Anza-Borrego Wind Caves Trail is in the eastern portion of Anza-Borrego Desert
State Park, south of the outpost of Ocotillo Wells.
The caves that
are more like holes or alcoves curved out from the sandstone by the wind, looking
like giant chunks of Swiss-cheese rock.
The 1.5 mile
out and back hiking trail start at the main Fish Creek dry wash, this trailhead
is located about 4 miles away from the end of the road in the dry wash, so you
better have AWD/4WD car to get here.
I do not recommend
coming all the way just to visit this location but this can be a fun stop on
your day drive, combining short hike and a place to visit.
The Wind Caves
Trailhead is about 30 miles away from Borrego Springs.
Springs drive south on Borrego Springs Rd toward Diamond Bar Rd
For about 11.5
mile, turn left onto CA-78 E. Drive for another 6.6 mile up to Ocotillo Wells
and here turn right onto Split Mountain Rd.
Drive for 8.1
mile until you will reach the large Fish Creek dry wash.
From this point
you will leave the road and get into the dry wash. You need a 4WD vehicle for
this last 4-mile portion of the drive.
The vast desert
park is open year-round, but the summer month are extremely hot (~110-120f
mid-day), I highly recommend visiting here during to colder month of the year.
through February has highs in the 60-70s and lows in the 40s. April and May are
already getting to 80s, and June starting to more than 100f.
Due note 1: There is a gas
service, stores, and many other facilities in Borrego Springs.
Due note 2: no matter if
this is a short or long walk, make sure to have with you water and sunscreen.
Due note 3: This is a
prime offroad 4x4 destination.
All roadways in
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park-dirt, sandy wash, or paved are considered a
must be highway legal per the California Vehicle Code and must remain on all
Vehicles are prohibited in the park.
Due note 4: After rainstorms
in the mountains to the west you can have situation of flash floods in main
river washlands. Check the weather before driving into your offroad trip.
Due note 5: Few offroad and
·Do not hike alone.
·Tell someone about your trip plans.
·There is no cell reception, I highly
recommend having gps communication system.
·Carry a map and use it, Download
Offline Maps and GPS Prior to Arrival.
·In your car carry extra water,
shovel, tools, flares, and blankets.
·Check the road condition board at
the visitor center before you start out.
·If you offroad make sure you have
good spare tire and repair tools and that you know how to replace a flat tire.
Due note 6: there is a
large Campground in Borrego Palm Canyon, not so far from the visitor center.
Due note 7: There is a
small primitive campground, with restroom, first come first serve, 1 mile into Fish
Creek dry wash on the left side above the river bed.
Due note 8: Un like many
other states parks the entire backcountry area of Anza-Borrego Desert State
Park is defined as a camping facility, free of charge.
You can camp
overnight almost anywhere you want, as long as your car is not parked more than
one length off the road, please follow BLM camping guidelines.
Due note 9: The small Borrego
Springs town is located in the center of the Anza-Borrego Park and has few
Due note 10: Drones are
prohibited in the airspace above the reserve.
Due note 11: Open fires,
including campfires and barbecues are prohibited at Blair Valley Primitive
Campground, Culp Valley Primitive Campground and any backcountry campsites and
day-use parking areas.Portable propane
or gas stoves are permitted for cooking only within designated campsite and
Due note 12: Cell phone
coverage is spotty or nonexistent when you are getting into the desert.
Due note 13: Dogs are
welcome in the designated campgrounds, on designated roads where vehicles are
allowed. They are not allowed in the backcountry, on trails, or in the
drive out from the road and additional short walk to the small site.
The cave are
not so much impressive, they are more like alcoves in the sand rock so I will not
recommend driving all the way here just for visiting this location. If you are
driving by and have AWD vehicle it can be short fun walk stop on your offroad
trip in this remote sections of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.
Wells (highway 78) drive on Split Mountain Rd. for 8.1 mile until you will
reach the large Fish Creek dry wash.
From this point
you will leave the road and get into the dry wash.
section of the offroad is not extreme drive but you need a 4WD vehicle for this
last 4-mile portion of the drive.
The sandy wash
is relatively flat and without any rocky or challenging to pass sections.
This is not a challenging
drive and I saw people trying to do it with low clearance car. They progress until
it was too challenging for them to pass and walk from there to the trail head.
If you are not
using AWD/4WD make sure you are not getting stack in a sandy section.
The drive path itself
can be changed after flooding runoff.
You will start
your drive in a very wide river wash and gradually the road get into canyon
section (Split Mountain Gorge) where the river opening narrows and steep tall stone
walls rise from both sides of the road.
After about 4-mile
drive from the paved road, in a large opening and turn of the dry wash to the
left you will see the trailhead sign on the far-left side of the dry-wash.
You can park
your car just near the trailhead.
From here this is
slightly longer than one-mile out and back hike to the unique exposed sandstone
formations with wind-eroded holes.
The trail is completely
expose to the sun, make sure that you have enough water with you, hat and using
The hiking trail
start at the main Fish Creek dry wash, you start with a climb up the hills leading
to the ridgeline. You can’t miss the trail and after about half mile of
climbing you will see the sandstone formations in front of you.
You can walk
over the rock and see how the wind and blowing sand carve out small holes and alcovesin the rock.
From Wind Caves
high viewing point, you can look out and see the vast Anza Borrego Desert to
This is only a
short visit and after you are done with your explorations you will walk back
down to your car.
On the way back
you can take the trail that is going more to the west and above the river wash view
below you, after short walk this trail connect back to the same trail you climb
On my way back
to road 78 I stopped at Iron Door Bar, nice small bar that was open mid-day
with few guests inside.
A lot of 1-dollar
bills on the walls as few pictures and 3 pool tables.