Galleta Meadows Metal Sculptures in Borrego Springs

Only in California can a State Park be overrun with massive metal sculptures in the name of art. I am not even beginning to complain though as the Galleta Meadows Sculptures in Anza-Borrego are some of my favorite things to take new adventurers to. There are over 130 and as you are driving around they just seem to pop up out of nowhere, it is so awesome. So read on for how to find them and which are my favorites.

Borrego Springs Sculptures 11

Details

  • Always open
  • Get a map here or buy a pocket guide from the Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association
  • You need to drive as they are too spread out to walk between

History

Borrego Springs Sculptures 1

This all began which the owner of the Galleta Meadows Estate, Dennis Avery, decided he really wanted to add a bunch of free standing art to his massive property. He enlisted the help of Ricardo Breceda who began crafting these amazing sculptures and they started to pop up around the desert. Mr. Breceda often claims that he is done creating the sculptures but then another one pops up in the barren landscape and the speculation continues.

Borrego Springs Sculptures 7

If you are driving from LA or San Diego you will want to proceed down S22 into the valley that houses Anza Borrego. From here the sculptures are literally all over the next 10 square miles. Since the surrounding landscape is so barren it is easy to see them while you are driving. Some are right off the road while others are off in the distance, but most have at least some sort of dirt road to get to them (be careful driving these as they can have some sandy parts). You will want to pick up a map in the city center if you are wanting to see them all as the map will direct you to them.

Borrego Springs Sculptures 5

Here are my favorites:

The Sea Dragon

Borrego Springs Sculptures 4

No list would be complete without mentioning the sea dragon as it is the biggest in shear size of all the sculptures and it actually crosses the road so it is impossible to miss. The dragon must be seen to be believed. When I saw it for the first time I just wandered down the entire body to see all of the intricacies in its build.

Borrego Springs Sculptures 2

It rises about 15 feet out of the ground and is 350 feet long.

The Scorpion

Borrego Springs Sculptures 9

The scorpion is my second favorite, behind the dragon as it is so detailed and massive. I would say this sculpture is probably about 15 feet tall and 10 feet long.

Borrego Springs Sculptures 8

It seems to be in a fight with a grasshopper across from it. The grasshopper is amazing as well and you should really look at its wings as they are so intricate in the way they were made.

The Mammoth

Borrego Springs Sculptures 13

There are a few mammoths as well which are probably 20 feet tall and 15 feet long. They are massive and have awesome tusks. There have been a few skeletal remains found of mammoths in this area which would have no doubt been crazy to see.

The Camels

Borrego Springs Sculptures 10

The camels are majestic sculptures with unique fur and postures. I always find it so crazy the way these characters are in positions such as the camel kneeling, it seems like that would be a lot more work but makes for a amazing sculpture. You can see in the above photo how much attention is paid to even getting the muscle definition on the camel.

The Sloths

Borrego Springs Sculptures 14

I admit I didn’t know what these were until I looked at the map, but the way he made them laying over instead of standing up is an amazing feat. They are designed to look like the Harlan Ground Sloth from the fossil remains that have been found in the area.

Borrego Springs Sculptures 12

The sloths also have the most unique fur of all the animals here as well, I cannot even imagine how long it takes to make this “fur” from the metal. It adds another dimension to the artwork.

Borrego Springs Sculptures 18

The Dinosaurs

I like to think this dinosaur was guarding the stop sign, but either way it was pretty awesome. This is one of the smaller statues but it is still fun to see.

Borrego Springs Sculptures 15

There are a good amount of dinosaurs around the park, at least three separate installations. I especially like the teeth that he uses on the dinosaurs as it gives them a strong look.

Galleta Meadows-12

The Horses

Galleta Meadows-5

Most of the horses are not directly off the road but more in the distance, this adds a lot to them as they appear more like actual animals and less like sculptures.

Galleta Meadows-4

There are a lot of horses and I am sure I haven’t even seen them all, but you can see them fighting, galloping, etc. 

The Indian Head

Galleta Meadows-15

The Indian head represents the Indians that helped play a major role in expeditions to California in the 1770s. It is one of the more different sculptures in the park as the Indian actually has a different color metal for his head.

The Turtles

Galleta Meadows-11

One of the many fossils said to have been found in this valley, the turtles are pretty mean looking but are cool to see.

The Prospector

Galleta Meadows-6

This area was one of the first that gold miners moved to when the rush started. This sculpture is very intricate and the horse itself has a ton of detail on his pack. It is one of my favorites.

The Spanish Padre and His Dog

Galleta Meadows-17

Another really unique sculpture, this Spanish Padre Pedro Font who was also on the expeditions into the area. He has a string of prayer beads that are made of rocks and a wooden cross that he is carrying.

The Jeep

Galleta Meadows-22

The jeep is made to represent the offroad presence that helped to define both the state park and the area surrounding it. It is modeled after a 1946 Willy’s Cj-3A, which was one of the first Jeep models.

The Wind God Bird

Galleta Meadows-1

This bird is based on fossil findings in the area which show a bird with a 17 foot wingspan. It is shown with an example of what its prey could have been. It is a pretty crazy sculpture, especially with the way the feathers look.

I have seen as many of the sculptures I could find in this area but I am sure there are more I missed. Let me know in the comments and be sure to pick up a map if you make your way down there so you can see them all for yourself.

Interested in supporting this blog?

This blog is simply a hobby and labor of love for me. If you have enjoyed the posts consider sharing it with your friends. I want as many people as possible to explore this state and you can help by letting them know about all of the great spots!

Subscribe to the mailing list for a weekly posts recap!

About JoshMc

Thanks for checking out the blog, I am happy to be sharing my adventures with you! You can get to know me by reading my about me, which includes a video and additional information on the site, myself and my full disclosure. Also, follow along on Twitter here or read all of my posts on this blog here.

  • Quang

    You mentioned the sculptures are spread across 15 miles, can you drive to the ones off the road? Or do you have to walk to each of them? Or is it a combination of both walking and driving?

    • You can drive to almost all of them. Most of the roads are dirt to the sculptures but none of the dirt roads are very long of the main road, most less then a quarter mile. If you grab a map you can drive around and see most all of them in a few hours with a lot of stopping in the car but not too much walking.

      • xorgebusiness@yahoo.com.mx

        Hi Josh,

        I need a off road vehicle to reach the sculptures?

        • You will have to drive on the dirt a little to reach some of them but I have done it in a small 2WD Toyota many times without problem.

  • Don Brown

    How long did it take to make all of the sculptors and when did they start?

    • I would say it takes about a half day to make it around to most of them. I would start in the town itself as you can pick up a map there of where they are all at then start the drive

  • Don Brown

    We are iin Palm Springs and our friends took us there today! I think they are fabulous!! I especially like the horses off in the background and the Padre and Prospector!! My least favorite is the dragon, but it is still very interesting. Thanks for the blog and photos.i

    • Thanks for coming back for another comment! I agree there are a lot of fun ones to check out and I appreciate you letting me know which ones were your favorites!

  • Ellen

    I just came back from seeing these beautiful sculptures. As you say, you can see most of them from the road but much better if you can drive up close. However, when we went to the see the turtles and the Indian sculptures, I unfortunately got stuck in the sand! Called AAA and it took 45 minutes for them to come out only to tell me that it will cost me $360 to get pulled out and AAA would not cover because it was more than 50 feet from the road! With two grandkids under 5 and 94 degrees, this was not a fun experience. So beware of the road when going to view. I met the artist and he said he had to be pulled out four times himself. The dinosaurs were really spread out and deep into the dessert. We had a great but expensive outing.

    • Thanks for the suggestion and sorry to hear about your not very fun experience!

  • Nicole Rosenbaum

    These sculptures are one of my favorite things about Borrego and there is a lot to love out there. The Chinese dragon is my personal favorite. Great post!

    • Thanks for the comment, I agree the sculptures are one of the best things about the area!