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.

Although the railroad ties and the rocks of the grade make the walking difficult, the old tunnels and the wooden trestles make the payoff three-fold. The summer is fairly hot, be sure to enjoy this hike in the cool winter months.

I'm giving this hike 3/5 stars because we didn't end up finishing it- admittedly due to a lack of preparation. I tried to rely on the Alltrails path in order to do this hike. I don't recommend this approach. The trail is very poorly marked, and the trail that is coded into Alltrails isn't really a trail at all. Following the trail on the app requires scrambling up steep slopes with large boulders. We ended up making it up to the false summit, about 1/2-2/3 of the way up. Due to increasing winds and the a decreasing amount of sunlight with about 1,000 feet to climb, we decided to turn back.

I would definitely be interested in trying this again, as I'm sure the views from the top are incredible, but would need to map out the route in advance.

4 days ago

Great little trail with spectacular views.

6 days ago

This is a great scenic hike. It's mostly flat, but that doesn't mean it's easy. The surface is pretty uneven, so if you're prone to knee or hip pain, you'll want to pack some pain reliever.
I know people bring their dogs on this trail, but I wouldn't recommend it. This trail is NOT dog friendly.
There are 10 tunnels on the way to the trestle, one of which is a half mile long. If you don't like being in confined spaces or the dark makes you uneasy, I would find a different route to take to the trestle. There are also 7 large trestles and 2 small trestles that you must cross to make it to Goat Canyon.
If you'd like to read my full write-up, including the history of the "Impossible Railroad," check out my blog:

absolutely beautiful - we've done this a few times including a two day backpack trip

Nice long and flat! We started from the nudist ranch. 18 miles round trip

12 days ago

Awesome beauty BUT cactus spines and dogs don’t go together.

Great trail. Highly recommend to wear hiking shoes with good grip. You’ll also be climbing a lot of boulders and few crevices. Somewhat tough to navigate but definitely use this app to know the way you came. There’s a lot of split offs where it’s easy to go different ways so this app came in clutch for that. We took our dog, he’s a boxer and was able to handle it with help climbing up boulders from time to time. Don’t take your dog unless it is athletic and you are able to carry it in some spots.

i loved this trail though it was definitely one of my favorites near San Diego. It was tough but very fun.
It took 4 hours.