nature trips



dog friendly

wild flowers

kid friendly

Thanks to the restless San Andreas Fault, the geologic formations of Mecca Hills Wilderness are among the most unusual sites of their kind in the world. Entire regions are exposed layers of eroded rock, some over 600 million years old, and are a source of valuable information to scientists about the effects of tremors on the earth's crust. The area is a badlands labyrinth, a natural maze of small, narrow, steep canyons. Colorful Painted Canyon runs in a general north-south path through the middle of the Wilderness. Sandy washes sprinkled with ironwood, smoke trees, and paloverde divide the area, while ocotillo squat on gentler slopes and the tops of mesas. Bighorn sheep occasionally cross over from the Orocopia Mountains on the east, where they find more water. You may see spotted bats, desert tortoises, and prairie falcons. The non-Wilderness corridor of Box Canyon Road splits off a small southern section of the area in which you'll find Sheep Hole Oasis and Hidden Springs Canyon (reliable sources for water). If you look closely, you'll discover caves, known locally as grottoes.

The drive in is slow but so worth the trip

It is a fun and easy hike. If you hike up the narrow canyon where the ladders are on your way back there is nothing but sand and gravel to walk back to the parking area.
There is a lot of shade in early morning or late afternoon.

Fun and challenging hike. Several latter's and small rock faces to ascend and descend on the loop. Make sure to go left at the trail post (wooden post on the right side of the trail maybe 10 minutes from the trail head, there will also be rock arrows on the ground pointing you into the rocks. It is much easier to ascend the latter that direction than descend.

10 days ago

11 days ago

17 days ago

Even though the park was packed because of thanksgiving, most people only hike to and from the ladders leaving the rest of the loop desolate and peaceful. Just follow the arrows and stacked rocks. Will definitely hike this one again

18 days ago

21 days ago

This was a great hike and a nice surprise with the different terrain, slot canyons with ladders and open ridges with beautiful views of the Salton Sea. A relatively easy walk taking under 3 hours. The only drag was we had our rental car broken into when we returned. Nothing was taken as we left nothing in the car. We just had to contend with the broken glass and return it to the rental car agency to replace the vehicle. We were not the only ones. One other cars glass was broken too and there was an attempt on a Mercedes but they couldn’t get through the safety glass. Don’t go during the week when it it quiet as this is when the break in usually occur.

Start going left and get the hard part out of the way. The trail is amazing