A Bit of Hiking Around Borrego Springs

Borrego Sprngs, CA

We’ve been enjoying ourselves in the past week here in the beautiful “Springs at Borrego RV Resort” just relaxing and playing some golf.  The park was completely filled over the holiday weekend with children on bikes and skateboards all around us.  But now the families have returned home and the park is almost empty (just the way we like it!).   During the past week we did manage to get out for a couple of Jeep drives and hikes.

For one hike we went back to a trail that we hiked on a visit here two years ago, the West Butte Borrego Mountain Trail and The Slot.  To reach the trailhead we drove south on Borrego Springs Road for about ten miles to Rte. 78.  Turning south on Rte. 78 we drove about two miles and turned left on Buttes Pass (a dirt road) heading north up the Borrego Mountain Wash for another two miles to the trailhead.   At the trailhead you have a choice of hiking trails.  If you don’t want to go very far but want to experience a beautiful slot canyon, you can just drop down into a wash and go into The Slot (about a half mile in length) and back.  We wanted to make a loop by hiking east from the parking area on a trail leading up into the Borrego Mountain area.  The trail then loops back around and drops steeply into Borrego Mountain Wash and ends by going through the slot for a five mile hike.

Hiking up and down rolling hills before going up the mountain

Looking back west as we go up the trail

Looks as if a dinosaur became encased in rock

After enjoying lunch on top of West Butte we headed back on the trail as it ran along a long, narrow ridge heading down toward the wash.

At the bottom of the ridge we had to navigate down a steep embankment as we dropped down into the wash.

Once in the wash we hiked up a Jeep road for about a mile before entering the slot.

Someone got creative along the Jeep road

Entering the slot

Today we invited Dave and Sue to join us on a trip to one of our favorite spots in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Ghost Mountain, for a visit to the remains of the Marshal South House.

A one mile long steep trail from the southern edge of Blair Valley leads up to the site on a flat mesa just below the top of the mountain.  The skeletal remains of the house, known as Yaquitepec, still stand — a rusted bed frame, the base of a large adobe oven, the frame for an arched doorway, and many cement and barrel cisterns that once caught the seasonal rainfall, the only water available other than what was hauled up the trail.  Here is where poet, author, and artist Marshal South and his family lived from 1932 to 1947, pursuing a primitive and natural lifestyle that became well known through South’s monthly columns written for Desert Magazine.  Abandoned for 68 years, the desert is slowly reclaiming the mesa as the structures deteriorate.

The doorway is all that remains of the house

Keeping track of time on Ghost Mountain

Meditation Cove – is he really levitating?

Lunch with a view (of the South house)

Hiking back down the trail

Pam and Sue weave their way down the steep part of the trail

We only have a few more days left in our stay here so we need to pack some more hiking and golfing into our plans.  Then it’s off we go to Arizona.

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29 Responses to A Bit of Hiking Around Borrego Springs

  1. Lenore says:

    Oh, it’s good to see you in those slot canyons again. You look right at home.

  2. Wow, you got Sue out on the Marshall South trail?!?!? Nice!

  3. Jim and Barb says:

    Of course you would take the 5 mile trip rather than the easy route, why would you consider anything else? It was packed in Zion last weekend too, glad things are back to the quiet and peaceful work week.

    • placestheygo says:

      Haha!! Of course, I need to take the “high, long road!”

      Zion is so bad with a crowd. The park just isn’t big enough. Enjoy the week with the work force back where they belong;)

  4. We haven’t hiked either of those trails, something for next time. Love those slot canyon hikes!
    So where in AZ are you heading? Maybe this is the winter we finally meet??

  5. Jodee Gravel says:

    You don’t need to look for mountain sheep when you ARE mountain sheep! Love the dino-rocks 🙂 I’m sure hoping we have similar weather there next month – it looks perfect. I definitely need to find that levitating meditation cove……. Looks like you all had more fun at the Marshall site. I still can’t believe the family lived up there all those years.

    • placestheygo says:

      At times, Jodee, we feel like mountain goats! Make sure you stop at the VC and ask to see the Marshal South video first, then hike up to see the place. It is very cool. You two will enjoy it. Hiking poles or pole are very helpful coming down. It is hard to imagine spending years there…a few months maybe!

  6. Jeff says:

    Great to see the ‘Lunch with a View’ signature pic is back 🙂 Enjoy the rest of your stay in AB.

  7. pmbweaver says:

    Thank goodness for Monday’s…lol

    We really enjoyed both those hikes. That was are first experience with slot hiking. Paul loved it! The views are so lovely there. Glad y’all had excellent weather. We must say that we are a wee bit jealous. Keep those hikes coming.

  8. Desert Rat says:

    Love seeing all of your hikes. We had planned on doing 395 in October, but my ankle wasn’t co-operating. We did get to hike the Narrows before I had my other foot operated on. Now seeing this, I can’t wait to go back to AB to hike. Just a few more weeks. Hopefully we will be able to meet up sometime and hike with you.

  9. Laurel says:

    We love that Marshal South hike, too, and have done it several times. We discovered last winter that the film shown at the visitor center was made by a high school buddy of Eric’s, and we met up with him and hiked the trail together when we were there in January. It added a whole other dimension to the experience! So fun that you hiked it with Sue and Dave. Sounds like you guys are having a grand time!

    • placestheygo says:

      I remember you telling us about this friend. How nice would that be to see the site with someone who had first hand information. It was great fun taking Sue and Dave up there. It is a place I don’t get tired of visiting.

  10. Gay says:

    Looks and sounds like a great spot for next winter….love the slots!

  11. Sherry says:

    Sounds like the West Butte trail might be one Ruby couldn’t get to. That’s a shame since it looks very interesting and I just love slots but 5 miles is more my style than a short trip in and out. Great pictures of the dinosaur back and of the slot. I’d also really love to see the old house. I take it the park owns the land now and has elected to allow the structures to disintegrate? Seems a shame after all the obvious labor and sweat that went into its creation.

    • placestheygo says:

      Sherry, Ruby will take you to both of these sites. The dirt roads are fairly well maintained. You and David would enjoy both hikes:) Yes, the park is letting the land reclaim the South homestead.

  12. gt350ed says:

    We’re here in Borrego. We would love to meet you guys…and Beluga. We met Nina and Paul yesterday. Having met Mark and Bobbie in September, we’re looking to complete a trifecta. 🙂
    BTW, you were the very first subscriber to our blog .

    • placestheygo says:

      Sorry I didn’t check comments sooner. We are in Yuma now. I don’t recognize your blog from the address you posted with this comment. Do you have another blog that I may have seen?

  13. gt350ed says:

    Our blog is Chasing Sunrises and Sunsets. Replying on your blog involves logging in to WordPress as an only option. In doing so, WordPress changes my I’d in replies to your posts. So, no wonder you did not recognize my id or blog. On all other blogs we follow, I show as “Ed@Chasing Sunrises and Sunsets”.

    Sorry for the confusion. We will be in Yuma on Tuesday for a few days.

  14. Nancy says:

    All those neat shots… Skinny slots … And beautiful views but my most favorite is lunch with a view! And we had company!

    (I am in Edinboro and the temps are extremely mild and no snow!)

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