|Typically Open:||Year Round|
(EASY - DIFFICULT)
|Highest Elevation:||1795 feet|
|Duration:||About 2 hours|
|Shape of Trail:||Out & Back|
|Best Direction to Travel:||North|
|Nearest Town w/ Services:||Ocotillo|
|Official Road Name:||Sandstone Canyon|
|Management Agency:||Anza-Borrego Desert State Park|
|District:||Anza-Borrego Desert State Park|
Sandstone Canyon is a fun route for the more experienced off-roader. This overland trail offers some difficult four wheeling along with some of the most breathtaking views. But don't let your experience level stop you from trying this trail. Even though there are several rock slides, the first couple rock slides can be easily traversed in most capable 4x4 vehicles. Once in the canyon you will be struck with awe inspiring views of 300+ foot plus sand stone walls towering over just a few feet wide trail. Whether your are a Jeep person, Toyota lover, rock crawling junky, die hard overlander, or just looking for the most epic camping spot, Sandstone Canyon should be your next stop when traveling near Palm Springs in the low desert of Anza Borrego in Southern California.
Rocky or undulated road surface. Rocks less than 84" tall and/or vertical ledges less than 72" tall and/or near vertical ledges or waterfalls less than 14' foot. Tire placement not good. Can be steep and off-camber.Read more about our rating system
The beginning of Sandstone Canyon
Hidden behind a bush is this short slot canyon that requires a bit of climbing. Not far back up the canyon you are given the opportunity to come back out to the entrance but 40 feet up.
Obstacle has been cleared and is passable in any 4x4 or off-road vehicle. This was a rock slide that happened not long ago. The line was to the left and check the other side of the slide before driving over. The part of the rock slide that you had to drive over was roughly 4 feet tall with a steep up then down. Getting high centered was a possibility here. Photos 1 & 2 - How it currently looks. Photo 3 - What it used to look like.
The newest rockslide of the trail, this slide happened roughly the week of Feb 18th 2019 as they experienced major flooding in the trail. The obstacle only has one true line over it on the right side. You will need high ground clearance to make it over. Short wheelbase will be much easier while longer wheelbase might struggle. Don't be afraid to use the rocks on the left to get the ground clearance up. Also, pay attention to the cliff wall, tall vehicles can likely hit it doing damage to the vehicle.
Now the first gate keeper, this obstacle isn't much to stop people unless you are in an extremely wide vehicle like a H1. This is the end of the road for any 2wd vehicle though.
The next slide is a little harder than Waypoint 4 and offers a few larger rocks you will need to drive over. Most 4x4's with high ground clearance should easily be able to get thru this spot.
This is one of the hardest locations along the trail, if you wish to park here you can easily hike on foot up the canyon. To clear this landslide you are required to drive over the center of the slide itself. High ground clearance and rock sliders are recommended to be on the safe side to proceed past here. Stock high ground clearance short wheelbase 4x4's can likely do this obstacle with proper spotting.
Once a v-notch. This spot has filled in with sand. It is likely this spot will return after a rain storm or two, thus be prepared to drive it again. Photos 1 & 2 - How it currently looks. Photo 3 - What it used to look like.
This unexpected obstacle isn't very hard to go up and down. The rock provides plenty of traction with zero slippage. But be warned, this obstacle could change drastically after a rain.
This obstacle was filled in as of late 2018. Even though this spot has been filled in, it doesn't mean a light rain in the area can't bring it back. Please hike this area first.
This obstacle was filled in as of late 2018. It was very easy to get stuck on this one rock that is sticking up out of the ground. Even though this spot has been filled in, it doesn't mean a light rain in the area can't bring it back.
At one time, the trail used to end here and so does the rating of 4. With recent changes, you can continue on to try the more difficult rock crawling obstacles where body damage and vehicle failure is likely. The rating from this point on is bouncing between 5 and 6 as the rocks shift. There is several paths to enter this section. The more popular is the extremely off-camber section high up on the hill side on the right. The other harder route is on the left and requires you to drive up a large rock ledge.
After the 1/4 mile of rock crawling you come around the corners to see these giant rocks in the trail. Not that hard unless you are overly wide, this spot makes for great photo shots.
The last hard rock garden of the trail, there are several lines for everyone that has made it this far. Pick a good line or you might get stuck. Once you pass this section, the trail immediately changes to a an open wash with plenty of space to turn around even the largest groups.
The trail is blocked by this large boulder that will keep you from continuing on. This trail is an in and back out meaning you now have to navigate all the obstacles backwards.... Make sure you look around as you head back down because the scenery is very different due to the different things you get to see. Also be ready because several of the obstacles are harder going down including the large land slide.
Starting Point: Ocotillo, CA
You are allowed to do dispersed camping in this area but no fires are allowed. The trail does not have anyone spot that is great for camping. If you plan on camping in the canyon, your best bet is towards the entrance where the canyon is wide. 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. http://www.reserveamerica.com/camping/anzaborrego-desert-sp/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=CA&parkId=120006