Mortero Wash - Anza Borrego

4.7/5 (7 reviews)
Ocotillo, California (Imperial County)
Last Updated: 09/26/2022
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Trail Information

Highlights

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.

Trail Difficulty and Assessment

Trail Navigation

Trail Reviews

4.7/5 (7 reviews)
Tommy
2300
Status: Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 12/06/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Harder

at the time of writing this, there is a lot of soft sand at the first four miles of this trail. while it is nothing super challenging, i would recommend airing down if you have a 2wd. i have a 2wd stock tacoma with all terrains and did just fine.
Trail Review: Mortero Wash - Anza Borrego - Tommy
Trail Review: Mortero Wash - Anza Borrego - Tommy
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Status: Open
Visited: 11/21/2021
Difficulty Accuracy: Easier

I have done this trail several times over the last 30 years and still enjoy it every time. A lot of the historical artifacts have disappeared over time but it still interesting. This trail is always a good one when we have out of town visitors. Not rough, not long but enough for a non wheeling enthusiast to have a good first experience. Also I suggest a side trip from the Dos Cabezas siding (the tank) down to see the Indian pictographs, morteros and yanni carvings at Indian Hill.
Status: Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 01/02/2021

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
Rated 5/5
Visited: 07/18/2020

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
Rated 4/5
Visited: 06/15/2020

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.
Trail Review: Mortero Wash - Anza Borrego - Jeff Siegel
Trail Review: Mortero Wash - Anza Borrego - Jeff Siegel
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