|Typically Open:||Year Round|
|Highest Elevation:||1200 feet|
|Duration:||About 4 hours|
|Shape of Trail:||Out & Back|
|Best Direction to Travel:||N/A|
|Nearest Town w/ Services:||Ocotillo|
|Official Road Name:||Fish Creek|
|Management Agency:||Anza-Borrego Desert State Park|
|District:||Anza-Borrego Desert State Park|
Most off-road enthusiasts find that Fish Creek is one of their favorite routes in United State because of the scenery and connectivity to a wide range of trails. You can easily find yourself making a full weekend of just exploring what Fish Creek has to offer. Fish Creek starts at Split Mountain and heads southwest then north ending up at Pinyon Mountain. Along the route, you will pass wind caves, earthquake faults, dinosaur tracks, sandstone canyons, and many other natural wonders.
Typically, more rock or undulated road surface. Potential rocks and/or tree stumps less than 12" tall and/or vertical ledges less than 12" tall and/or near vertical ledges or waterfalls less than 24" inches. Tire placement becomes more difficult. Can be steep.Read more about our rating system
The first part of Fish Creek passes through Split Mountain. Here you will find awe-inspiring rock structures as you pass through a narrow canyon. The Split Mountain Fault Line has bent and twisted the rocks to make some amazing structures along the wash.
Just up the trail is a improved campground with firepits and an outhouse. The area is first come first server but is usually empty except for holiday weekends. The area is rocky so large tent camping groups might struggle to find a smooth spot to put a tent down.
One of the first scenic waypoints along the trail, the rocks in the side of the mtn have twisted due to the pressure of the fualt line and the ocean that used to be here. Then over the years, when the colorado river ran through this area, the river cut back the canyon to what you see today which you can see this amazing natural formation.
Another one of the unique natural stone formations, this is a popular place to stop and let the family climb on the rocks.
Wind Caves and Dinosaur Tracks Parking A short climb to the east will take you to the Wind Caves. The Dinosaur Tracks are to the east. The tracks are estimated to be 65,000,000 years old. This is also a popular area for dispersed camping.
The Elephant Knees. The hill side in the background has eroded to look like elephant knees.
End of Diablos Drop. (This is a one-way trail...do not enter from this side.)
Sandstone Canyon is a great little drive. In the middle, there is a landslide that will stop all but very equipped vehicles. Many say this canyon is a perfect example of the Badlands environment found in the area with its near-vertical sandstone walls and narrow width. Other search terms include Sand Stone Canyon. Sandstone Canyon is a popular area for dispersed camping.
End of the trail at the base of Pinyon Mountain Road. This trail is one-way, and it is not recommended to try climbing Heart Attack Hill.
Starting Point: Ocotillo Wells, CA
Fish Creek is one of the more popular trails people camp along in the Anza Borrego Desert. Mainly for two reasons, the trail is rather easy and the wash is wide enough where if you camp on the sides you leave plenty of space for people to pass by. Some of the more popular areas to camp are near Split Mountain at the campground and for dispersed camping further up the canyon closer to Sandstone Canyon where people are hoping to avoid the crowds. You are allowed to do dispersed camping in Anza-Borrego Desert in this area but no wood fires are allowed unless in metal containers. Anza Borrego Park offers tons of designated camping in the area that allow fires. Please visit Reserve America to find the camping area for you. For campground information, click here