Mecca Hills Grotto Trail is a 8.7 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Mecca, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking and rock climbing and is best used from October until April.

Length8.7 miElevation gain1584 ftRoute typeLoop
HikingRock climbingCaveViewsWildflowersWildlifeOver grownRockyScrambleWashed outOff trailNo shadeNo dogs
Description
Waypoints (0)
Facilities
Getting There

Anywhere off the pavement on the right hand shoulder, if there's clearly a dirt road leading closer to the canyon than do so if you think you can drive through there without getting stuck.

Grapefruit Blvd (also Hwy 111), left on 66th Ave. which will transition to Box Canyon Rd., you'll have to drive approximately 2 to 5 miles after you pass Painted Canyon Road "T" intersection staying on Box Canyon Road.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (42)
Photos (215)
Recordings (49)
Completed (67)
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Kevin B
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJanuary 11, 2021
Hiking

This trail wasn't anywhere near as hard as people in the comments made it seem. This entire loop took about 2.5 hours, so for those of you taking 6 or 7 or 8 hours, either you are the worst map reader ever, or you took a 4 hour nap during the hike. The distance and EG are also less than the recording as you'll see the recording has some horizontal and vertical spikes in places it shouldn't. Trail is mostly in canyons/washes, with 1 main ascent to the mecca hills ridge and then one minor ascent up and over a hill (guess whoever created this just put it in for fun haha). I went down initially on the ridge and went back in the wash to see the palm trees. Also, the "cave" isn't really a cave (maybe that's why it's a grotto?). A head lamp definitely was NOT needed, you were in the dark for maybe 15 seconds and could've easily just felt your way through at which point you would see light again. So the "cave" was disappointing, but I enjoyed the views of the Salton Sea at high points.

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Eric Oleas
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Hiking
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Marco Sulin
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HikingGreat!
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Maeghan Sulin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 15, 2020
HikingGreat!

Many ??? during the hike. 3L water each. Headlamp. So Thankful to Calgary couple and Washington State couple. You all rock !!! Couldn’t have done it without you all :)

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Eric Pillai
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 14, 2020
Hiking

Freaking awesome trail. Be prepared for some slightly sketchy cave scrambles

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Athena Catsoules
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarNovember 5, 2020
Hiking

Good hike, but you’ll need a lot of water!

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Karina Hernandez
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJuly 5, 2020
HikingOff trailScramble

I definitely have to say it was a beautiful hike but it had many challenges. I would have to recommend getting very familiar with reading the map and the using the features on the app. The terrain map really helped when I go off the recommended trail. It is easy to get off the trail so follow it because I definitely had to go back many time as I entered a wrong canyon. Make sure to take lots of water if going in the summer. I started my hike at 4:30 am and ended at 12 because of how many times I went off the trail. But that was me learning! Be prepared mentally, physically and emotionally! Other than that, the grottos were amazing and the views. I would do the hike again as I am more comfortable now and it makes more sense! Loved the challenge though!

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Chris Chaffin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarDecember 31, 2019

Thoroughly convinced that whoever recorded this trail went clockwise, got lost after the first couple caves, feared the worst, then finally found their way out through another cave section that they didnt think they could make it through. That being said, it was epic! GPS is a must as several miles between about 4-6 are off trail. Dropping into the second system is a bit of a challenge with a steep decline and then a drop into a cave that is anything but easy. Bring lights, a gps like all trails, and plenty of water. And then...if that all wasnt enough, the last mile is a leg burner. We hike about 10-20 miles a week and this was about as hard a hike as we care to do. It was amazing but definitely a challenge. View and Obstacles are a 5/5, markers are a 2-3/5.

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Tawni Shaylin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 3, 2019
HikingScramble

Highly recommend using All Trails or other hiking app to assist with navigation! Great views, mixed terrain with varying levels of difficulty (a couple great climbs!), and a few caves that involve a bit of scrambling. We got a little turned around at the first cave you encounter going counter-clockwise, but it’s possible to go under to the left or overtop! Will do this again!

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Katherine Hanson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 9, 2019
HikingNo shadeOff trailScramble

This hike was stunning and definitely our favorite hike of the trip... but I would like to point out some of the difficulties we experienced. If you are not comfortable using your phone/gps to stay on route, I wouldn't suggest this hike. Although 60% of the hike is fairly obvious where to go (beaten path, cairns, etc), 40% involves scrambling and checking to make sure you're in the right valley/canyon etc, as sometimes the trail completely disappears. We were on the ridge part of the loop (definitely on trail) and ended up having to slide on our butts down this ravine-y thing since the trail disappeared, which all in wasnt that bad, but could have been if we dropped into the wrong valley from the ridge. The grottos are narrow and do involve some scrambling/ using rock walls/ ropes to get you up and down, but its nothing impossible and you aren't in total darkness for more than a few minutes at a time, which I appreciated. You should definitely bring a headlamp though, as you'll need your hands to navigate some of the sections. Overall, I would really recommend this hike- we essentially had it all to ourselves, but with the additional getting lost and such, it ended up being about 10 miles and took us 6 hours. If you're looking to explore and focus more than your typical follow the marked trail, this hike is definitely for you!

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Burney W
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 19, 2019
HikingNo shadeOff trailScramble

As pointed out below, no chance I could navigate this trail without GPS. Very nice hike, little shade, the grotto require headlamp and willingness to use ropes in a few sections. I'll be back to do this one again one day!

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John Woodford
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 18, 2019
Hiking

Just use all trails and you’ll find your way thru caves, mountain tops and canyons. Bring plenty of water. I didn’t use my trekking poles. Big mistake.

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Jeanne Leslie
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 2, 2019

This hike has it all. Box Canyon road is washed out so you need 4 wheel drive. Trail head is 5 miles past ladder canyon on the right. You need headlamps for the Grottos. Also good hiking boots. Trail is tough. Very steep ups and downs. It was cold and windy on the ridges so abit dangerous. Trail is difficult to follow in some places. Yes you do go down a sheer drop to the canyon on the way back. Some tight squeezes through the Grottos also but a rope is installed at one point and also a new ladder on Grottos one. Best to do this hike with someone who knows the trail. I’ve done the hike twice and saw no one else on either hike. This hike is more technical than hard. You also can’t be claustrophobic or afraid of heights. It is an epic hike. Glorious views of Salton Sea and the surrounding Mecca hills

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Steve Fields
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarNovember 18, 2018

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.

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Ian Ferguson
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Road is closed to trail

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Is Hi
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Hiking

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

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Vic Hanson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 9, 2018
Hiking

The Grottos can easily be gone through without a rope or climbing gear. You will need a light unless you are up for groping your way through in the dark. If you don't see an opening look to the left or right side, there is a rope in one place if I remember right. One passage is very narrow and a bit of a scramble but not difficult.

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Ron Brown
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJanuary 23, 2018
Hiking

The grotto is fun. The trail shown in All Trails is not there in many places. Some washouts and in some areas the trail is extremely dangerous. TAKE ROPE AND GLOVES! My wife and I back tracked through the Grotto since trail became too dangerous for us.

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Rosie Murphy
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 30, 2017

Starts out as a pretty boring walk through the wash, but gets to be a lot of fun once you start caving. Bring friends and plenty of water.

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Paul Kemp
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 22, 2017
Hiking

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.

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Dallas Dallas Broadway
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMay 11, 2016
Hiking

I finally know what it feels like to go to he'll and back. a word of advice to others, bring a GPS your phone won't get reception, bring more than a gallon of water I ran out 3/4s of the way through the trail because I got lost, bring repelling gear for decent down steep side mountains; the terrain was hard to keep footing. Also last but not least don't trust the topo maps they aren't accurate. Have fun and please plan for the worst but enjoy the hike.

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Robert Hernandez
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMay 1, 2016
Hiking

This trail is very difficult to follow, there are a few poles with rocks on them to help guide you as well as some rock arrows out. Went on a Saturday morning with not a single person around. The trailhead sign is gone but 2 poles are still there, be careful to park on the hard dirt so you don't come back to being stuck in sand. Make sure you use the mapped trail and follow it through if you start the loop to the right the grottos are caved in. You can either crawl through the hole to the left or climb over it to the right you will need to climb a few other places as well. The trail is extremely washed out and at many times will break down as you walk on it. Be careful out there!

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Jeffery Williams
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 22, 2016

Had a great time took the trek to the right the cave in the back is caved in so I had to find an alternate route but I found one and went through the other side cave and had a great time views are spectacular

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Jeff Bicknell
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Hiking
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Cyril Rocoffort
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Hiking
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