Big Split Rock (#4)

EASY 4 reviews

Big Split Rock (#4) is a 6 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Desert Center, CA that offers scenic views and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking and walking and is accessible from November until February.

6.0 miles 300 feet Out & Back

kid friendly




old growth

no dogs

One of the trails at Mecca Hills, in Thermal California. Open all year to all skill level. From the trail head parking follow hike the open canyon for 1.5 miles until you see where the three canyon meet. The one on the left is the Big Split Rock. This canyon will get narrower and transition to a slot canyon. When you arrive and see the boulder that's around 50 feet diameter wedged on top of the canyon you will have discovered where the name came of this trail inspiration came from. Continue underneath that boulder for another 100-200 feet where the trail dead ends at the dry water fall.

7 months ago

Great trail for the entire family to explore. Ropes are challenging but the ladders are ok for the whole family.

9 months ago

Excellent trail for kids. Parking was a bit confusing but we managed to figure it out. We weren't able to make it all the way through as the canyon became too narrow for us all to squeeze through. We had fun exploring the other side canyons though!

1 year ago

Love this trail. My first time hiking through a slot canyon. Plenty for rock shuffling and climbing. It gets tight as further out. Only slender people will be able to sqeeze though. If you do get through, you'll come to a dead end - a dry fall. I was contemplating climbing up, but the opening is too narrow since a large rock is wedged just above the opening. I was worried it might come down on me if I tried going through the opening.

The other review of this hike said that the climax of this hike is a massive fallen boulder. This is not the Split Rock referred to in the book "140 Great Hikes in and near Palm Springs". The split rock is actually the narrow entrance before the dry fall, and is actually a fault line.

2 years ago

What anybody will notice as you're driving through Painted Canyon Road, you'll see many open canyons on the right hand side with the line of boulders at the entrance to prevent people from entering using off road vehicles. Big Split Rock is the first open canyon on the right hand side 500-800 feet away before the road dead ends. So if you ended up at the dead end which is a parking lot for Ladder Canyon hikers. Just drive back 500-800 feet, now on your left hand side you'll see the turnout and trailhead parking.

The goal next is to hike that open canyon after 1.5 miles you will see a junction where three canyons meet. The one on the left is where you'll want to go to; that would be Big Split Rock trail. When you see the huge boulder thats wedged, that's the climax of this trail, its pretty obvious when you see the size of that boulder, its massive, equivalent to 25 large school busses. Probably around 75 to 100 feet in diameter, the trail doesnt end there of course, it continues for another 200 feet where it dead ends at a dry water fall, also where the slot canyon becomes too narrow for anybody who were hoping to climb up that dry water fall.

The bonus hiking this trail is to see the other two canyons at the junction, especially the middle canyon, if you dont? You'll regret it.