off road driving
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.
This trail is beyond over-crowded. plan on waiting in line to get through the tight confined spaces because everyone goes through then immediately turns around and comes back through the other direction to congest the canyon even further. people park and drive like idiots on the entire dirt road to the trail head. beautiful trail throughthe landscape but hard to enjoy with the constant need to get out of the way or be in the way of the other 50+ people continuously flowing through the Slot. We ended up going off trail the last 3/4 mile just to avoid the crowd.
Highly recommend going out some time soon while all the flowers are blooming. I started on the trail at sunrise and i was the only car in the parking lot, but by the time I was leaving the place was jam packed (even though it was a weekday). Definitely recommend going early! You'll get the sunrise (and that golden hour light), cooler temps, and less crowds!
Completed this hike today 3/25/17. The wildflowers were in bloom. The winds and cool weather made the trek easy to moderate today. Im sure during the summer this trail could be difficult if one doesn't prepare for the heat and bring plenty of water. Today though the weather made this trail inviting. I almost wished Maidenhair Falls was a few miles further. The trail gets lost several times during the final leg of the hike as you will encounter several areas where you must rock scramble at the palm oasis. Stay to the left and you'll have an easy time relocating the trail.