Fish Creek Wash

Total Miles
18.5

Elevation

792.22 ft

Duration

4 Hours

Technical Rating

3

Easy

Best Time

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Trail Overview

Fish Creek Wash is a 37-mile out-and-back trail rated 3 of 10 within the California Anza-Borrego Desert State Park (ABDSP). Trails within the ABDSP are restricted to street-legal vehicles. Fish Creek Wash is probably one of the most traveled trails within the ABDSP. Accessing it from the east, the first 4 miles or so are accessible by passenger vehicle in most cases (not so when wet). And for many, this is as far as they will travel to visit the wash. The trail starts where the wash crosses Split Mountain Road and travels east. The first mile and a half lie outside the State Park boundary and there is a dispersed campground just before entering the park. Once in the State Park, the trail passes between two very large sheer walls. This is Split Mountain Canyon which is literally as the name implies, a mountain that split in two due to geological forces. Geology students from all over the world travel to visit this specific mountain to learn about its wonders. As you travel through the canyon, watch for the anticline (a reversal of the rock angles). Upon exiting the canyon at about 4 miles, one of the next unique features can be found. The Wind Caves are located on the south side of the wash. A short but well-established trail leads to this unusual sandstone feature. This is only the beginning of what Fish Creek Wash has to offer. At 9.4 miles, the Diablo Drop trail intersects with the wash on the south side. Although you may desire to climb the drop, the State Park has marked the trail as one-way from the top down to Fish Creek Wash. Continuing along the wash at 12.4 miles is Sandstone Canyon, one of the most impressive slot canyons in the park and one that allows vehicle traffic. Another half mile further is Olla Wash, also worth exploring. Fish Creek continues past the intersection with the Hahapa Flat trail and ends at a small turnaround. The trail past Olla Wash does not see a lot of use and is rougher. The entire trail is sand wash and hard-pack dirt/rock mix. Parts of the wash are washboard. Once you enter Split Mountain Canyon, cell service will be lost and not available along the length of the wash. The nearest services are located in Borrego Springs.

Photos of Fish Creek Wash

Fish Creek Wash
Fish Creek Wash
Fish Creek Wash

Difficulty

The trail consists of loose rocks, dirt, and sand with some slick rock surfaces and mud holes possible. No steps are higher than 12 inches. 4WD may be required, and aggressive tires are a plus.

History

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is a California State Park located within the Colorado Desert of southern California, United States. The park takes its name from 18th-century Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza and the Spanish word borrego, which literally means "lamb" but is also used to describe the desert bighorn sheep. With nearly 600,000 acres, it is the largest state park in California as well as the 48 contiguous states. The park has varied topography that includes dry lake beds, badlands, and mountains that rise above 5,500 feet (1,675 meters). Two-thirds of the park's area is designated as wilderness, and cactus, yucca, and ocotillo are abundant throughout. Among the park's attractions are groves of California fan palms and a profusion of wildflowers that bloom in mid-to-late winter. Deer, kit foxes, iguanas, rattlesnakes, roadrunners, eagles, and the endangered desert bighorn sheep are all found within the park.

Technical Rating

3

Status Reports

Jason Er
Apr 04, 2024
4x4
Open
Normal
Washboard
Michael Leary
Apr 02, 2024
4x4
Open
Normal
Easy terrain.
Adam Stackhouse
Mar 20, 2024
2022 Toyota Tacoma
Open
Normal
Daniel Mendenhall
Mar 10, 2024
2023 Jeep Wrangler
Open
Dusty
Rough/Deteriorated
Washboard

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