptures. None of the dirt roads are too long, most less than a quarter mile.
Anza Borrego Sculptures Tips
Tip 1: These sculptures are out in the open, available for viewing twenty four hours a day, seven days a year.
Tip 2: A detailed map of the different sculptures is available by clicking here, or you may purchase a pocket guide from the Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association.
Tip 3: A car is required to see these sculptures as they are spread too far apart to walk to.
Tip 4: A majority of the sculptures are located north of Christmas Circle (the traffic circle in the center of Borrego Springs) between Bighorn Road and Henderson Canyon Road.
Tip 5: If you have any questions, the people at the local tourism bureau are very enthusiastic and eager to show you exactly where to go (although it is very easy to navigate).
Tip 6: Be wary when driving around Borrego Springs. There are some deep potholes and big rocks you may need to avoid. Keep your eyes peeled while also taking in the magnificent sculptures.
Address: 786 Palm Canyon Drive, Borrego Springs, CA 92004