Grapevine Canyon View down from trail
Grapevine Canyon View down from trail
GPS N33 08.20 W116 22.70
Elevation 1400-4000 ft.
Season Year round: best Oct.-May
Terrain Packed dirt, small rocks, sandy in places, washboard, some narrow
Difficulty Easy terrain
Required Vehicle  4 wheel drive
Time 1.5 hour
Length 13.6 miles each way
The Adventure Portal-Entering Grapevine Canyon Trail from the east-Anza Borrego
Entering Grapevine Canyon Trail from the southeast

Directions:  Grapevine Canyon Trail begins on Yaui Pass Road (S3), .1 miles north of CA 78 and 12 miles south of Borrego Springs.

Site Location and Description:  We used the Grapevine Canyon Trail as an alternate way to leave Anza Borrego State Park and head home to San Diego.  Glad we did.  This beautiful canyon winds through Yaqui Flat, up Grapevine Canyon and past Angelina Spring, an old Indian village site. It leaves Anza Borrego State Park and goes through Hoover Canyon to the Montezuma Valley Road (S22).

Angelina Spring area-Grapevine Canyon trail Anza Borrego
Angelina Spring area-Grapevine Canyon

There is camping (with pit toilets) at Yaqui Well as you enter from the southeast.  When the trail takes you past Stuart Spring and close to Angelina Spring, the vegetation becomes lush and green.  Then you climb the bajada up a singletrack, slightly rocky portion of the trail.  Once you reach the top, there are wonderful views of the canyon below and the San Felipe hills.  As you leave the park you will notice a few privately-owned dwellings.  These become more numerous on the last 5 miles of the trail before reaching S22.

Rocky section on the Grapevine Canyon Trail at Anza Borrego State Park
Rocky section on the Grapevine Canyon Trail

boreas campers

Looking SE down Grapevine Canyon The adventure Portal
Looking SE down Grapevine Canyon

History of Grapevine Canyon: Before Highway 78 and County Roads S-3 and S-22, the Grapevine Canyon trail was a main thoroughfare to the Borrego Valley. Horses and wagons went eastward through the Narrows and then up what is now the Old Borrego Valley Road.  Even before that, the  northern and southern bands of the Kumeyaay Indian tribes inhabited this area.  The tribal boundaries lay close to the San Felipe Creek near Yaqui Well.  Some used Yaqui Well as a winter camp for gathering and processing food.  In 1929, San Diego County built it’s first prison road camp or “honor farm” close to Yaqui Well.  The officials planted tamarisk trees to offer some shelter and today this is the site of the Tamarisk Grove Ranger Station and Camp located at the western end of the trail.  The prisoners used hand tools to create the first roadbed along the San Felipe Creek.  In 1933, it became California state highway 78.

NW Trailhead Marker Grapevine Canyon Trail
NW Trailhead Marker

Click here for more CA off-road, Overlanding trails…..and TAP into Adventure!

Previous articleInyo National Forest- Mazourka Peak
Next articleAnza Borrego Desert State Park-Mortero Wash
New York born to SoCal via Puerto Rico and San Francisco, partner in crime and co-founder of The Adventure Portal, Lori has over 15 years experience in partaking of adventures in the American southwest, primitive camping, hiking and exploring in her Rubi. She welcomes new challenges and is always pushing the envelope of adventure in her Jeep.