Road trips from Southern California: California deserts
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( Annie Wells / Los Angeles Times )
Borrego Palm Canyon
Distance: 152 miles one-way
Borrego doesn't get the attention that desert areas farther north do, but it's the biggest state park in California. Borrego Palm Canyon (a three-mile hike, round-trip) is a testament to the violence of desert life -- it lost about 80% of its palms in a 2004 flood -- and it's the park's star hike. Also a good place for spotting bighorn sheep. (760) 767-5311, www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=638.