Morteros like this one can be seen at many places in the Anza-Borrego Desert.  Native people used morteros to grind and prepare their food.

Rock art, like these pictographs , is found in many spots around Anza-Borrego.

The Agave Plant was an important source of food for native people.   You will see many agave plants in Anza-Borrego. You can download a map of Anza-Borrego DSP from the state park website to help you find these locations.

The desert and mountains that you see today in Anza-Borrego were the homes of native people as long as 12,000 years ago.  These early people depended upon the land for everything they needed.  They would move from one area to another during the year so they could find the plants and animals they needed for food.  There are many places in Anza-Borrego where you can discover evidence of the native people who lived here.

  • 1. Anza-Borrego State Park Visitor Center  25 Points in your Exploring Guide!

anza borrego state park visitor center borrego springs

The State Park Visitor Center is in Borrego Springs and has excellent exhibits about the native people of Anza-Borrego, with many artifacts on display.

morteros mine wash native americn site anza borrego


      When you visit an archeological site

  • Leave everything as you see it.

  • Don't pick anything up or disturb the soil in any way .

  • Do not leave your mark on anything.

  • Take pictures and memories!

The ancient Kumeyaay village site in Mine Wash is an excellent place to visit if your parents are comfortable driving on a dirt road.  The turnoff into Mine Wash is on the south side of Highway 78 about 3 miles east of the Tamarisk Grove Campground.   The village site is right along Mine Wash and a park sign marks the spot. Many morteros are scatted among the large boulders.   There is no hiking involved; you can move through the large rock formations just yards from your vehicle.   4WD is not generally required for the route to the village site but high clearance is advised. 

Both of these trails are in the Blair Valley.  The Mortero Trail ( .5 miles roundtrip) begins 3.5 miles from Highway S2. Numerous morteros can be seen along the trail.  The Pictograph Trail ( 2 miles round trip) starts 3.6 miles from Hwy. S-2. This trail is easy walking and leads to a large boulder that has many pictographs.   Download the State Park Map at the top of this page or pick up a map locally if you are not sure of the location.

  • What do you think it would be like if you lived at these places in the desert?

  • What do you think boys and girls your age did when they lived here?

  • What would lunchtime be like for the boys and girls who lived here?

Need Directions or Additional Information?

Stop by the ABDNHA Nature Center, 652 Palm Canyon Drive,  just one block west of Christmas Circle, when you are in Borrego Springs.