San Diego County, as a whole, has many stunning spots to watch the sun rise, and sun set. In my personal opinion, many of the best spots to watch the sun set are along the Pacific Ocean (such as Broken Hill at Torrey Pines State Reserve). Out of all of these locations, however, the most distinctive to watch both the sun set and sun rise is unquestionably Font’s Point, in the middle of Anza-Borrego State Park. The spot is named for Pedro Font, who was a Franciscan priest who traveled through the area on the Anza Expedition of 1775, and was the first European to write in detail about the Anza-Borrego Desert. At 1,253 feet of elevation, Font’s Point towers over the whole of the Anza-Borrego Desert, and is visible from a majority of locations in Anza-Borrego State Park.
What the point overlooks is what is known to some as “California’s Grand Canyon”, and to most as the Borrego Badlands - an area that was once underneath the Gulf of California, and has now become an area of distinctive eroded sedimentary rock. Irrespective of whether one visits Font’s Point for the geologic history, the human history, or simply for the views, the location never fails to impress.
Directions: Even though Font’s Point is located near the center of the Anza-Borrego State Park, it is a location that is somewhat difficult and remote to arrive at. The nearest town is Borrego Springs, and the nearest major destinations are either San Diego (some 90 miles) or Palm Springs to the North. From Borrego Springs, the best way to visit Font’s Point is to follow the S-22 ten miles east to Font’s Point Wash (well marked by the State Park) and just past miles marker 29 on the highway. Once at the wash, visitors will need to make an informed decision as to how they want to proceed the final four and a half (4.5) miles to the point, as the road is unpaved and requires off-road driving through soft sand.
While this stretch from the road to the point is not decidedly impassable to standard drive cars, and while 4WD/AWD is not a requirement to get to Font’s Point, as the main obstacle is soft sand, visitors should make this decision after careful consideration if they do not have the requisite 4WD/AWD ability. While many standard transmission cars might be able to make the drive to the point, visitors should realize that this is a remote area with little to no cellular coverage where the daily temperatures (especially in the summer) regularly exceed 100 degrees. If one does not feel they have a car that can make the drive, or is concerned about the warnings thereof, this is a nine mile mostly flat in-and-out walk that one should have plenty of water for. For those wanting to make the drive, 4WD will ensure that the 4.5 miles pass quickly, without fear of anything along the way. Also, visitors should take proper precautions not to attempt this route either before, or during a thunderstorm in the desert due to the risk of flash floods.
After the off-road traverse, visitors will find themselves at the point, which is surrounded by interpretive panels, and great three hundred and sixty degree views. Although most visitors elect to stay on the ridgelines, intrepid hikers can descend further into the badlands on foot trails, as long as they are willing to exercise extreme caution. Once one is done with the views, the return to the main road (S-22) is back along the track one entered.
Tips: As one can see from the photos, and the first paragraph, this is a great spot to photograph the sunrise, or sunset due to the features, and the shifting colors from the fading (or rising) light. Also, as the Anza-Borrego Desert is a dark sky community, the point is also a good place for nighttime photography. Irrespective of whether one makes it to the point at those times, the views are spectacular, and very unique. While November through May are the best times to visit Font’s Point, the location is accessible year round. Irrespective of the time of year, visitors should be sure to have plenty of water, as it is a remote spot in a desert, and should also sure to exercise leave no trace principles to protect this spot for future generations.