Roughing it at its finest.
1233 Palm Canyon Drive
Borrego Springs, CA 92004

With our rating system we can truly say that California Overland offers something for almost anyone that loves the Great Outdoors and wants to truly experience all that the desert has to offer. However,people with chronic back or neck problems and pregnant women should think twice about participating in our desert excursions. The Julian Wine-Tasting Tour mostly stays on asphalt and so is a somewhat gentler ride throughout. Our tours are rated on three levels of adventure; from easy to challenging.

California Overland
Passenger Carrier Permit # TCP18546S
© 2005-2015 California Overland, LLC
telephone 866-6-explore
phone 760-767-1232
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Photo © Dennis Mammana
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The Rating System & Pure Info

The Rating System & Pure InfoCalifornia Overland Infomation

What is an adventure tour anyway? Actually, we like to use the term “adventure excursion” or “eco-excursion.” This conveys that you are more a part of things than on a regular tour where you just sit and listen. Usually we don’t clobber you with a P.A. system description – you’re getting out and checking it all yourself. Our driver/guides stress the fragile beauty of the natural surroundings. And you’ll learn a lot!

Are you legitimate and official? We are licensed as a passenger carrier with the California Public Utilities Commission, Permit # TCP18546S, inspected yearly by the
California Highway Patrol and are sactioned as an official concessionaire of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. All our guide/drivers hold a commercial license.

What is the ride like? Terrain, drought conditions, vehicle suspension all affect the ride. Generally all our excursions involve some bumps, but the above rating system will help you choose the right level of bounce for you. Basically though we won’t be flying off cliffs at 80 mph or crawling along pavement. It’s somewhere between “Yee-haw!” and “Jeeves, I seem to have spilled some of my tea”. The thrills come mostly from the scenery.

Should we make reservations? Yes, then we can tell you of availability and give you other useful info. Currently we accept Visa, Mastercard and Discover.

Do you have a regular schedule? Our schedule varies according to seasonal demand, temperature and length of day. Contact us for the timetable
planned for your arrival.

Where do we check in? At our headquarters which is located at 1233 Palm Canyon Drive in Borrego Springs (click on Directions in the menu).

Can we be picked up at our hotel? Generally for our regular desert excursions everyone meets at headquarters, although if you require a pick up from one of Borrego Springs’ hotels we will try to accommodate you. A group taking a private excursion can arrange to be picked up from their local hotel as can folks on the Private Jeep Tours and anyone participating in our Julian Wine Tasting Tour. For a predetermined fee groups from more distant locales can be transported to and from Borrego Springs or Julian via our 12-passenger van.

What should I bring? You should wear closed-toe shoes and dress in layers appropriate for the time of year, keeping in mind that temps can plunge once the sun drops behind the mountains. Also be sure to bring sunglasses, a hat, sports bra (for the bounce!) — and, of course, a camera!

What do you provide? Our vehicles are stocked with ice water with fresh lemons, sunscreen, snacks for the two hour excursion and complete bag lunches for the four-hour and all day tours. There’s also cold apple cider on the wine tours in summer and hot cider on both desert and wine tours in cooler months.

What are the lunches like? Lunches are created by Kendall’s Cafe with a generous choice of roast beef, turkey, ham, tuna and vegetarian sandwiches on hoagie rolls, all available with cheese. There’s also fruit, potato chips and a dessert such as a home-made brownie. We’ll take your order when you reserve.

What is your cancellation policy? On the regular day tours there is a 24-hour 50% refund/same day no-show 0% refund policy. Overnights and large private groups carry a 72-hour 50% refund/24-hour 0% refund policy and may require a deposit.

What happens if there’s bad weather? Weather is a relative term in San Diego County and the desert region. There could be a cold rain falling in San Diego and yet be sunny and warm in Borrego Springs (that’s why it’s desert after all). Or it could be rainy near the base of the mountains and clear further to the east. There may also be strong wind conditions. Some of these make the desert an interesting experience — to a point. Your safety and comfort is our biggest concern so we will always err on the side of caution. If we decide to cancel a trip you are at no obligation to pay anything, but we make the call.

Can I bring alcohol? Yes, you may bring wine, beer or whatever. The view from Font’s Point is sometimes worthy of a toast of wine but, again, your safety is our main focus so overindulging is not allowed on any California Overland excursion or overnight (Don’t worry, you’ll still have fun).

If we have a large group can we customize our trip? We usually ask what folks are interested in and so most trips are somewhat different from others. If you have a large enough group you can reserve a private truck trip for a minimum fee that will be your magic carpet to wherever you’d like to roam.

Do you have group discounts? Yes. Give us a call.

Are there rest rooms? Like Mom and Dad used to say, “you’d better go now before we leave”. Actually aside from the restrooms at headquarters there are some pit toilets located near the entrances to some of our routes, but there’s plenty of shrubs and it is an adventure tour after all.

Can people with disabilities participate? While our excursions are not appropriate and possibly dangerous for some disablities, California Overland will do its best to provide all people with full access to our various activities. Therefore we are committed to taking reasonable measures to accommodate people with disabilities who wish to take part in California Overland activities. To address accessibility, please contact us at least one week before your intended arrival to discuss accommodation of your specific needs.  Our staff respects the individual’s right to privacy and confidentiality.

Will the kids like it? Riding around in a big 6-wheel military truck — oh yeah! If they like the outdoors they’ll love this.

What is the youngest age for participating? Three years old is what we recommend. The seats have lap belts so we can accommodate your car seats and boosters.

Should we tip our guide? Tipping is customary but optional just as in other guide and transport-based businesses. So if your guide has given you an exceptional experience full of great memories please feel free to show your appreciation.

The Rating System & Pure Info

Green Circle (Easy)
Terrain that’s relatively smooth, just a bit of walking and just long enough to get a good feel of the desert’s allure. Overnights use camp facilities with pit toilets.

Blue Circle (Moderate)
On these tours you travel on somewhat rougher terrain and may walk or hike a short while but anyone in relatively good health should enjoy the experience. We’ve had folks in their 80’s raving about their trek (read testimony in letter to editor). Overnights are “in the field”.

The Rating System & Pure Info

Black Diamond (Challenging)
These excursions feature rougher terrain and longer or more challenging hikes. Though, unlike a ski area’s black diamond you don’t have to be an expert at anything. But you should be in well-conditioned good health and used to some physical exercise. Some examples of black diamond features include the 1-mile hike uphill to the Wind Caves at Split Mountain or the 8-mile round trip hike to Sheep’s Canyon. See, not too tough.

Note: Occasionally California Overland may offer special events or excursions that merit a Double Black Diamond . The characteristics that deem this rating will be thoroughly explained in the description.

The Rating System & Pure Info