The route takes in an impressive swatch of the geological and geographical diversity that only Southern California can provide. Just 28 miles east of town is the Salton Sea. Immediately adjacent to Borrego Springs is Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, part of the Colorado Desert, which encompasses 600,000 acres and provides visitors with 110 miles of riding and hiking trails, 500 miles of roads and two huge wilderness areas with desert wildlife such as roadrunners, golden eagles, mule deer and bighorn sheep (all of which we have seen while cyclingin this area).
The quaint community of Borrego Springs, which doesn't even have a street light, offers an impressive selection of cultural and recreational activities to enjoy during your visit, including numerous art galleries featuring local and nationally renowned artists, or take in a show or ballet at the Borrego Springs Performing Arts Center.
Riders in the Montezulomar Bicycle Classic will enter Anza-Borrego Desert State Park immediately as they leave town and begin the 11-mile ascent of Montezuma Valley Road to Ranchita. After climbing from 500 feet to 4000 feet, the pure desert is left behind and riders enter high-country chapparal. Ranchita is the turn-around for th 34-mile route. The next stretch is quick because of a 1500 foot gradual elevation loss on the way to Lake Henshaw, which is the turn-around for the 69-mile route. For those tackling the full 94 miles, next up is the ascent of Mount Palomar via East Grade Road, climbing from 2600 feet to to 5200 feet over eleven miles. En route, panoramas to the west, across to Carlsbad and Oceanside and the Pacific Ocean, come into view. Your destination is Mother's Kitchen and Palomar Mountain General Store atop Mount Palomar. This is a popular rest and meal stop for cyclists and tourists, but the vast majority of them arrive there via the much busier South Grade Road. Our route, from start to finish, is usually exceedingly quiet, majestic, and truly one-of-a-kind!