Located in the desert gem of Borrego Springs, CA, is an open art installation created by artist/welder Ricardo Breceda. These amazing metal sculptures were commissioned by Dennis Avery, land owner of Galleta Meadows. There are over 130 different themed sculptures spread out over three square miles of the desert. The art themes range from prehistoric animals, desert creatures, as well as an homage to off-roading with an awesome Willy's Jeep CJ-3A.
Galleta Meadows is unfenced and open to the public for visitation, including hiking, horseback-riding, photography, and bicycling every day of the year. Although the best time to explore the area is in the cooler months. Borrego Springs summer temperatures can reach up to 107+; whereas fall averages a comfortable 67degrees.
If you are driving from LA or San Diego, you will want to proceed down S22 into the valley that houses Anza Borrego. From here, the sculptures are all over the next 10 square miles. Since you are in the desert and most of the area is pretty barren, it is easy to spot them while driving along Borrego Springs Road. They pop up out of the horizon and immediately peak your curiosity. There are maps available online as well.
On this trip we had an amazing treasure hunt across Borrego-Springs on the lookout for these red rusted colored, larger than life works of art. It is not until your close inspection, that you see the amount of detail the artist captured with each sculpture. It is as if at any moment, these amazing art pieces will spring to life and roam the desert. One of our favorites included the Sand Serpent, which is one of the largest sculptures featured. It is 350 feet long with parts of its body slithering across the other side of the road. It makes for an impressive backdrop as seen in this photo.
Not wanting to end the day, we made our way to Blair Valley. Blair Valley sits between Granite Mountain and Whale Peak. It is a beautiful area that is popular for dispersed camping. Just note that when camping, your vehicle can only be one car length from the road.
The Blair Valley Loop is an 11 mile scenic trail, which made a great place for me to gain some experience off-roading in my own vehicle. The terrain is packed dirt, sandy in areas, and some wash boards, but overall mostly groomed. There are three popular hikes that are accessible from the loop trail: Pictograph Trail, Marshall South Homestead, and Mortreros Trail. On this trip we ventured to Ghost Mountain to see the old remnants of the Marshall South Homestead.
The hike can be somewhat deceiving, although the marker indicated that it is only a mile, it is a steep climb with more than 450 feet of elevation gain. The homestead was constructed in the 1930's as an experiment in primitive living and was occupied by the poet/author Marshall South and his family (wife Tanya and three children) for approximately 17 years. Near the end of his life, Marshall South admitted
"the desert has a way of sapping dreams. And more often than not, heroic plans wilt bit by bit."
All that is left is the skeleton of the homestead and what once was; however, you gain a deep respect for the desert dream that they had envisioned. Please be respectful of the area and leave the remnants as they are, undisturbed. While exploring, there are always those fun unexpected moments. We were walking around the homestead when we stumbled upon a geocache. Be sure to be on the lookout for it when you make your way up to the homestead.
If you are looking for a fun day trip adventure in the desert, pack a lunch, load up the car, and take a drive down to Borrego Springs and check out these amazing works of art, they are definitely a site to see in-person. If you're feeling even more adventurous, take the time to explore the Blair Valley Loop, Ghost Mountain, and the Marshall South Homestead.
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