Borrego Springs Loop Rides- 38 miles/590 meters

(Feb 16, 2022 – written by Dave)

Today was a free day. That is, we were staying two nights in the Casa del Zorro and had we wanted, we could have just hung out being resort-types all day. Nancy was interested in the 10AM yoga/meditation session at the resort but I managed to talk her into joining the gang for a morning cycle instead. It was an easy sell, I mean, who wouldn’t want to go slog out some windy, dusty desert Ks when the alternative was a relaxing stretch on the lawn bowls grass where the yoga session was setting up.  She’s a trooper.

Sure, that looks more fun that stretching out on a nice lawn

Before riding, we drove into Borrego Springs proper for brekkie. Yet another full-plate meal. We’ve lost count of how many meals and snacks we’ve eaten on this ride but if we come back slightly rounder, we certainly know why. There will be zero chance of a low sugar bonk while touring with the REI crew.

The ride itself was a big loop southwest of Borrego Springs, right on Highway 78, then right on highway S3. The first 10k were dead straight and pretty boring scenery wise. Nancy was re-thinking the yoga versus ride decision. We saw a few road bike riders, not part of our group, out on this section. We learned later in the day that Borrego Springs has quite the burgeoning road cycling community. Maybe we’ll come back down here next winter and get a place to hang out. That would give us a chance to do some riding and for Nancy to get in that yoga on the grass session as well.

Once turning onto Highway 78 we picked up a pretty strong headwind. We were still more or less riding as a group. Nancy and I hooked up with Asha, one of our teammates. She is relatively new to cycling and this is her first tour/trip. She’s on an eBike that puts the rider in a very upright position. Asha is not big but her upright position along with her electric motor gave us the perfect foil for the head winds. I stopped for a few photos but Nancy stayed glued to Asha all the way to the next corner.

Finally spotted an Ocotillo bush with red flowers
Spotted on the verge… Over time, father tired of Chatty Cathie’s never ending loop of cheerful sayings and he threw her from the moving car
Cholla and Yucca together

We had morning tea at the corner where Jerry pulled just about even in the “guide who can put on the best morning tea” contest. He had fresh cut pineapple which was very tasty but also won bonus points for a lovely table arrangement with the pineapple top. We of course were also smiling because from this point we would be riding with the wind. We blasted up the little climb after tea in big wind-assisted gears.

Nancy, Jerry and Asha – with the pineapple masterpiece
Another cholla cacti garden
The climb was dotted with red cacti of some sort
A wash near the top of the climb – pretty hospitable country out here

The ride officially ended at the hotel but we carried on 6 more miles into Borrego Springs to get some lunch and check out the scene. Borrego Springs is known for a whimsical collection of metal sculptures stuck out in the middle desert. The sculptures were created Ricardo Breceda and cover an area of more than three square miles. They were commissioned by the owner of a large piece of property here that was held for conservation.  There are apparently over 100 of them across the world, with the highest concentration in the Borrego Springs area. They are quite impressive, popping up way out the distant desert and also close to the road. We got a few photos but settled for distant views of those farther out in the desert – it was lunch time and we needed to eat again after all.

An elephant in the desert
And a horse drawn carriage

We saw more cyclists in Borrego Springs, mostly roadies, confirming our earlier observations. The town itself is pretty small and would best be described as working hard to come back. There are a number of open restaurants but also a few hotels and restaurants that are closed or being remodelled. We didn’t check the local realtor signs but I think it could still be early enough to get in before the town goes big. We had lunch at a very authentic Mexican restaurant. The only English words that I heard while inside were spoken by Nancy, me or the staff responding to us. Otherwise it was all Spanish. And yes, the tacos Pastor were very tasty.

Hacienda del Sol – a work in progress
The Kiwanis selling grapefruit in Borrego Springs
The Catholic church on Church Street – next to the Lutheran, Methodist and Episcopalian churches, pick a different flavour every Sunday
One bite missing from a serious plate of Tacos Pastor

We are now back at the resort and doing resort things. We had a soak in the Jacuzzi, had a nice coffee and are now sitting with our feet up and relaxing. We’ll have dinner with the gang and a hardish ride is on the cards for tomorrow but we don’t have to think about that now. For now, we’ll relax in complementary resort slippers. Life is good.

Corner lot gas station opportunity in Borrego Springs – get in early!

10 thoughts on “Borrego Springs Loop Rides- 38 miles/590 meters

  1. What an amazing adventure. Wish we were there with you, but we are now couch potatoes and I’ve turned into an alcoholic…. According f to ross 🤣

  2. It definitely looks interesting but not sure I would be excited about biking there even with my E Bike. I’m glad you are enjoying it! The cacti are beautiful. I hope we see plenty on our trip to Phoenix this weekend!

  3. Just caught up with your adventure. Several years ago I took part in several hundred mile rallies from Palm Desert toast Mecca near the Salton Sea. Date palms mixed with desert scenery made it them fun excursions. Borrego Springs was bustling before the pandemic. Love the sculptures and Ocotillo Cacti. I may have to entertain a three wheeled E-bike in the future having taken a tumble recently with the attendant holes in my dermis. No worries, all is healing well. Thank you for the photos and great commentary.

  4. Dave and Nancy, This post brought back great memories for me. Thanks for sharing your ride. A group of my self-contained touring buddies and I did a weeklong wintertime tour back in 2017 with nights in Julian, Borrego Springs and down the world’s roughest road to Salton Sea and beyond. We stayed in the same, now boarded up, Borrego Springs hotel that is in your photo! Back then, it was one of the finest one star hotels that money could buy. Complete with blood stains on the carpet. I’m not surprised that it is closed now. Here is our route. We rode counter clockwise. . I try to get away for a tour someplace warm every winter. Sometimes it’s hit and miss, but I’d love to do this one again. We started and finished in Oceanside with lots of stops at breweries along the way.


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