Mortero Wash - Anza Borrego

Ocotillo, California (Imperial County)

Last Updated: 06/18/2017
4.6 / 5 ( 5 reviews )
Nearby Trails
Status: Open
Typically Open: Year Round
Length: 6.4 miles
Highest Elevation: 1824 feet
Duration: About 2 hours
Shape of Trail: Connector
Best Direction to Travel: N/A
Nearest Town: Ocotillo
Nearest Town w/ Services: Ocotillo
Official Road Name: Mortero Wash
Management Agency: Anza-Borrega Desert State Park
District: Anza-Borrega Desert State Park
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Highlight: Mortero Wash - Anza Borrego
In the southwest corner of Anza Borrego State Park sits one of the most visited trails in this desolate part of California. Whether it is the glistening natural springs that reside against the scenic boulder hill sides, the world's longest and tallest wood train bridge, the old train stop that is still complete with water tower, or some of best desert scenery and flora you have ever seen this trail has something for everyone. You will find yourself drawn to Mortero Wash and wanting to stay there for days once you begin to explore this trail and what it has to offer. If you are an outdoor enthusiast, love to 4x4, or enjoy a great overland adventure, I would recommend stopping at Mortero Wash the next time you are in the area and enjoy in what amazing adventures it has to offer.



7 day forecast for Mortero Wash - Anza Borrego

Route Information

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1. Trailhead (0 mi)
A single covered sign with local information marks the beginning of the Mortero Wash Trail. Here you will find a large staging area to ready yourself and your vehicle for the trip.

Directions to Trailhead

Trailhead Coordinates: 32.789596, -116.108893

Starting Point: Ocotillo, CA

From Ocotillo on Interstate 8, use exit 89 and head north onto County Route S2 towards Ocotillo for 8.5 miles, then turn left onto Sweeney Pass Road, a well maintained dirt road, to start the trail.



Trail Reviews (5)

Status: Open
Offroaded on:
With the track crossing and rock section, this is certainly of of the more difficult trails I’ve done with a 2-3 rating. But still, a 3 rating feels right and the trail was pretty smooth going otherwise.

Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Trail was open when I went. There were some sandy spots here and there but nothing to worry about. Some rocky sections but good lines were easy to see. I didn't go passed the train tracks, so I can't comment on the trails on the other side. There is no shade on this trail, so do come prepared, especially in the summer months.

Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Please know that there was a Federal Border Patrol checkpoint about 1/4 mile to the south of the trailhead. While airing up in the late afternoon I was paid a visit by a patrolman and ended up talking off-roading for a half hour while I drank a beer. The trails were re-opened a few weeks before my first of two visits early this summer. Temps were still in the low 90's both visits. Soft sand in spots is the only challenge on the trail, as there's really no elevation change as you traverse the route to the old train depot. I've been visiting the area over over 30 years and have done some fun exploring in the southwest corner of the park. That might not be acceptable these days because of the border patrol's highlighted status. All in all, if you stay on the trail it's a relatively easy trip for any 4-wheel drive vehicle. Low range wasn't necessary but I wouldn't venture off the pavement in the desert without it.

Status: Open
Offroaded on:
My kids and I hit this trail after hiking up to the dome lands to see the caves. We didn’t have anytime to do any of the hiking off this trail, but hiking up to the train bridge seems like it would be cool. If you have a stock Tacoma like me go slow over the train tracks, I hit a slider on the way back. There were a few cars on the trail, which was surprising, not sure how many got past the train tracks, but I wouldn’t try this trail in a car.

Status: Open
Offroaded on:
This is a lovely area for a day or a weekend camping, between the months of October through April. There is no water nor any shade, so the other five months will be very hot.

Questions & Answers (0)

Writer Information

Josh Noesser

Mapping Crew - California

Joshua Noesser grew up in Southern California but has lived in different parts of the country during his young adult life. Josh was first turned to four wheeling when he road with one of his friends dad up Surprise Canyon in the Panamint Valley at age14. After nearly 3 different roll overs later and a half dozen intense waterfalls, Josh was hooked. At 16 he purchased his first Jeep a CJ 7 and by 17 was putting his first locker in it. Currently, Josh is the owner and CEO of Nybble, an IT Solutions Company based in Orange County, California. Nybble isn't your normal IT company where everyone stays in and plays video games. Nybble's average company trip is out on the trails since a good amount of his staff enjoy wheeling too. As Josh likes to say, he offers the only IT Company with the ability to provide services in extreme locations. "If you want a server at the top of The Hammers, we will take care of that for you." Today you can find Josh out on the trail behind the wheel in one of his three different off-road vehicles. See the vehicles below for more information. If you ever run into Josh, please say high, he is a very friendly person and is always happy to have a new person join the group.
For individual use only, not to be shared.