Explore the most popular views trails in Mecca Hills Wilderness with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Hidden gem in the backroads of BLM land. This trail is full of caverns, ladder bridges and at the same time, wide open spaces, washes and amazing views. One of my favorite hikes in or out of Joshua tree.

First, the road is closed due to heavy rain about 3 weeks ago. The road is washed out and in very poor condition. If you go past the road closure, the “T” intersection make sure you have a 4x4 or all wheel drive vehicle. The Grotto hike is boring up until the slot canyon and cave.

hiking
2 days ago

Did this one today. Road says closed because of recent rains but it didn’t seem to stop anyone. You will need AWD to make it back though all the sand to get to the parking. Lots of ladders, bouldering, and scrambles, beautiful views from the top. SLOT CANYON, so much fun, and beautiful.

Just don't take the first canyon trail unless young and in-shape. I mistakenly did. Wild and exciting but demands rope-climbing capacity and more. Rope pretty narrow so gloves required. Should have partner in case of trouble.

Road is closed to trail

hiking
5 days ago

We've got a trip planned for Thanksgiving Weekend. I'd appreciate any updated road info for Painted Canyon Road.

So the first thing we encountered was a large road closed sign. People were turning around BUT DRIVE AROUND it. The road leading to the trail head is sandy but if you have a 4 wheel drive SUV you can make it. A two wheel drive car - you will make it most of the way then have to walk about 15-30 min depending how far you get.

Once you make the trail, stay to the right for the ladders and left for the ropes (it’s not marked).

Depending how you get down, you might have to descend a rope which is challenging. My wife who is in pretty good shape had a freak out. But overall it’s not too bad.

I have done this hike multiple times and highly recommend.

hiking
12 days ago

@BRUPac ;) I understand the road in is washed out from both ends, but which end did you start from with your 4x4? I have a tacoma 4x4 and wanted to attempt to reach the trailhead this weekend.

went there yesterday 11/3/18. Left a review on the ladder canyon road review section. highly recommend 4x4, but will be honest, a Volvo awd SUV made it all of the way and a 2018 Toyota Camry made it over half way, before the real soft sand. I'm adding a few pictures of the road to judge for your self. go in groups or have recovery gear to get yourself out.

off road driving
15 days ago

Just went this weekend, definitely should take a 4x4. The whole road has been completely washed out and there are areas of supper soft sand. I have a pretty build truck, and did it all in 2 wheel drive, but there were a few times where we were running about 40 mph then it would just start digging in and I really thought about putting it in 4x4. The bonus was there were only 2 other couples that made it there, so was nice having the whole place to our selves. The ladders have been repaired and were pretty solid. I'm going to add a few pictures of the road. 11/3/18

http://rctlma.org/trans/Road-Maintenance/Road-Closures

I’m going to head down there tonight. Website says it’s still closed. Hopefully not.

Update.
Road is definitely closed. No problem getting to the trail tho. Lifted 4x4 recommended only. 2 spots that would be tough to get around. Plus the ground is pretty loose.
Jeep Wrangler for reference. Saw some Tacoma’s also back in there amongst other wranglers

Can anyone say if the trail is back open..Thank you

Can not leave comment without rating. Can anyone verify the route to the trail is again open?

Amazing. So beautiful. Easy and breathtaking. I’d do over and over again

on Painted Canyon

hiking
25 days ago

I had a great time doing this hike -- ropes & ladders made this fun & the canyon views were well worth the effort. I did this hike 2 years ago & hope to go again.

Road is washed out and we were unable to get to the trailhead. You can probably do it in a large SUV but there is literally no road.

hiking
30 days ago

This is definitely an exciting, interesting slot canyon and relatively unknown since everyone does ladder canyon. For fun, excitement, beauty, uniqueness, and low traffic, I'd give it 5 stars. It's a great slot canyon. But it's extremely DANGEROUS. The ropes are frayed and poorly maintained. You have to be very athletic (and trusting of the ropes) and have lots of upper body strength. And there are many ropes to climb. One slip and you can be seriously injured. If you broke a leg, it would take hours for help to arrive and hours to get you out of the canyon. Think about it - it would take an hour for your friends to climb to a place where they can call for help, hours for rescue personnel to climb the ropes, and even longer to get your stretcher out (no helicopter rescues here) It's simply not worth the risk for me.

hiking
1 month ago

ROAD CLOSED! Can't access the trailhead. Road is closed for construction. Can only make it to 8km from the trailhead and then Box Canyon road ends. Too bad. You might be able to make it with a large 4x4 that has clearance, but there's no actual road to speak of.

hiking
1 month ago

It is one of the best trails out here in the valley

Tried to get to this hike this morning via the road from Mecca. The road is still closed at the Coachella Canal Road on 66 Ave/Box Canyon Road. ...I was not sure how to leave a comment without giving a star rating, so gave a 1 star but that is not a rating on the hike itself?

Box Canyon Road is closed. 10/7/18. There’s no way to get to trail. We went for a different hike in the area. My co-worker said a man went missing on the Ladders hike after the rain storms last week. Not sure when they will be opening the road.

Heads up! Box Canyon Road is blocked off due to being washed out.

hiking
1 month ago

First time visit to Ladder Canyon/Painted Canyon. My wife and I were there on 9/29/18 and arrived about 09:30am. Hike was excellent! Good little work out and the ladders were a fun new twist. Trail was very easy to follow, just follow the arrows. Even though it’s becoming cooler, it was still a hot hike. About half way through you hike up and out of the canyon for a nice view of the area and small view of the Salton Sea. You will be exposed with no shade for about 1.5 miles so bring plenty of water and sunscreen. I ended up sharing my water with some young hikers that didn’t bring enough and were hurting for it. Walk back is in the canyon and had intermittent shade. Overall fun experience and great little workout.

hiking
2 months ago

Really fun hike and hot! Went on Saturday and temps reached 104° I froze my water bottles the night before and had cold water the entire hike as the ice was melting. theres an arrow at the beginning of the trail that veers you left. avoid that trail unless you want to climb ropes so I headed back and started over this time going straight until I saw the second arrow pointing sharp left that's where the ladders are at after you climb some boulders. Thank you Jennifer Murphy your review was really helpful. I ignored the white arrow with the (?)
and ignored the ladder to my right. went straight ahead and stayed on track.

Basically a fire road. Really easy drive to hiking area. Was washed out pretty good when we went 9/27/17. But took it in 2 wheel drive the whole way. Plenty of cars made it through, even an E Class Mercedes sedan. Cars and lower trucks just be careful to drive around the bigger rocks. On the way out saw a large flat rock with a scrape across the top and transmission fluid dripping off of it, again was washed out from rain 2 days prior. Most if the time the road looks like it is graded and pretty smooth.

hiking
2 months ago

Overall this was a beautiful hike, and extra fun with the ladder element. Amazing views of the mountains, sky, and you can also see the Salton Sea. We started around 9 am which was later than planned, but made it out around 12:15 so wasn’t too bad. I would definitely recommend a hat and long sleeves for when you’re exposed on the upper ridge in the summer. On the first half mile and intermittently throughout the last two miles there is shade. There are white painted arrows on the canyon walls and rock-shaped arrows on the ground to help guide you. There’s one difficult part where you see “Up (?)” in white paint. We took the path first, but it looked like we were off of the trail so we walked back and went up the ladder disregarding the question mark. The gravel was quite loose, but we made it to the top. However, then it said we were on the ridge and also not on the trail. Once we were up there was no going back down that way. We took a left based on the map’s guidance and eventually it converged back into the correct trail so we were fine, just in the open sun much longer. Bring plenty of water!

hiking
2 months ago

For an easy hike this was definitely worth my time.

Loved this hike, bring lots of water.

hiking
3 months ago

Solid hike- 105F+ in the summer months, although throughout the canyons there’s plenty of shade. Lots of wildlife there too, observe the hills around you as you pass through the canyons. Views are stunning from above. A must!

Such a unique place. Challenging but fun hike, we went late morning. It was about 101 when we set out and before we hit the half way point we turned around because of the temps. Back at the car it was 107 and even though we had plenty of water, there were parts of the trail without any shade and we were starting to overheat. Aside from that we really enjoyed this spot and will make a return trip very soon and head out early for sunrise. The mountains and rock formations are amazing here and you’ll have plenty of photo ops in the canyons. Pack out what you pack in... dirt road is a bear coming down Painted Canyon Rd. Be ready for some major vibrations for about 5 miles of unpaved road. Best done in a truck, your pretty luxury car will cry coming here.

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