Rainbow Wash

Total Miles


183.24 ft


1.5 Hours

Technical Rating



Best Time

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Trail Overview

Rainbow Wash is a 6.2-mile out-and-back trail rated 3 out of 10 located within the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. The Rainbow Wash trail will take travelers deep into the Borrego Badlands. Most people view the badlands from Fonts Point. Rainbow Wash ends right below Fonts Point. The trail runs up one of several washes that run through the badlands. The layered sandstone which was created when the area was underwater provides colors from light tan to rust reds. The wash begins as a wide plain but quickly narrows into a winding narrow canyon with steep sandstone walls. Badlands is a term used to describe land that is very difficult, if not impossible, for life to take hold. It is characterized by steep slopes, minimal vegetation, and high drainage density. The wash can be traveled to a point where it is too tight to continue. All canyons and washes in the area are subject to flash floods. Travelers should watch the weather reports for the mountains to the west. There is no cell phone service within the canyon. The nearest services are located in Borrego Springs to the northwest and Salton City to the northeast. Offroad travel within the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is restricted to street-legal vehicles only.

Photos of Rainbow Wash

Rainbow Wash
Rainbow Wash
Rainbow Wash


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.


Twenty miles wide by fifteen miles long, the stark, arid landscape of the Borrego Badlands stretches across a portion of the enormous Anza-Borrego State Park in California's southeastern corner. At sunset and sunrise, the Badlands' creased and wrinkled ridges cast bold shadows across a maze of golden hills and sand-colored arroyos. As you look across this parched landscape, wrap your mind around this: the whole view was shaped by water. Fossilized seashells found in the region prove that it was once submerged under a blend of salty tropical waters from the Gulf of California and fresh water from the Colorado River. Scientists surmise this brackish sea teemed with aquatic life--home to fish, sea turtles, and sharks.

Technical Rating


Status Reports

William Walkenhorst
Feb 08, 2024
2015 Ford F-Series
right after the rains. no major mud. route was pretty smooth and clear of any major obstacles. easily traveled with stick 4x4 truck

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