|Highest Elevation:||162 feet|
|Duration:||About 45 minutes|
|Shape of Trail:||Connector|
|Best Direction to Travel:||North|
|Nearest Town:||Borrego Springs|
|Nearest Town w/ Services:||Borrego Springs|
|Official Road Name:|
|Management Agency:||Ocotillo Wells SVRA|
Overlapping San Diego and Imperial Counties nestled between Anza Borrego Desert State Park and the Salton Sea is the Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area; an 85,000-acre playground for off-road enthusiasts. Some of the popular attractions in the park are Pumpkin Patch, Tectonic Gorge, Truckhaven, the 4x4 Training Area, Badlands, Shell Reef, Devil's Slide, and Blowsand Hill among many others. Pumpkin Patch is an iconic geological site and a must-see while visiting Anza Borrego or Ocotillo Wells. Wind erosion has blown away the land's surface to reveal the unique pumpkin shaped concretions millions of years in the making.
Dirt road. Rutted, washes, or gulches. Water crossings up to 6" depth. Passable mud. Grades up to 10 degrees. Small rocks or holes. 4WD recommended but 2WD possible under good conditions and with adequate ground clearance and skill. No width problems for any normal vehicle. Vehicle passing spots frequently available if less than two vehicles wide.Read more about our rating system
Running Pumpkin Patch trail from the south end starts from East Bank Wash. The trail begins on an extremely wide dirt track. The terrain is flat and comprised of hard pack and sandy sections.
Where the trail splits here, stay to the wider path on the left to continue northwest and followed the trail markers. The smaller path to the right will lead northeast, narrows and winds through a deep sandy gulch with no trail markers. If you strayed into the gulch by mistake, turn around and return to wide trail section.
Keep to the left to continue northwest on Pumpkin Patch Trail. Lost Lizard trail travels northeast and ends at Tule Wash very close to where Pumpkin Patch Trail ends. If you prefer a slightly more challenging terrain, you may elect to take Lost Lizard from here or on the return trip from Tule Wash.
This rutted section can be easily navigated by any vehicle with clearance.
This is a fun wide open area to play around, surrounded by dirt mounds to climb over.
Continue northeast on Pumpkin Patch Trail. Textbook Trail travels southwest back to East Bank Wash.
Roller coaster may be an overstatement but this is sill a fun section of the trail comprised of a group of small hills that offer mild climbs, drops, and tight turns. Stock 4wd vehicles and 2wd vehicles with clearance should have no problems here. I would not recommend this for 2wd or AWD vehicles with low clearance unless you don't mind to risk scraping your bumpers or undecarriage.
Here you will see the hills scattered with roundish shaped concretions in their "range free" habitat. This is an ideal spot to take photos of these unique geological features in their natural setting with no fence enclosures. Complements of the Colorado River, these sandstone sculptures started with a seed over four million years ago and over time developed cemented layers under pressure and dry heat. Wind erosion blew away the softer sediments to reveal the peculiar shaped rocks we see today.
You have arrived! Take a break under the shade ramada and enjoy lunch on the picnic table. If you've been holding your bowels, taking advantage of the vaulted toilets may be your priority. There is no running water here so hopefully you bought your sanitary wipes or antibac gel.
The Pumpkin Patch is enclosed in a fence area to protect the area from vehicular traffic, but there is an opening in the gate that you can duck through to enter the area for a closer look. Three interpretive displays are featured here to provide the history and geological facts.
Linus may not find the Great Pumpkin here, but would definitely find this place to be very interesting. Take a stroll through the Pumpkin Patch and get up close and personal with these unique geological rock sculptures.
The north end of Pumpkin Patch Trail connects to Tule Wash. If you are going back to East Bank Wash and want to try a different trail, you may consider to take Lost Lizard which connects with Pumpkin Patch towards the south end. It has more "roller coaster" sections that are a slightly more aggressive than Pumpkin Patch if that's what you enjoy. If you're done for the day and ready to reach asphalt, the closest paved road is the S-22 Borrego Salton Seaway. To get there you have 2 options. To stay within Ocotillo Wells SVRA, take Tule Wash east to Cross Over Trail then head north to S-22. This would be the easier and preferred option especially if traveling at night as you can follow the reflective trail markers and street signs. The other option will take you west on Tule Wash into Anza Borrego Desert State Park. Once you enter Anza Borrego, there are no trail markers or street signs. There are small sign posts that indicate directions to certain points of interest. Looking for these sign posts during the day is challenging enough let alone a night. Unless you're traveling during daylight, familiar with the area, or equipped with a GPS device that covers the unpaved trails, then the first option is suggested . Please also note that only street legal vehicles are allowed into Anza Borrego, so no dirt bikes, quads, or dune buggies. If you opt to go into Anza Borrego, continue west on Tule Wash until you reach the fork that leads southwest to Cut Across Trail or northwest to 5 Palms. Take the northwest trail to 5 Palms. From 5 Palms continue north to Arroyo Salado wash. There is no signage, but where the trail from 5 Palms ends into a wide wash area, that is Arroyo Salado. Once you reach Arroyo Salado wash, turn left and head northwest, pass through the Arroyo Salado campground and you will reach S-22 on the right (north) side.
Trailhead Coordinates: 33.196030, -116.093660