Pinyon Ridge Trail to Mt. Wilson

MODERATE 12 reviews

Pinyon Ridge Trail to Mt. Wilson is a 10.6 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Ranchita, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until November.

10.6 miles
1,748 feet
Out & Back




mountain biking



wild flowers

no dogs

5 months ago

Did this as a day hike in windy conditions. The trail is mostly in good shape, only as it passes by Mt Wilson does it get a bit more ambiguous to follow, then completely peters out as the low desert comes into view. The scenery itself is reason enough to hike this trail, and by itself it is enjoyable as well.
Access to the trailhead is via a dirt/sand road barely the width of a pickup truck. Badly rutted, with a few minor boulder crossings. Tried both parts of the road, from Montezuma Valley road S-22 near the switchbacks leading down to Borrego Springs to the trailhead, and then out to S-22 via the other leg, for the final mile crossing over to Old Wilson Road which is in much better shape. I recommend only using the first leg, it is manageable for high clearance vehicles whereas towards Old WIlson Rd there are long ruts about 18" deep which are difficult to avoid. Also note the trailhead can only accommodate 2 vehicles for parking, however 1/4 mile West is a cluster of campsites with more room to park.

8 months ago

We started at the Jasper trail /CRHT on S-22. then jumped off the Jasper trail onto the cut off for the old CRHT to Culp Valley road and followed that to the Wilson trail head. it's a very desolate trail. We didn't even see wildlife other than a hare and a deer. The trail disappears in more than one area, probably due to the 2013 fire and numbers of users dwindling. Downloading the map and using GPS to stay on point was necessity. The boulders and rock formations were really fantastic. The foliage is starting to recover in certain areas and it is apparent at some point in the near future the not-so-used trail will become overgrown, but hopefully not disappear completely. As you near the end on the trail ( the last mile) there are lots of sandy areas to camp. Climb any of the boulder hills and the views are phenomenal. We could see all the way to the Salton Sea. There is no water or chance of water at all anywhere on the trail. The day before we left, we drove to the Wilson/pinyon ridge trail head and hiked 5 gallons of water a little ways down the trail. On backpack day 1, we carried them and cached a gallon here and there along the trail for the return trip. In the end every went through 7-8 liters of water.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Beautiful;Astonishing. I can't wait to come back

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Epic hike with amazing views and tons of places to camp. The trail can be a little tricky towards the end as it washes out. Kinda just becomes a rock scramble free for all. Lots of cool spots to chill, and plenty of mini peaks to bag. Would be a great place to do some orienteering as well. I will definitely be back to this one.

Friday, September 06, 2013

A scenic 9 mile hike through great wildflowers (in season) to a ridge that overlooks the Anza Borrego Desert State Park valley floor below. (Date hiked: April 22, 2011.) Read the full write-up at:

7 months ago

7 months ago

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Sunday, October 30, 2016