Think South Dakota and Arizona are the only U.S. states with magnificent canyons and vast Bandlands? Think again. Fonts Point in Anza Borrego Desert State Park will completely change your mind about what Southern California looks like.
Fonts Point offers visitors stunning views of the Borrego Badlands. This ancient waterbed, now mud-covered mountains is often referred to as the “The Grand Canyon of California” because of its impressive features.
We could hardly believe a place like this even existed. Its unique landscape is more like a set in a SciFi movie than a real-life vista in Southern California. But just a two-hour drive from San Diego or Palm Springs, and you can experience this awe-inspiring terrain for yourself!
Fonts Point’s epic views and amazing scenery make it one of the most popular places in Anza Borrego. Not to mention a photographer’s dream. 🤩
If you want to visit Fonts Point in Anza Borrego, this guide will share exactly how to get to this overlook, the best time to go, and what to expect here.
Table of Contents
- Quick facts about Fonts Point
- The history of Borrego Badlands
- The best time to go to Fonts Point
- How to get to Fonts Point
- What to expect at Fonts Point
- What to bring to Fonts Point
Quick facts about Fonts Point
The history of Borrego Badlands
Fonts Point dates back around 2 to 5 million years ago with its life beginning underneath the delta marine waters of the Gulf of California. When the water receded, the landscape continued to be shaped by the Colorado River, the same river that formed the Grand Canyon in Arizona.
Drought, ice ages, wind, and tectonic movement over millions of years eventually eroded the sandstone, mudstone, and other sedimentary rock creating the badlands we see today.
🤓 Fun Fact: Geologists continue to uncover ancient fossils at Fonts Point. Reptiles, like turtles along with camels and even gomphotheres, an extinct species related to the elephant, have been uncovered here.
The best time to go to Fonts Point
Anza Borrego is one of the hottest places in the United States making Fall to Spring the ideal time to visit because of the cooler daytime temperatures. Spring is a particularly nice time to visit this state park because of the wildflowers that pop up all across the desert.
🌸 The superbloom is one of the biggest attractions each year and is a sight to behold if you’re able to time it perfectly.
The Borrego Badlands is best enjoyed in the morning or late evening (sunrise/sunset). Having a sun lower in the horizon creates shadows over the muddy mountains and creates a lot more depth and interest in the view.
How to get to Fonts Point
Fonts Point is in Anza Borrego Desert State Park. The overlook is in the Galleta Meadows area of Anza Borrego and is around 2-hours northeast of San Diego and two hours southwest of Palm Springs.
The state park is one of the largest in California and is home to many other amazing spots just as spectacular as Fonts Point. Visitors are required to pay a $10 entrance fee per vehicle per day.
You can pay at one of the two Visitor Centers before heading to Fonts Point Trail Junction, the start of the 4-mile road to Fonts Point overlook.
⚠️ The state park says the road to Fonts Point is 4×4 only. This is because the road turns to soft-deep sand after about 2 and a half miles. While most normal vehicles could make it, if you get stuck and need a tow to get out you will be stuck paying hundreds of dollars in tow fees.
This is a moderately trafficked trail. You could get lucky and pass someone who can tow you out but it’s not worth risking it in my opinion. If you’re not confident your vehicle can make it, you can park at the end of the packed road (first two and a half miles more or less) and walk the last mile and a half.
There is a sign at the entrance of the Junction that says “Fonts Point” to make sure you’re in the right spot. However, cell reception may be limited. Download Google Maps (with the pin saved) for offline use, so you don’t miss the dirt road turn-off.
We rode our KTM adventure motorcycle to the trailhead. It was our first time driving in soft sand and was difficult to navigate as novice off-road riders. But our bike made it there without issue even with our little experience.
Once you get through the soft sand you’ll see a parking area with an information placard. Follow the trial by the placard about 0.2 miles and you’ll reach the overlook. It’s a super easy walk from the parking lot to the viewpoint.
What to expect at Fonts Point
Most people don’t spend a lot of time at Fonts Point. There aren’t any trails to traverse from the overlook. Once you have admired the view and gotten a photo or two most people head back to the car. We did see a couple who brought foldable chairs to set up on the canyon edge for sunset, which we thought was a fantastic idea!
We spent about 30 minutes there watching the light bounce off the peaks and in between the crevices of the mountains. We loved seeing how the landscape changed as the sun moved behind clouds and eventually set behind the canyon.
Fonts Point was truly like no other place we’ve ever visited and absolutely blew us away!
What to bring to Fonts Point
We visited Fonts Point in January 2023. The weather was nice during the day, but the temperature dropped quickly in the evening. Have layers with you so you can adjust to the changing temperature here. The top of Fonts Point is rather windy, just another reason to have a jacket or extra windbreaker with you.
There’s a good chance you’ll want to snap a photo or two of the epic views here. You can see our recommended camera and photo gear here. Since there is limited cell reception on the road out here (and none at the trailhead) you may want to bring a satellite device to be able to call for help.
Of course, being in the desert you want to stay hydrated as you’re exploring. We recommend this reusable water bottle which has a built-in water filter to hold your water. We love to add an LMNT hydration pack to it which helps replenish the electrolytes we are losing without nasty ingredients or unnecessary sugars.
If you want to admire the view for a while, bring a snack or a charcuterie board and chairs to make it a romantic evening. Get the gear here:
- 🧢 Sun hat
- 🧥 Layers like a windbreaker or jacket
- 🥾 Comfortable sneakers or hiking shoes
- 🧦 Breathable and comfortable merino wool socks
- 📸 Camera equipment
- 🚰 Reusable water bottle
- 💧LMNT hydration packs
- 🪑Camping chairs
- 📞 Sattelite device
As you can see Fonts Point is a hidden gem in Southern California. Even though its road makes it challenging to get to, the effort is well worth the reward. Hopefully, this guide has helped you understand why this spot is worth visiting and how to prepare for your trip to Fonts Point.
If you’re headed to Anza Borrego in an RV make sure to check out this blog post about RV camping in Anza Borrego.