May 18, 2011 by Rob Hurlbut
Border Field State Park Fence
The last time I went to Border Field State Park was in January, in the dead of San Diego’s winter and there were hardly any people, on either side of the border. This ultimately set the tone for that post as somewhat morose and unpatriotic. This trip, three months later was right on the cusp of summer, so there were more people around, mostly on the Mexican side enjoying southern California’s most southern beach. Enjoying the beach and the sights across the border is really only half the fun. Finding and navigating through Border Field State Park are adventures in and of themselves, so that’s what this post is all about. By the time you finish up with this post you’ll be an expert ready to have some fun in the sun and make the most of your trip to Imperial Beach and Border Field State Park.
No Trespassing Signs On Monument Road
The road and signage on the way to the park is not exactly user friendly, and the website for Border Field State Park is not any better. In a nutshell, you’ll be heading west on Monument Road, passing signs like what you see above all along the way. Don’t let the signs or their somewhat garbled message fool you because as you see these signs and trailheads on the south edge of Monument Road you can rest assured that as long as you park your car when you head out, you will be OK. I’m not saying to ignore the signs, I’m clarifying to you that you can walk or ride a horse all over the park.
Border Field State Park Entrance Gate
If you chose to continue west on Monument Road, you will eventually arrive at the proper entrance to Border Field State Park at 1500 Monument Road, which is what we see above. The vantage point for this photo is facing west, with the Pacific Ocean exactly 1 mile to the west, straight ahead. The closed gates you see are almost always closed because the paved road that leads to the beach area of the park is almost always flooded. Even if the road wasn’t flooded, the gates would only be open on weekends anyway, so this is where experience takes over because most people see this, assume the entire park is closed, turn around and go home. This is where you’ll drop off your car to roam the park whether or not the gates are closed, as long as it’s during the operating hours of the park.
Flooded Monument Road
Here is the secret to enjoying a random or planned trip to Border Field State Park: Bring a bicycle or a horse for everyone in your group. The flooded road you see above is the reason for the entrance gate being closed most of the time, as well as the mosquito problem Imperial Beach suffers from every summer. This photo was taken by me in late April and will probably replace the whale in my nightmares because every inch of this standing water held MILLIONS of mosquito larvae that will no doubt be swarming over Imperial Beach in a couple months.
Anyway, park your car at the entrance gate and then jump on your bike, your horse or put on your walking shoes and head west. From the parking lot you have to go west for 1 mile, turn left at the ocean and head south for another half mile to get to the border fence. Bring a bike; you might me fine with walking to the beach, but by the end of the day you’ll be begging for some form of personal transportation.
Border Field State Park Secondary Fence
After you park at the entrance to Border Field State Park, head west and then turn left (south) at the Pacific Ocean, you will have about a half mile trek to the actual border between Mexico and America. The photo above is presented to help you out on your trip to the park. When I took the photo above I was facing east and the Pacific Ocean was lapping at my heels. The fence you see on the left, heading towards me represents the border for American citizens while the other fence in the center leads to Friendship Circle. The famous border fence that is shown in the first photo of this post is out of sight, just to the right. The area between the actual border and the fence above as well as Friendship Circle are government property that American people have “no right” to be on, even though we are a government of, by and for the people. Don’t walk past this fence or Border Patrol agents will have a talk with you. I’ve received a talking to twice, even though I crossed this plane only once.
Border Patrol Vehicle At Border Field State Park
Monument Mesa is the area on the border, above the beach and that is where the photo above was taken. Just to the right of the photo is Friendship Circle. Border Patrol agents are everywhere around here, which makes Border Field State Park very unique because there are no park rangers in this park. Border Patrol agents monitor our borders by questioning, arresting and detaining people. Park rangers help ensure visitors to said park have a good time. Border Patrol agents run this park, see what I mean? Don’t be afraid of them, just be aware that you’ll see them and they may let you know not to approach the primary fence.
Horses And Border Patrol At Border Field State Park
That being said, just make sure you don’t approach the actual border fence. As long as you don’t do that, you’ll be all right. Border Field State Park is the only place in San Diego you can ride horses along the beach, so if you are an equestrian, I would take advantage of that. Above we are looking north from the border, with horseback riders and at least one Border Patrol Agent looking on. You can see the beach is deserted, so don’t be afraid to walk around, even with Border Patrol agents staring at you.
People Waving Through Border Field State Park Fence
This brings me around to my conclusion, more or less. Border Field State Park is fun if you know when, what and where to assimilate what all the signs are telling you. Don’t come within 40 feet of the actual border and make sure to bring a bicycle. Border Patrol will do their job, Mexicans will try to talk to you through the border fence and people like me will try to take photos without being accused of terrorism. Saying it like that sounds bad but it’s the truth and I hope it will help you enjoy your time at Border Field State Park. Please be sure to look at my photos from my last trip to Border Field State Park earlier this year. Cheers!