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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.

hiking
10 days ago

This was an amazing hike. Loved hiking on the sandy trail The ladders didn't feel very stable but other than that super fun!!!!

My boyfriend and I found this trail by accident. We were looking for the ladder canyon trail but fell upon this trail instead. Let me just say, we do not regret this trail at all! It easily became one of our favorites because we love a challenge.
Tips: Wear sunscreen! There's a lot of shade because of the slots but once you've climbed to the last rope it is nothing but sun. There are rattlesnakes so be sure to talk loud to get them to warn you when they are near. There a few tight spots but my boyfriend who's 6ft still got through so definitely take your time and be patient with coming up tactics to climb down.

Got a little lost after making it to what looked like the end of a trail after starting on the left side of the trail. Climbed out of the canyon was in and was able to find my way back down to the ladder portion of the hike. Once down in the taller canyons the sound from the wind was so powerful- it made the visions of water rushing through them fill my soul. The energy was amazing

hiking
25 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

Bring a ton of WATER. No joke, it was hot out there. I probably didn’t follow the standard trail, as I took the ridge. I’m guessing it goes thru Hidden Spring trail. I did get to parts that you can crawl thru. I didn’t end up going thru the whole thing. Saw many interesting formations and points of interest. Not a soul was out there. Plan well so as to not get lost. Poles and arrows helped a lot. I Saw a tree that looked like Lima beans were in the pods, but could be poisonous; no idea.

Great hike, lots of fun, not too crowded. My girlfriend and I really enjoyed this one. We would label it as easy, but there are tricky parts to it. We found a secret path to the loop, so we ended up doing the hike twice, so we could see the main trail also. The secret path gets very narrow, so you have to be lean to make it through. I'm 5'11'' 170, so you don't have to be tiny:)

hiking
1 month ago

This is a really fun hike in a beautiful slot canyon. Ropes and ladders make it fun for the kids as well.

hiking
1 month ago

Great trail, absolutely worth the 4 mile washboards road in! My little Honda Insight made it through okay and I saw lots of other sedans in the parking lot too! Don't be scared by the 4 wheel drive sign!
Make sure you use the map once your out of the canyons! Looks like there are a lot of intersecting trails that can make it easy to get lost!

hiking
2 months ago

Hiked Ladder Canyon on a recent trip to Palm Springs. The last 4 miles of the drive were slow going. Although there is a sign recommending 4 wheel drive, it wasn't necessary, but don't expect to get over 10 mph. The gravel road had heavy washboard and some rocks on the road.

We started our hike around 9AM with 8 people of various hiking ability. The narrow Ladder Canyon portion was great. It required some minimal climbing around some of the ladders. We really enjoyed this portion. Once we got out of the narrow canyon portion along the top of the ridge you need to walk towards the "cell phone" towers. There were a few groups (including ours) trying to determine the right path. There were great views from the top ridge but hot with full sun. After a while you work your way back down into the canyons again. There were areas of shade and various rock formations and colors. After about a mile of walking in soft soil/sand we were ready to be done. By the last mile we felt like we had seen it all already. We would do the hike again, but would have been good skipping the last mile (which you can't). It's worth the trip. I recommend starting early and bring a lot of water.