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17 hours ago

We had some difficulty figuring out exactly where the canyon began, so it could be more clearly marked, but overall very cool. We went when it was pretty hot out still. I don't recommend it but we managed! Not a difficult hot but definitely gets hot out there.

20 hours ago

Such a fun easy hike and a close little drive in you live in Oceanside/San Diego Drive! Narrow rocks are quite beautiful and a nice getaway from the city!

hiking
23 hours ago

The trails at the Poppy Reserve are more like 8 miles and can be strenuous with a brisk pace. Rattlesnakes can be seen stretched across the path asleep warming themselves just avoid them and walk around in a wide arch. What may be an annoyance is the intense freezing wind so have something to cover ears. Definitely have water in hand as the drinking fountains were not working. Pull in and drive up to unmanned kiosk and please make a donation in provided envelope. Then park and you will see the 24/7 unlocked restrooms. Up the path to left is closed visitor center. (Open during poppy season March-April.)
The several trails loop around and it’s wonderful if you like being alone in nature. There’s several easy to medium incline but nothing is difficult just maybe annoyingly windy. Cell phone service is nonexistent. You may see 1-2 people off in distance otherwise may not see a soul. Great distant views and gravel But mostly dirt paths. Don’t skip. Nighttime it’s accessible but tons of nocturnal critters in total blackness isn’t advisable for enjoyment. Downright spooky! Track your steps and you will find your up to 10000 in no time walking all paths. They all loop back - check it out!

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
23 hours ago

Probably more like 3.5 stars- lovely scenery but not mind blowing in terms of the destination (the oasis). Low-moderate difficultly- Not too many large changes in elevation. A nice outing though.

hiking
1 day ago

Beautiful trail. Fairly easy to find but I accidentally took a private road coming back. Easy parking, clean bathrooms, great views!

hiking
1 day ago

Hiked Painted Canyon and the Ladders Trail yesterday. The road signs say 4WD vehicles only, but we drove two 2WD vehicles (one small sedan and a mini van). The road was soft and sandy in a few spots, but we had no problem driving to the trail head. There were other 2WD cars parked at the trail head as well.

The ladders were all in excellent shape. Just one ladder had one broken rung. Thank you volunteer trails workers.

the trail itself was mostly a wash basin. There we're some well maintained stairs for most of the climbs. There were plenty of places to do some bouldering, and side excursions. we ended up making it a 3-mile loop. Moderate is a very good description, nice for adults and still kid friendly.

We are planning on going on MLK day and would like to know the condition of canyon Rd. Especially with the rain fall we received for the past few days. We planning on taking a 2WD. Thanks.

hiking
4 days ago

Cool area. Parking is weird. I would park at the campground.

Cool trail. Creek crossing is easy. Wildlife all along the trail.

hiking
7 days ago

Great hike, check out my guide on HikingGuy for more info

Bridge, tunnels, and abandoned train cars are really, really cool. The rest of the hike becomes really, really boring! It's 14+ miles of COMPLETELY flat walking. The only elevation gain was climbing 2 small hills because 2 tunnels are blocked. So don't expect any cardio.

The nudist colony is also pretty interesting. Well-kept, welcoming community with funny signage. There's a buzzer at the gate, you drive to the office (follow signs), talk to the nice receptionist and pay $5/person (cash or card), and go back to the gate to park and start your walk. You'll hit the train tracks after 1 minute. Take a right (North) and follow the tracks the entire way to the trestle bridge (7 miles). There are abandoned cars less than 1 mile into the hike, then you'll have some fun walking through some tunnels of varying lengths.... and then the boredom of monotonous walking will start creeping. And obviously it gets worse on the walk back. The tunnels are your only reprieve from endless flat walking.

In hindsight, mountain bikes would've been PERFECT!

We didn't encounter any security (Saturday in mid-Jan 2019). It took us 7 hours out & back. That's a fast walking pace plus adequate time to stop and explore the cars, tunnels, and bridge.

There are 2 tunnels that are blocked off. The 1st you'll scramble over a small hill. We went just to the left (West) of the tracks and came down just to the East of the tracks. Pretty easy, but allow space between people in case you kick a rock down the hill. The 2nd tunnel you'll follow an obvious walking path around the hill. It's a long wraparound to the left (West) of the track. Careful of cacti.

All of the structures are in good condition. Most of the bridges you cross have metal grating for walking. But watch your step! If you're not paying attention, there are gaps and some trip hazards. ... and there are caved-in tunnels that you'll see next to the current track route. They are cool, but be careful because if they caved in once....

Note there is zero water and zero shade at high-noon except the tunnels and cars. However in the winter, the morning sun was behind hills the the southeast for much of the hike. Most of the hike is along the western side of the hills.

Enjoy! Too bad it's not a 5-mile round trip hike. Because the unique sights are awesome, but they're too few & far between. If you have mountain bikes, I HIGHLY recommend going that route instead.

hiking
7 days ago

Honestly it was a really great hike I went on Sunday and there was a light traffic of people, however it was still extremely enjoyable. I’ll admit I actually got off the path a few times, so I had to use this apps map to help me get back on course. Going down to the actual palm trees was a challenge, but it was worth it. There are many beautiful scenarios along the way so I recommend doing this hike.

hiking
7 days ago

Easy yet epic hike, check out my guide here: https://hikingguy.com/hiking-trails/best-la-hikes/devils-chair-hike-devils-punchbowl-natural-area/

hiking
8 days ago

We completed this hike January 1st 2019. The Painted Canyon Road is open to get in, but as mentioned below Box Canyon Road is closed where the roads meet. I would suggest a truck, although we got in with a rental Buick Encore. There were other groups at the trail head with small cars as well. We went up the ladders and went around the ridge and came back down the canyon. This was 3 hour trip at a decent pace. This was our 5th time on the trail, and would highly recommend it.

hiking
8 days ago

Gate opens at 8. No entry fee. No pass needed. Gradual incline. January is a great time to go. Saw more people as the day went on. Saw a bobcat and a few rabbits. Rainbow rocks start about 3 miles in. Small waterfall but worth the effort to find it.

hiking
8 days ago

This hike was incredible. We had 4 wheel drive and had no problem getting down painted canyon road. All of the ladders we encountered were metal and pretty sturdy, except for the occasional broken rung. Definitely worth the climb for the amazing views.

hiking
8 days ago

Did the hike today and it was amazing seeing the storm roll in. Very windy at the top so I’m really happy I brought a jacket. I left my water in the truck and I was fine without it even though the uphill got me sweaty. Loved smelling the wet creosote on my way down when it started raining just a little.

Was on the trail yesterday and the road is in excellent condition. If you stay on the main road and don't go off onto the sandy off shoots on the road you will not need a 4 wheel drive. The trail is in excellent condition however none of the ladders are bolted down any longer so you may want to have fellow hikers hold the ladder steady as you ascend or descend. The ladder at mile 2 which is the last one before you emerge up from the lower canyon is in bad shape. One of the middle rungs has broken through and ladder is swaying sideways from metal fatigue. I suspect this will need to be replaced very soon other wise you will have to turn back as there is no way to circumnavigate this area. Once you emerge out of the canyon and descend into the lower wider canyon there are lots of flowers and great views of the massive canyon walls. On the last 2 down climb ladders the last ladder is in poor condition. The last 2 rungs are blown out and most of the other rungs look like they could go anytime. Proceed with caution on that one! other than that the trail is amazing and in good condition. Highly recommend!

hiking
9 days ago

Hiked January 12th with Rain, rain but great hike. Watching for water flows but safe and sound. Saw 2w/d cars at trailhead. Could be a long trek if one goes all the way up and around.

PS: Regarding previous posts, why would anyone take a dog on a route that is known to include ropes and ladders?

I am in my mid 60’s with bad knees. My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed the hike . We had to cross the creek 18 times in each direction. There was a nice bit of rock scrambling as we crossed the creek and climbed the canyon. The weather in January was fabulous for this hike.

hiking
12 days ago

Watch out for glass at the beginning of this hike.

Great hike. Not too long, but moderately difficult. Amazing views from the top!

Beautiful and unique hike. We are a four person family with two college age kids and it was fun for all. Slightly challenging in some parts but worth it for the views. Makes you feel like you are an explorer!

Hike was very nice !!!

hey john, box canyon is still closed and you will definitely need 4WD for painted canyon road (some parts are soft sand)

Beautiful trail, great for beginners. Lots to see and explore.

15 days ago

By far the neatest hike I've done. loved walking through the narrow canyon. you can even climb up to the top. soo soo much to see. so many different directions you can go. once u make ur way out u will hit this HUGE hill u have to climb/walk up to get up and out of the canyon and back to the parking lot. once up that hill u will be the whole canyon wide up from the top. I will def be back, hopefully to backpack..

Awesome hike. Trails are a bit narrow at times and hard to distinguish. You have to really look for hooves Or foot prints. View at the turnaround is breathtaking. Did it during winter time. Cold gear necessary.

Great hike with friends

Absolutely beautiful trail!

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