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Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is the largest state park in California. Five hundred miles of dirt roads, 12 wilderness areas and many miles of hiking trails provide visitors with an unparalleled opportunity to experience the wonders of the California Desert. The park is named for Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza and the Spanish word borrego, or bighorn sheep. The park features varied desert terrain and habitats, wildflowers, palm groves, cacti and sweeping vistas. Visitors may also have the chance to see roadrunners, golden eagles, kit foxes, mule deer and bighorn sheep as well as iguanas, chuckwallas and the red diamond rattlesnake. Listening devices for the hearing impaired are available in the visitor center. Many visitors approach from the east via Highways S22, S2, or 78. Visitors from San Diego and other points west arrive via Highways 79 and 78 can have the added pleasure of driving through the mountainous Cuyamaca Rancho State Park--quite a different experience from Anza-Borrego. The highways from the west climb to 2,400 feet or so and then descend about 2,000 feet to the valley. Where the highway breaks out of the high-country vegetation, it reveals the great bowl of the Anza-Borrego desert. The valley spreads below, and there are mountains all around. The Santa Rosa Mountains on the north side of this basin are notably grand. The surrounding mountains are wilderness, with no paved roads in or out or through. They have the only all-year-flowing watercourse in the park. They are the home of the peninsular bighorn sheep, often called desert bighorn. Few park visitors ever see them; the sheep wary in their defense against predators. A patient few observers each year see and count them, to learn how this endangered species is coping with human encroachment.

Flat hike out through tunnels, and over numerous smaller trestles ending at the large trestle. Beautiful scenery - reminded me of old western movies the way the tracks snake though blasted out rocks. OUSTANDING VIEWS NONSTOP.

There are side trails around most of the tunnels (which appear to have been used for the elevation chart for this hike). They provide more canyon beauty but the trails are over grown with cacti in places and make for a challenging walk around. I recommend taking the side trails around the smaller tunnels.

Entire hike was 9:45AM - 3:30PM (5 hours, 45 min) and included a 30 minute lunch break, lot's of photos and two "walk arounds" of the tunnels.

Park at the Nudest Colony - but the bar is closed Mon - Thursday - so you will need to have post hike beverage somewhere else.

I enjoyed this hike, the scramble over rocks through the canyon was especially fun. It was nice to be able to see a few different landscapes on such a short little hike. Walked back and night and lost the trail a bit but since it's in between 2 little mountains it's easy to stay in the right direction.

Male, 35 (and female companion, 29)
6', 240 lbs
Fitness level: average
Hiking experience: intermediate
Date of hike: 02/17/18
Pace: moderate
Total time: A little under 5 hours (app clocked us at 4:43 movement time)
Weather temp: 39F when we left by 9am, 68F upon returning to our car by 3pm

Ok, so I'm on the chubby side and we finished this hike in under 5 hours (movement time). This hike wasn't really that hard. The only thing that bothered me was my bum ankle from an old hockey injury, but other than that, it's not very demanding on cardio as long as you are not in horrible shape.

I prepared for the worst and was carrying a bunch of stuff in my pack that I didn't use at all, including 4 lts of water. I only drank 1lt during the whole trip with little to no transpiration. I should say though, that the weather was nice and cool so that played a big factor in not using up a lot of water. It got a little hot on the way back but it was nice overall.

Other than the obvious preparations for a long hike (water, food, aid kit, etc), I would like to emphasize the importance of wearing comfortable gear, shoes and clothing. It is a very long hike so any little nuisance from your bag, shoes, shorts, socks, underwear, etc that you think it's minor, will start to feel like a huge pain in the ass after a while. So make sure nothing is bothering you before you begin.

This is definitely one of the most interesting hikes around the San Diego area. There is a lot of cool things to see and great spots for photo ops. I highly recommend it.

EPIC! This hike speaks to the mischievous kid inside that wants to explore the abandon trains cars, dark tunnels, and cool bridges that your mom would never let you play on. I felt like I was on my own adult desert ‘Stand by Me’ adventure.
I hiked with two other in shape athletic guys and we did 3 hours out ( with lots of exploring and pictures) and two hours back from Deanza to the bridge.
Great opportunity to face your fear of the dark, heights, tight spaces, graffiti trains, whatever.

Hiked this yesterday. Unfortunately, I followed some footsteps and cairns into the valley instead of up the ridge line (where the real trail goes). Ended up doing some scrambling and bouldering until I reached the crest -- where my path intersected with the real trail. I was able to eventually take the trail all the way down from the summit, which was much easier.

It was colder and windier than I had expected (even mid-February) and wish I had brought a windbreaker, gloves, and a cap. Great hike nevertheless, with beautiful views 360º.

What a fun hike, easy but long 16 miles...FYI - De Anza Springs Resort doesn't open until 8am, if you plan on parking there...

hiking
4 days ago

We did it! Despite my son being convinced we were going to die in the desert (eye roll). He's 11 and dramatic. My 8-year-old girl loved it. The walked through the slot until it opened up and then turned back to go through it again.

I highly recommend stopping by the Anza Borrego State Park Visitor's center to get more information on the area and peace of mind when checking on the road and wash conditions, especially if you aren't driving a 4WD.

This is a short hike, a few steps down over rocks. I did see Seniors (one 80+) doing the trail. People of all ages, shapes, and sizes were hiking this trail seemingly without a problem. The only hindrance would be if you needed a cane or something to assist with walking. Otherwise, you're good to go. Bring water, as always. But this was SO awesome because a lot of it was in the shade and there was a nice breeze.

hiking
4 days ago

This hike has some beautiful views and is great if you’re looking to put some tough, leg-burning miles into your boots.

The first challenge is picking up the trail. There is basically no maintained trail from the road to the canyon where the trail really starts. We scrambled around the foothills for about an hour before finding the correct canyon.

After a short walk up the canyon, the route cuts up a very steep portion of the canyon’s western wall. This turn was easy to miss and the trail is barely perceptible in some parts. The gravely, cactus-y wash underfoot was pretty unstable and made for some hairy scrambling.

Once we made it to the ridge line, the trail became easier to follow, but the terrain underfoot remained very challenging, steep and narrow. At several points, a misstep in the crumbly wash could have meant a serious fall, injury or worse. We ended up turning around about halfway in.

Bring a lot of water and proper footwear for this one. I would not recommend doing it alone. I also would not want to descend in the dark, so leave plenty of daylight.

This trail is great if you’re looking for a long, rugged, somewhat daring ridge scramble. It rewards you with beautiful views and solitude, but is not for the faint of heart.

hiking
5 days ago

Great Hike! If you have a jeep or high clearance 4WD drive 5.7miles down Pinyon Mountain Road and turn right and drive .2 to end and beginning of hiking trail. From here it is a 5 mile out and back with 1,562 elevation gain. Yesterday the trail was very well marked with cairns. I was glad to have downloaded the All Trails map as back up. Amazing views and varied terrain. Might be my favorite hike in Anza Borrego.

hiking
5 days ago

Nice surface to hang. Beautiful setting.

It is a long hike, a little bit over 16 miles to be exact. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes.

off road driving
5 days ago

This is a nice intermediate trail for off-roading. A stock height vehicle may have trouble in a few spots due to large rocks and ruts in the trail, but we went through in a Jeep Wrangler with a 2.5' lift and 33' tires with no sweat. a few fun climbs, and close enough to a ledge to give an inexperienced passenger white knuckles. Fun little trail with cool slot canyons for hiking. I drove my Jeep into one of the slot trails and surprised my buddies waiting in their rigs when I drove out forward. :)
Once at the turn around sot near the mining ID sign there is a short hike up a hill to expose a great view of the Salton Sea.

great hike. easy to the homestead then some good Ole anza peak bagging to get ghost. Pretty easy route finding just watch out for cholla.

This is not something you get to do everyday. What an amazing experience this trail was along the tracks. We started on the trail by the nudist ranch off of exit 73 on I8. We only did the 7 miles to the bridge and came back. As some of the reviews have mentioned-this is a hike to be respected. Some of the tressels are starting to rot and the tunnels have falling rocks in them. Take plenty of water-and definitely avoid in summer months. The large tressel is amazing but is also showing signs of wear. I would most definitely do this sooner than later. It may not be safe to do much longer. But sooo well worth it.

Completed this trail for the first time today. The trail is mainly flat, so aside from the distance, I would actually rate this as easy, not hard. It was HEAVILY trafficked by other hikers and bicyclist. There are more than a handful of bridges and tunnels. Some tunnels are approx. half a mile long and dark, so I recommend to bring lighting. The weather was perfect! About 75° today, which is nice for the desert area.
Overall this was an awesome hike with plenty of exploring!

We hiked in from the South by Jacumba along the tracks we paid $5.00 to park at the DeAnza Springs lot (warning there are naked people walking around) but the path and parking was worth it. Very cool hike with many tunnels and bridges to walk across. Abandoned train cars along the way. It was about 19 miles round trip pretty much flat. We started around 8:30 and were back by 4:30, we stopped at the bridge for lunch. You need a headlight or flashlight for the tunnels. Bring plenty of water I ran out with my 2 liter pack would recommend 3 liters.

hiking
10 days ago

Certainly a must see..short but spectacular hike! This is a good one for kids/family in my opinion. Trail head can be difficult to find.

hiking
12 days ago

We parked under the bridge to get across. We should have parked closer to the gas station to cross all those dead shrubs, trees, etc. There is no trail for this hike but crossing all this is what made it difficult. If we had a machete, it could have saved us lots of time from crossing it to get to the mountain. I highly suggest for ladies to wear pants. I wore shorts and cut up my legs and had thorns in my shoes the whole time. Once we finally crossed we found no trail but made our own. We started on the southwest side of the mountain and came back the same way. I also recommend bring a trekking pole because you are going uphill and downhill. I think it would help you. I didn’t use one, but if I did it again I would. Once you get to the top, it’s a spectacular view! Bring stuff to write on a rock!

First thing, park in the nudist colony instead of at the gas station. You’ll be thankful when heading back to your car. Go to the office and it’s $5 a person. Well worth it! The trail is flat for the most part, but it’s still a hard trail. Feet and legs are sore! Two tunnels were long and dark so I highly recommend a flash light especially if you’re going just girls. The trestles were not my favorite but I had to cross them. There’s several but the main one was safer to me than the little ones. Once you get to the end it’s worth it. We saw a lot of people on this trail! Weather was in our favor. Take plenty of water and snacks. We took our 50l bag and 75l bags to prep for Havasupai Falls. Overall, we did it and loved it!

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