Arroyo Salado Campground is a free primitive desert campground located in Southern California’s sprawling Anza Borrego State Park. The campground is located in a small desert valley about a quarter mile from Borrego Salton Seaway (Highway S-22) and allows you to camp anywhere you can pitch your tent or park your RV. The big draw for people to Arroyo Salado Campground and Anza Borrego in general is the desert, either for hiking and or exploring via four-wheel drive trails. There are numerous trails and destinations for either, but the Calcite Mine Trail and Truckhaven Trail are both nearby Arroyo Salado Campground.

Anza Borrego Desert State Park is one of the largest state parks in the country and offers a ton of activities including hiking, camping, and off-roading on over 500 miles of trails that cross the park. The park is also known for massive wildflower blooms after spring rains that blanket the dry desert.

Camping at Arroyo Salado Campground requires that you are fairly self-sustainable, as there are virtually no facilities provided, other than a couple vault toilets located within the campground. There is no running water or trash services provided and there are no dump stations available for RVs. Other services are available in the nearby small towns of Borrego Springs, Salton Sea, and Ocotillo Wells.

Arroyo Salado Campground Features

Campground Type: Primitive, Dispersed
Number of Campsites: Not Defined – Virtually Unlimited
Cost: Free
Use Level: Medium – High
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Fire Rings: None – Ground fires are not allowed in Anza Borrego. Campfires are allowed in metal containers, bring your own.
Drinking Water: None
Toilets: Yes – Vault Toilet
Showers: None
Trash/Dumpsters: None – Pack it out
Hiking Access: Yes
Beach/Lake Access: None
RV/Trailer Length: Not Defined
RV/Trailer Amenities: None
Cell Phone Service: Possible on some carriers
Wifi: None
Operating Season: Campground Open Year-round

Getting There

Geo Coordinates: 33.280466, -116.148092
Nearest City/Town: Indio, California
Elevation: 800 Feet
Location: San Diego County, California
Paved Road Access: None
Proximity to Stores: 5 Miles to Salton City

The entrance to Arroyo Salado Campground is located on County Highway S-22 near the northeastern entrance to Anza Borrego State Park, about 19 miles east of the Visitor Center. After exiting Highway S-22 follow the signs about 0.25 miles on the dirt/sand road to the campground.


Phone: (760) 767-5311 Facebook:
Web: Anza Borrego State Park Twitter:
Reservations: Not Available – First Come – First Served

Be Sure to Bring

When To Go

Fall & Winter Holiday Weekends – The area around Arroyo Salado Campgorund is pretty busy during the cooler months, especially on holiday weekends, but even during the busy times there is enough space and trails that you do not feel like you are crammed into a small campground. Also, unlike many other campgrounds, the areas around Anza Borrego, including nearby Ocotillo Wells, is more fun when there are lots of people around. The busier seasons allow you to watch others take their expensive off-roading rigs out and drive them fast (and potentially wreck them).

The summer is when you should not go to Arroyo Salado Campground, with temperatures exceeding 110 degrees daily.

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What To Do

There are lots of destinations that you can seek out from where you are camping Arroyo Salado Campground, all of which will require a 4×4 capable vehicle such as a Jeep to reach, but all are worth the trip.

5 Palms Oasis – The 5 Palms Oasis is a small spot in the middle of the desolate desert that truly is an oasis, with 5 large palm trees sprouting around a small spring.

17 Palm Oasis – Much like the previously mentioned, 17 Palm Oasis is a small grove of 17 palm trees around a small spring in the desert floor.

Pumpkin Patch – Pumpkin Patch is an area where the ground has eroded to reveal pumpkin-sized, globe-like formations that are the result of sand particles being naturally “cemented” to small objects such as an insect, shell, or event a grain of sand.

Image Credits:  Justin Wilson

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Justin is an IT Professional, focused on cloud, mobile, and infrastructure management and security with his consulting business, as well as chief bottle washer for this website. In addition to, Justin also runs and writes for the technology infrastructure-focused blog, and the mobile device-focused blog


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