no dogs




nature trips


wild flowers


kid friendly

off road driving

trail running



mountain biking

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.

on Canyon Sin Nombre

1 day ago

This trail is the museum of geology.

1 day ago

Honestly, the hardest part was finding a trail through the scrub brush and mesquite trees, since there is none. This stuff is definitely full of snakes. Try getting to the base by accessing the small dry wash under the train track bridge. We tried walking around the west side and to the south which was the long way around and found some pesos and other evidence of smuggler activities so always be aware of your surroundings.
There is no clear way to the summit but up, so pick a line. Bring a flag (U.S. of course) as the one that’s up there might need to be replaced. Once you get to the top it’ll be worth the effort. You’ll be able to see Jacumba Valley and Mexico, and some of the Coyote Mountains plus all the now little vehicles driving on Interstate 8. The views are amazing! I have driven by this hundreds of times and always wondered how to get up to the top.

it was nice day to hike this flat and long 16 miles Trestle along with fellow hikers.

Awesome place to hike, unfortunately today we were told by the Rail Road workers that starting next month you will get a ticket if you are on the trail as it is Rail Road property and they will begin work on it.

We hiked from Mortero canyon road off of S2 to Deanza springs resort in Jacumba about a week ago. We almost made it to the tracks near Dos Cabezas mine. The two wheel drive small car almost made it all the way to the tracks but we still had to walk some of the dirt road to the tracks. Our total miles for the trail was 17 miles. We didn’t leave until midday but thanks to the clouds it wasn’t too hot. What a great hike. Flat but exciting. Some beautiful desert walking. We did not arrive to the resort until after dark but thanks to the tracks we didn’t need headlamps. After our hike we found the bar at deanza resort was open. We went in for a naked burger and a beer. Oh my god what a great time we had. Everyone was so nice. We party like rock stars and ended up camping. We loved it so much I applied for the bartending job. Highly recommend this hike and the resort. I think it was like $8.00 for us to camp at the resort that night. But know the Bar and restaurant are only open Thursday afternoon to Sunday afternoon. Not open Monday through Wednesday.

on Fonts Point

off road driving
5 days ago

I do recommend if you are in the area & have time you want to visit.
unofficial trail head.
I have used the longer of the two trails.
Trails were good, but I wouldn't use a passenger car. I found areas that had some deeper loose sand that would stop a car, & 1 or 2 areas that would need a higher clearance vehicle. A stock 4wd works fine.
The views are great & found some nice photo opportunities.
The activity level was steady flow of around 20-30 people.
The area is clean thanks to all who visit that are respectful of our outdoor points of interest.
I did not see any restroom or porta potties so plan ahead.
Have fun!

5 days ago

This map does not represent trail to the scenic overlooks. It does not show the correct trail head and will lead you in the wrong direction.

To start, this is an awesome hike! It is such an awesome experience going through the tunnels and observing the ruins of trains, tunnels, and work equipment along the way.

We decided to start from De Anza Spring Resort (nudist resort). When you get to the gate hit the intercom button and they will let you in. You will then drive 5mph to the office. Follow the signs and you will find it. It is $5 per person and they will need a copy of each person drivers license. From there you will head back towards the entrance gate to park and you will see rocks lined up and outlining the trail to the railroad.

Once you get to the railroad, take a right (away form the freeway) and follow the train tracks until you reach the trestle.

We decided to go through all of the tunnels, so our elevation gain was approx 2,000 ft. You could easily add distance and elevation gain if you go around the tunnels (there are trails, not sure on the quality).

Make sure on the hike you bring plenty of water, a bright flashlight or two, and comfortable shoes. This is not a good hike for warm weather and we found it very enjoyable right after the rain.

Another recommendation, as you see all the ruins and cool things to check out, do it quickly on your way out, then when you are on your way back, spend more time checking out and taking pictures. If you spend too long looking at this stuff on the way out, it is very possible to end up walking back in the dark.

Finally, after the hike we started researching the history and there is so much cool stuff to learn about. Might be worth learning the history before hand so you can understand the different ruins you are seeing.

Enojy, this is a long one, but so many unique experiences that I will never forget. This is on the top list for hikes.

Hiked this yesterday with my 4 amigos. We were a group with varying degrees of fitness, but all hikers. First, take at least 3 L of H2O, it get's hot up there. It helps to drink some electrolytes beforehand or eat some blocks during. There is no shade! Start out with sunscreen on and re-apply liberally. We started at 8:30 a.m. and only averaged a mile or so per hour. I would recommend starting earlier if it is warm. When we finished it was 85 degrees! Too hot IMHO. I would NOT park at the abandoned tractor tires, I would go on down the road to the structure and park there. Go up on this side. For the first part of the trail, it is mostly way-finding. Once you get up past the first ridge, there is a bit of a trail and we built some cairns to help you out. Not so many cairns at the first part. I would recommend lug-soled boots and poles. The trail can be unkind in some places and you need good traction and support. Great work-out and nice views.

Starts with the Borrego Palm Canyon Hike. Follow the canyon a few miles past the first palm grove, then ascend the ridgeline to Indianhead Peak. The elevation gain is all in the last couple miles, very steep and difficult. Lots of fun bouldering, but most of the mountain is composed of schist which breaks off in shards and covers most of the mountain in loose and slippery rock. Slipped and fell into cacti several times.

Wont be hiking the peak again, but the canyon hike was beautiful, have never seen so much water there. Glorious.

11 days ago

Did this hike yesterday. Wouldn't suggest any first timer to do it without a downloaded map. That's what we did and we lost 2 hours searching for the entrance to the canyon that leads to the peak. If you still do, then the entrance is by the sign which says "only foot traffic after this point". You go through a canyon and once you get out of it look for the tallest peak opposite to you and start walking towards it through the field of cacti. Just go straight... don't bother to look for tracks or a trail cause there's none (at least we didn't find one). When you get to the base of the mountain go all way to the end (which is to your right). That's where you'll find entrance to the second canyon which will lead you to the peak. Good luck! And don't forget long pants and long sleeves otherwise you'll end up with millions of scratches and spikes in your skin, as cacti growth is really dense and cholla is everywhere!

We did this hike years ago & loved it...went again yesterday with friends visiting from Vancouver...great hike & we were lucky to get to see some big horn sheep grazing by the streams edge. Weather was perfect! Disappointed that the Oasis pool is now barricaded off from getting in the water but still an enjoyable experience :)

17 days ago

Amazing hike. Trail is well marked with cairns. Suggest long pants and sleeves as trail is rife with cacti and other shrubs. Very cold and windy at the top but worth it for the stunning views. Saw one other group on the trail, very peaceful.

Did this as a day hike in windy conditions. The trail is mostly in good shape, only as it passes by Mt Wilson does it get a bit more ambiguous to follow, then completely peters out as the low desert comes into view. The scenery itself is reason enough to hike this trail, and by itself it is enjoyable as well.
Access to the trailhead is via a dirt/sand road barely the width of a pickup truck. Badly rutted, with a few minor boulder crossings. Tried both parts of the road, from Montezuma Valley road S-22 near the switchbacks leading down to Borrego Springs to the trailhead, and then out to S-22 via the other leg, for the final mile crossing over to Old Wilson Road which is in much better shape. I recommend only using the first leg, it is manageable for high clearance vehicles whereas towards Old WIlson Rd there are long ruts about 18" deep which are difficult to avoid. Also note the trailhead can only accommodate 2 vehicles for parking, however 1/4 mile West is a cluster of campsites with more room to park.

Quite difficult I encountered two rattle snakes on two different occasions but if you get past that and the fact that it’s quite steep you’ll make it to the top and have an amazing view... this is a more memorable hike for me because of how visible it is from the highway

This was a great 15 mile out and back trail. The day was Beautiful, but we started late. On the way back to our car we encountered killer chilly winds. Depends on what side you enter, be prepared to scramble over rocks to get through tunnels. Overall great fun exploring.

this is really only a 2-mile hike from the turn off the road to the top of the Hills. could not find the starting point on the road for the complete hike

Our group also hiked this one in February and the weather was perfect. We started at the parking area and walked the Jeep trail (some in the party did not like this part) but once we reached the Slot canyon everyone was pleased. I myself find beauty in most hikes and this one was no different. There are some great views at the start of an open desert, then you hike on the Jeep Trail for a bit with above canyon views and drop in at the end. Very nice.

24 days ago

Walked the Slot in February and found it to by a nice hike with interesting scenery in the canyon with narrow as well as wide walled areas. We did not know it looped and did not have our AllTrails app so our hike was short, but it was nice. I wore a pack on this one, and some spots can be tight to squeeze through with a pack.

This is a wonderful hike, especially if you are looking for that Oasis out in the desert spot to enjoy! We hiked it in February and the weather was perfect! Starts in sand, rock and cactus and ends with palms, shade and water! We found it a very enjoyable hike!

Feb 25 2018. Serious bushwhacking for majority of trail past first palm grove. Basically you are inventing a trail past the first palm grove. You have to follow the water up the canyon, you gain about 1000 vertical in 3 miles up the canyon. With the slow go of route finding / boldering it took us nearly 2.5-3 hours to get to the top of the canyon so we did not get to the peak. Great canyon though as we saw multiple bighorn sheep, beatles, and desert hare. Wear pants, the plants will shred your shins.......

24 days ago

Great little trail. Getting in at the trail head might be tough for those that require a cane to walk, it gets pretty skinny at times but awesome fun. The trail can go much farther than is listed if you want to.

Pay attention to trail markers so you don’t miss your exits.

Very nice hike. Not one to speed through. Take the time to just stop & view the varied scenery & vistas. Alternative trail down is rocky & has enough uphill to make it interesting.

off road driving
25 days ago

Completed this trail 02/24/2018 Via a 2004 Toyota Landcruiser with 32 inch tires no lift only side steps removed .starting in the Julian area and ended at the S2 . Trail has an unlocked gate might need 2 people 1 to hols the gate one to drive threw it . Trail is not difficult starting in Julian it can be completed in 4 high . There js a side trail approx 200 feet up a steep rutted hill at
33.047086 , 116.539230 . This trailed must be completed in 4lo and what ever traction aids your vehicle has turned on . I did manage to 3 wheel up the side trail and down the side trail with no damage. After completing this , the trail is uneven hardpack for a couple miles then you start and decent traveling next to a cliffside with baseball size rocks there is a squeeze at one section with only a couple inches between the Landcruiser and rocks . A couple of microwave size rocks need careful tire placement. And a Sharp turn with some rock stacking from previous adventurers . Hit the valley floor and about 15 minutes your out .

I recommend this trail for stock vehicles equipped with 4 Low and about 9 inches of ground clearance. Trail is more interesting heading up the trail from the s2 in Anza ending in Julian . There is a few side trails which can test your courage and rig . Good luck.

off road driving
25 days ago

Really fun trail. First few miles are pretty open and fast paced. At about 7-8 mikes in you come to a steep very rocky uphill climb. Lots of big loose rocks. High clearance a must. I put it in 4L to make it easier. After that it opens up again and leads you out to the valley and continues on to the rest of Coyote Canyon. There were 2 water crossings. Not too deep

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.

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...

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