GOSD Spring Wildflowers
Agua Caliente County Park
March 27-29, 2020
(3 Days/2 Nights)
You're invited to join Great Outdoors San Diego (GOSD) for what's become our annual visit to Agua Caliente County Park to check out the wildflowers, which typically bloom there in early to mid-spring. Between the wildflowers, the amazing Agua Caliente campground (with showers and hot spring-fed pools), our not-to-be-missed nighttime search for scorpions by black light, the always-amazing Saturday night potluck, and a great group of campers, you won't want to miss this trip! If you are new to Great Outdoors, new to camping or maybe haven’t camped in a while, this is an excellent “starter” camping trip, given the excellent campground facilities and relative close proximity to urban San Diego.
Agua Caliente County Park is a 910 acre park with geothermally heated springs. The park is located just west of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in eastern San Diego County.
Amenities at Agua Caliente include the soothing geothermal pools, coin-operated pay showers (50 cents in quarters per 4 minutes), flush toilets, potable water, shuffleboard and horseshoes, and a sun deck outside the pools for lounging. There is a small souvenir store nearby with very limited groceries, ice and firewood. The pools include an outdoor swimming pool, an outdoor wading pool for children, and an indoor 102 °F therapeutic spa.
We’ve reserved ten tent sites and two RV sites. Trip pricing is based upon the type of site you choose and whether you’ll be sharing a tent or RV. RV sites have water, electricity, picnic table and a fire ring. A dump station is located within the park. Some sites may not be completely level - we suggest bringing leveling blocks. Depending upon the RV site, tow vehicles may have to park in a nearby site.
The campground is near many excellent hiking trails and other locations to view desert wildflowers.
Registration and Payment
Registration for this event is restricted to Great Outdoors Members Only. Prices are based upon you being a member of one of our 5 chapters. Each person attending must complete a separate registration. If you are not currently a member of one of our 5 Chapters, you’ll need to become a paid member with the Chapter of your choice first and then register for this campout.
Registration is via this website only. Registration cannot be accomplished on Facebook. You will need to log into your GO account and click on one of the registration category buttons for this trip. The website will then prompt you for information and payment online by credit card (preferred) or other available methods. Payment must be received within 2 weeks of your registration, even if paying by check or your reservation will be subject to cancellation.
Cancellation and Refunds
You may cancel your reservation and receive a full refund up to 2 weeks before the trip start date. For this trip, the final cancellation date is March 13, 2020. Refunds will not be available after that date or on any registrations made within those 2 weeks of a trip start date, unless we can fill your spot with another camper.
Trip Specific Information
As the dates of our campout weekend approaches, you will want to become familiar with the following details about our Wildflower Weekend.
Please carpool if you can and fill your gas tank well before arriving at camp since the nearest gas stations are in Borrego Springs (30 miles), Julian (33 miles), or Ocotillo (27 miles).
Address: 39555 Great Southern Overland Stage Route of 1849, Julian, CA 92036
From Ramona through Julian: East on State Highway 78 to Scissors Crossing then south 22 miles on Highway S2 to the park entrance.
From Interstate 8: East on Interstate 8 and exit at Ocotillo, then 26 miles north on Highway S2 to the park entrance.
Extra Vehicles and Fees
Depending on what time you arrive, you may be asked to pay the extra vehicle fee if the allotted campsite parking spaces have already been filled. The fee is $4 per night for a total of $8 for the weekend. Please pay the fee and ask for a receipt and GOSD will reimburse you for the parking fee. Park regulations impose a limit of two (2) cars per campsite. Any additional vehicles must park in the designated overflow parking areas.
2 PM - Check in after 2 PM
5 PM - “Happy hour” - Bring a snack to share and your favorite beverage. Some snacks and water will be provided. In order to cut down on waste, please also bring your own reusable plate, utensils and cup/mug - these will not be provided.
Dinner - on your own
7 PM - Group campfire (Sunset is just after 7 PM)
Breakfast - on your own
9 AM - Depart for hike(s). (Bring a packed lunch.) The wildflower hike specifics will be determined as the trip gets closer and we have a better sense for where the best wildflower viewing will be. (Rest assured our wildflower hike will not be strenuous.) Other hike(s) or outings may also be offered depending on interest levels and degree of difficulty of hikes, i.e., easy, moderate, strenuous. Some possibilities include Mud Caves, Domelands and Wind Caves, Ghost Mountain, Cold Canyon or other regional gems.
3 PM - Time in the pools at camp
6 PM - Potluck Dinner - Bring a main dish, side, salad or dessert. In an effort to be more environmentally friendly, please bring your own reusable plate and utensils as one use disposable items will not be provided.
7 PM - Campfire
8 PM - Scorpion search by black light
Breakfast - on your own
9 AM - Time for another dip in the pools or a short hike - and packing and cleaning up the camp sites.
12 PM - Check Out.
Campground Rules and Regulations
A complete listing of campground rules and regulations may be found here:
Here are some of the more common rules:
Pets - Are permitted if they are quiet, properly restrained and under the control of the owner. Dogs must be licensed, restrained on a leash not longer than six feet, and attended at all times. Dogs are not allowed in cabins or on trails. There is a $1 per night fee for each pet, which is not included in your GOSD registration payment. It is payable upon check-in at the campground.
Quiet Hours- 10 PM - 8 AM
Campfires – Completely Extinguished by 11 PM
Smoking- Is not allowed in Agua Caliente County Park.
Alcohol - Alcoholic beverages are permitted provided the alcohol content does not exceed 20%.
What to Bring
Quarters for showers
Warm/cool weather clothing
Potluck item for Saturday night
Pool gear (towel, swimsuit and water shoes)
Any prescription or other needed medications
Sun protection (hat, sunglasses, sunblock, lip block)
Soap and sponge for cleaning your reusable plate, utensils and cup/mug
Your own reusable plate, utensils and mug/cup (No plates, utensils or cups will be provided)
One bundle of firewood (please no particle board, old furniture, plywood or construction materials, as these can release toxic gases when burned). The County Parks motto is buy it where you burn it and local firewood is generally available at the small general store near the campground’s entrance.
Cell Phone Service
Is not available in the park, but can be found by driving a short distance from the campground.
It is the responsibility of participants to carry on their person a record of significant allergies, medications and medical history in the event of a medical emergency. Discuss any medical concerns with a trip leader if you wish.
For full Agua Caliente County Park information - View the Agua Caliente County Park brochure or map at the following links:
Contact - If you have any questions not addressed by the information above or on our registration page, please feel free to contact the trip leaders:
Steve Magruder (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Vaughan Nelson (email@example.com)