The Desert View Nature Trail is a short interpretive trail that begins and ends at the Burnt Rancheria Campground in Mount Laguna. The trail overlaps a small segment of the Pacific Crest Trail, and as it name implies, provides some nice views of the Anza-Borrego Desert. In addition to the views, a printed trail guide is available that provides educational descriptions about numbered exhibits that can be found along the trail.
Since this was a rather short trail, we made a day of hitting several of the shorter interpretive trails in the area. After hiking the Wooded Hill Nature Trail and the Kwaaymii Trail, we headed over to the Burnt Rancheria Campground to finish up with the Desert View Nature Trail. From the Day Use parking lot, we set off east along a paved walkway through a canopy of Black Oaks.
We crossed a couple of roads and finally came to the outer edge of the campground, where we found a “Y” junction and a “Desert View Trail” sign in the middle of the two paths. Having absolutely no indication of whether we should turn right or left, we decided to head down the path on the right and see what happened. We later came to find that both paths eventually connect, so pick whichever route you like.
At 1.1 miles we came upon a working drinking fountain, or “water drinker” as the accompanying plaque called it. Nearby, an unmarked path on the left appeared to lead back towards the campground. We continued straight.
As we started climbing uphill again, we spotted a small gopher snake hanging out on the trail ahead of us. He posed nicely for some photographs, and we then gently encouraged him off the trail so he’d have the safety of better camouflage in the surrounding grass.
The trail ended a fair distance from our starting point, with no real indication of how to get back to the campground entrance. We basically just kept going right until we found ourselves back at the day use parking area. Based on the map it looks like it would be quicker to turn left at the end of the trail and from there follow the road the entrance. It’s a beautiful campground though, so whichever way you go it will be an enjoyable walk.
From I-8 east take the Sunrise Highway exit and turn left onto Sunrise Highway (S1). Follow Sunrise Highway for approximately 9.5 miles to the Burnt Rancheria Campground on your right. Turn left at the fee station and follow the road a short ways to the day use parking area on your right. Park in one of the marked “Adventure Pass” parking spots. map
|Total Distance:||1.7 miles|
|Total Ascent:||222 feet|
|Dog Friendly?:||Leashed dogs allowed|
|Bike Friendly?:||Bikes not allowed|
|Facilities:||Water and restrooms at campground|
|Fees/Permits:||Adventure Pass required|