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“Great Day Trip from San Diego” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of California Overland Desert Excursions

California Overland Desert Excursions
Ranked #1 of 4 Tours in Borrego Springs
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Exciting Day and Overnight Excursions in the amazing Anza-Borrego Desert aboard authentic military vehicles and vintage Jeep CJ7. Also, Wine Tasting Tours featuring a gourmet barbecue in the Julian Back Country. We are a contracted concessionaire of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and a state-licensed passenger carrier.
New Jersey
Level Contributor
24 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
“Great Day Trip from San Diego”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 5, 2009

We were on vacation in San Diego, and we wanted to see the California desert. Fortunately, we found California Overland in Borrego Springs.

Joe gave me great directions to and from Borrego Springs. The drive out there was so spectacular, I was thinking, Why am I going on a tour? But let me tell you, the tour was even better. And the drive back was beautiful too. So the whole day was fabulous.

Joe suggested we go to Julian, which used to be a mining town. It's really cute with some cute little shops and a lot of restaurants. We went to Mom's Pie Shop and had the best chicken pot pie in the world. Also, some fantastic three-berry pie with ice cream. Yum!

Joe was the friendliest, nicest person you could ever want to meet. His knowledge about the whole area was incredible, and it was obvious that he loves sharing with all the people he meets. His enthusiasm is very contagious. By the time our tour was over, I didn't want to leave. I felt like Joe was a friend.

The scenery you will see is some of the most amazing in the world! And Joe knows where all the good spots are.

Plus he was extremely helpful to us in planning the tour to accommodate my husband's needs since he has MS. Joe helped us figure out how best to handle everything so that my husband could have a really great experience.

We've been to Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Hawaii, and Nova Scotia. We took tours in all those places. I have to say that seeing the badlands with Joe ranks up there with any other tours we've taken.

Thanks for everything, Joe. We'll remember our time with you for years to come.

1 Thank desertwanderer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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162 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
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English first
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“a lifelong memory”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 7, 2008

Having been on a jeep trip in Arizona, we wanted our teens to experience something similar in California, and a quick internet search brought up Joe's trips from Borrego Springs.

Although it was the height of summer, Joe was very communicative via email, and we agreed a 4 hour trip leaving 3-4pm, after the real heat of midday. We were travelling from the coast, near Encinitas, and he even spent time giving us directions for a scenic route there, on Sunrise Highway, along the rim of the desert, and then into Julian, an old gold rush town now famous for apple pie and cider.

all went to plan, but the weather wasn't playing game. however, we kept in touch all day and by 4pm the rain had moved on and all was clear for us to start. we had wanted to go to a slot canyon, which was our first port of call, and while the canyon wasn't as tight or photogenic as our past experience in Paige, AZ, we loved it. We felt like real adventurers (albeit petfried of anything that may have moved!), and Joe was fabulous with his commentary and knowledge of the area, formation, plant and animal life. Our cosy beach house rental seemed miles away, and England was just in another realm. we couldn't imagine anyone else being on the planet.

after a cup or two of fresh, cold lemon water from the back of the wagon, we then happily jostled over the Badlands, slipping in our seats as we were sweating so much in the heat. who cared. what an experience.

at Font's Point, Joe walked us up an incline, then made us close our eyes for the full effect of the view on opening. amazing. in fact, more amazing than when we saw the grand canyon, because this looked 'real', whereas the sheer scale of the canyon blew my mind, and i felt it looked like a backdrop.

we ate our packed lunch here. sitting on fold-out camp chairs, drinking lemon water, overlooking an expanse of stunning desert. the level of silence was spellbinding.

We loved this trip. from a CA holiday that began in LA, with all its trappings, this day was a perfect way to end our holiday. this was California stripped back to the basics, and a fascinating insight into how not only the state evolved, but the eastern side of the continent.

Thanks Joe, if you ever read this. You're a star and we wish you well with California Overland. With such attention to detail, friendliness, and care for your clients, you deserve the success.

Debs, Ian, Jodie & Sacha. Nottingham. UK.

1 Thank samdebs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portland, OR
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Great Way to Start”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 12, 2008

I booked a half-day private tour with Joe, some months in advance. He worked with my request to see the areas of Anzo-Borrego that I couldn't get to with my 2 WD rental car. Off we went to explore Split Mountain and the Wind Caves, but after driving up a river bed, the Jeep had mechanical issues. I was really impressed that Joe was both knowledgeable and resorceful enough to use a discarded crushed beer can and other found objects to temporarily mend the Jeep until we could return to base to pick up another vehicle. Long story short, my half-day trip turned out to be almost eight hours and Joe had lots of helpful suggestions for areas I could explore on my own during my remaining four days in Borrego Springs. I highly recommend California Overland!

Thank Portland_ORSusan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles
1 review
“California Overland : a do not miss in the desert!!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 28, 2008

Took a great overnight trip to the desert and met up with joe from California Overland. Military transport truck and off to some great spots. Be prepared for some dust, but well worth it. Learned a lot about the history of the desert, Alcoholic pass, WWII, plants, fossils, you name it . Joe knows tons about nature and don"t be afraid to ask questions. Kids loved slot canyon and the badlands. They do overnights and night trips also. Febuary 20th they are having a Lunar exclipse dinner under the stars. I will be there!

Thank scotteee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington, DC
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“A Great Way to See the Desert”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 6, 2008

My wife and I booked a private half-day tour with California Overland while we were vacationing in Borrego Springs. Joe, the owner, took excellent care of us. His recommendations met our preferences, and he is very knowledgeable about the history of the area and the desert flora and fauna. Since his jeep had some potential problems, the three of us took the 15-passenger truck instead. He treated us like friends and clearly enjoys his work. And the 4-hour tour that we paid for went on for about 7 hours to fit in all of Joe's recommendations.

Thank Bruce-Barb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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