View from Wind Caves at Sandstone Canyon/Fish Creek
View from Wind Caves at Sandstone Canyon/Fish Creek

Anza Borrego-Sandstone Canyon

GPS N33 02.38’ W116 05.76’
Elevation 300-1900 ft
Season Year round: best Oct.-May
Terrain Packed dirt, deep sand in places, some moderate sized embedded rocks;
bumpy washboard and dips. Can flash flood, so watch weather.
Difficulty Easy terrain
Required Vehicle High clearance stock SUV or pick-up. Depending on weather,
4x4H may be needed.Full sized rigs should be careful in narrow canyon.  
Time 3  hours
Length 28 miles out and back
Anza Borrego-Fish Creek rock formations
Anza Borrego-Fish Creek rock formations

Directions to Sandstone Canyon Trail-: The trail starts off of Split Mountain Road, 8 miles south of CA 78 and Ocotillo Wells.

boreas campers

Site Location and Description This area of Anza Borrego State Park displays amazing examples of geological history and interesting rock formations due to weather erosion and tectonic upheaval. Explorers will enjoy seeing everything from mollusk beds deposited in the wash walls from an ancient river, wind caves formed from water and wind erosion over millions of years, to spectacular examples of tectonic uplifting along the canyon walls. At 1.4 miles along the trail, Fish Creek Wash offers primitive camping. The only facility there is a pit toilet. The camp area is above the wash, although plenty of people camp along the wash itself. TAP Note: Always be aware of flash flood potential when camping/hiking in the wash.

Anza Borrego Sandstone Canyon-Fish Creek geological  formations
Anza Borrego Sandstone Canyon-Fish Creek geological formations

Further along the route you will come to a short 1.5 mile hike up the side of the wash leading to the Wind Caves; a display of natural sandstone sculptures. It is well worth the hike. Fish Creek Wash eventually turns into the well-marked Sandstone Canyon. This canyon is a relatively short but spectacularly narrow, twisty, bronzed- walled sandstone canyon. The terrain is sandy and just wide enough for your vehicle. Truly breathtaking.

Anza Borrego-Wind Caves
Anza Borrego-Wind Caves

 TAP RECOMMENDED: This trail is one of the best in Anza Borrego. However, unlike many other trails, it can get fairly busy, but it’s definitely worth checking out.

The History of Fish Creek-Sandstone Canyon: This region’s amazing geography was formed over 19 million years ago, when a great body of water, one that precedes the Colorado River, flowed through this area. Along with it came a large variety of sea life that was left in the uplifted layer of the west side of that canyon as the sea retreated. This vast array of fossilized mollusk shells can be seen there today in the layers of sandstone rising up from the canyon floor.

Please Note: It is against the law to take anything from the park. Come, enjoy, look and leave it for others to enjoy as well.

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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.