Sandstone Canyon Hike — Anza-Borrego

Borrego Springs, CA

After our brief stay out in the desert, we are now parked in Palm Canyon Campground, which is part of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.  The park has full hook-ups and pull-through sites about sixty feet long.  If you go on-line to make a reservation it will tell you the maximum length RV is 35 feet, so if your unit is longer than that just put in 35 feet and you are good to go.  Do try to stay away from sites 11-19 because they are quite sloped.

One of our first adventures here was a visit to Sandstone Canyon.  From Borrego Springs it is a drive of about twenty miles to the little community of Ocotillo Wells.   There you turn right on to Split Mountain Road and drive about five miles until the pavement ends.  You then turn right into Fish Creek Wash .

Fishcreek Wash


As you drive up the wash (easily driven with any vehicle with a little clearance) you pass trailheads for the Wind Caves and the Oyster Shell Wash, both very interesting hikes.  But we continued up the wash for almost fifteen miles to Sandstone Canyon.

We love these Jeep slots

The end of the line – time for some hiking!


We thought we had come to the end of the line for vehicles as there was a circle where people had turned around and there appeared to be no way for a vehicle to continue.

But a closer look revealed a place where some crazies had driven over the rocks and back down into the wash where they continued further into the canyon.  In the photo below you can see the many black marks on the rocks where tires were spun as the desert vehicles climbed over.  Sure would like to have seen that!

We hiked up the main wash a bit then turned west into a smaller canyon.  About a mile into that canyon, we turned into a smaller one to see if we could gain some elevation and find a lunch with a view.

A little rock scrambling added to the work-out


Narrow slots added to the adventure

OK Meriwether Lewis, what’s up ahead?

We finally scrambled to the top and had a great view to the east

Oops, coming down can be a bit tricky on loose rock! (note: no hikers were injured in making this blog post)


There has been a bit of rain in the desert so some of the vegetation was looking quite healthy.

Teddy Bear Cholla with an Ocotillo on the left


Orcutt’s Aster


This turned out to be a great adventure.  We enjoyed fifteen miles of winding, fairly smooth Jeep road through the rocks followed by a scenic hike through the rocks to a great view point.  Add in sunny skies with temperatures in the mid seventies and absolute solitude and you have a perfect day!

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14 Responses to Sandstone Canyon Hike — Anza-Borrego

  1. Looks like you are back to good hiking lands! I am envious!

  2. Ingrid says:

    I find it fascinating what survives in a harsh desert environment like that pretty little aster. Glad to see the nimble hiker in her element 🙂

  3. Back to hiking forms! and yes we are so envious! Sandstone Canyon almost looked like the drive on Titus Canyon.

  4. pmbweaver says:

    Beautiful huge site!

    How in the heck could a vehicle get over those huge boulders? They were insane.

    Perfect is so right! What a gorgeous hike. I love the view! Thank goodness that nimble hiker was not injured. I think the Teddy Bear Cholla are my favorite of all cacti!

  5. Sherry says:

    Looks like an excellent day though poor Ruby might not be able to do even that road. We need a different toad for the desert that seems clear. Thanks for the details on the campground and the really beautiful pictures of the climb and view.

  6. Janna says:

    Looks like a great hike! And there’s that word again, solitude! :)))

  7. Gay says:

    Awesome! Love the rock scrambling on foot or in the jeep. Wish we were there!

  8. Laurel says:

    Sunny skies–mid 70’s–solitude–a beautiful hike–looks pretty perfect to me! So happy you guys are in Anza Borrego because I know you’re finding some good new hikes for us. 😉 We’ll be following in your footsteps at the end of February.

  9. Jodee Gravel says:

    Thanks for the campground pic – those look like great sites! We may try for a few days in March if we don’t have the solar yet (or if it’s getting hot then). Great combination of drive and hike and scramble. Glad that little slide wasn’t closer to that cholla!! I’m sure Pam is most grateful you captured the moment 🙂

  10. LuAnn says:

    Glad to see this post. Those slots do look familiar. I am thinking we have been through them before. And Pam, you look so graceful when you fall. 😉

  11. rommel says:

    Wow! A bit of Grand Canyon in Anza Borrego it looks like.

  12. I think Mike and I need to get a jeep. That looks like fun!

  13. Pam Leonard says:

    60 foot pull thru with full hook up at a state park?? Sweet!

  14. Janet says:

    You found a great place to jeep & hike. Great Fun!

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