Ladder Canyon Trail

MODERATE 217 reviews
#1 of 12 trails in

Ladder Canyon Trail is a 4.5 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Desert Center, California that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from October until April. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
4.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1437 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

views

waterfall

wild flowers

bugs

old growth

rocky

scramble

washed out

no dogs

Grapefruit Blvd (also Hwy 111), left on 66th Ave, which will transition to Box Canyon Rd., left on Painted Canyon Rd.

hiking
2 days ago

this was a great half-day trip for us.

the road getting in was washed out by a recent rain but we totally did it in 2 wheel drive or just recommend something with more ground clearance cuz there's some larger rocks but I definitely saw some smaller cars like Honda Accords and a Mercedes E-Class that made it in there and a Ford Mustang came in behind us.

if you're doing the ladders portion of the hike when you get to the top go right and follow the rock piles we made the mistake of going left and it brings you to the end of the Rope portion of the hike which is not so bad going up but it's a little scary going down

we went on 9/23/17

hiking
2 days ago

hiking
10 days ago

hiking
14 days ago

Such a beautiful place to hike through. The canyon was narrower than expect, but it gives it a little more excitement. You do walk on sand most of the way. I just went a few days ago and made it fine driving at 10mph in a Ford Focus. Follow the tire paths slowly, watch for rocks and holes and it's fine, I never felt the car even come close to getting stuck .

21 days ago

Awsome place you can make it with 2wd just drive slow my Corrella made it no problems.

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

I've seen several reviews on this app/site, as well as others, that suggest 2WD can certainly make it out to the trailhead by exercising caution at 5mph. I went ahead and ignored the "4WD Only" sign, trusting my fellow 2WD reviewers. We made it within 1/2 a mile of the trailhead (it's about 5 miles on the gravel/sand road - Painted Canyon Road). At that point I felt my wheel bury into the sand. I threw it in park and turned to my friends: "We're done. We're stuck." There were a few nearly successful attempts at getting out with one friend pushing. Unfortunately, I gassed it too hard and we got REALLY stuck - half the tire under sand/gravel. It took about 30 minutes of the one guy friend we had with us, digging the wheel out and shoving a flat rock/floor mats under the wheel to finally get us out. At that point we decided to just head back. We already had a full morning at Salton Sea and Salvation Mountain so we decided to call it a day. I'm sure the hike is beautiful. The canyon walls around us were certainly breathtaking. Just... bring 4WD with you...

hiking
1 month ago

1 month ago

Favorite hike in Southern California

hiking
1 month ago

Family of 4 (hubby, 12yo, 14yo and me). First canyon hike! Need to come back and do entire loop in more moderate temperature. Only got through ladder parts and turned around. Didn't finish because everyone was feeling too hot (97+ in shade at 9:30am) and decided to play it safe since we have several more days of vacation. Climbing ladders and boulders alot of fun for the boys and me. Hubby felt a bit claustrophobic...

2 months ago

2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

Just made an account, but I enjoyed this hike on April 11 2017.

Dirt road, kinda bumpy but my car did fine at slower speeds.

Not much shade one out of the slots which is the 1st 1/3 of the hike.

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
4 months 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!!!!

hiking
4 months ago

4 months ago

5 months ago