The desert loop will put your sand riding skills to the test! The desert loop starts and ends at the Julian Pie Company in Julian. The address is 2225 Main Street, Julian, CA 92036. The route follows SR79 out of Julian to the Mason Valley Truck Trail which descends down the only technical section on this loop, Oriflamme Canyon, into the amazing Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. The first campsite is at Blair Valley and shortly after the first resupply at the Stagecoach Trails RV Resort. We then head into some serious sand along the North Pinyon Mountain Road to the Mine Wash. Follow the washes along SR78 to the Old Borrego Valley Road into Borrego Springs, the only major resupply stop and the Borrego Palm Canyon campground. Out of Borrego Springs a tough asphalt climb up Yaqui Pass Road which takes us to the Yaqui Pass, Tamarisk Grove and Yaqui Well campgrounds. Next some more climbing up the Grapevine Canyon Road lollipop section then back to the Stagecoach Trails RV Resort. Follow the Rodriguez Spur Truck Trail back to SR78 then head up the final tough climb up the Old Banner Road Trail into Julian.
Except for an abundance of sand, this loop is largely non-technical. However there is one long, very rocky and steep descent down Oriflamme Canyon. A 27.5+, 29+ or even fat bike will work great on this loop, as the wider tires float over the sand.
Be prepared to carry a little more supplies with you, as you will have fewer resupply points. The Stagecoach RV Resort is accessible twice a short distance off route. Borrego Springs is the only major resupply point with markets and restaurants. Los Jilberto's Taco Shop is the standard bikepacker's stop.
Abundant primitive camping options everywhere in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. There are formal campsites at Blair Valley, Borrego Palm Canyon, Yaqui Pass, Tamarisk Grove and Yaqui Well. Except for Borrego Palm Canyon and Tamarisk Grove, these campgrounds do not have water and only have pit toilets. Tamarisk Grove has a Hike and Bike campsite. A map of the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is available HERE.
This loop can be done in the fall, winter and spring. In the summer it can get dangerously hot in the desert.