Painted Gorge Road

Ocotillo, California (Imperial County)

Last Updated: 02/10/2021
5 / 5 ( 1 reviews )
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Highlight: Painted Gorge Road
In the desert of California is a hidden gem that many don't know about and should be on everyone's bucket list. Painted Gorge near San Diego in the hills just outside of Ocotillo off of the 8 Freeway can easily be said to be one of these bucket-list trails. The natural beauty of this trail with its vibrant colors and unique dirt and stone formations is definitely on the list of the most beautiful trails in Southern California. The road starts out a nice graded dirt road that takes you back into the hills. As the hills begin to close in, the colors seem to come out. Now it can also be said that this trail only gets harder as you continue so it is best to understand that even though a stock 4x4 can do this trail, most people who drive 4wd vehicles might not appreciate the last section as it climbs up this spectacular shelf road up the narrow canyons to the top of Carizzo Mountain. So if you are looking for some adventure, planning your epic overland adventure, or just needing what could be the ultimate day trip, check out this trail and you won't be disappointed. There are two parts to this trail; there is the lower half that leads to camping (this one) and the upper half that climbs up the canyon. Note that the upper half is behind a gate and that gate is closed during certain parts of the year for the Longhorn Sheep breeding season.


Route Information

Technical Rating

( EASY )

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1. Trailhead at Evan Hewes Hwy - Head Northwest (0 mi)
The trail splits off the highway and heads to the north. The bridge just past this point has been closed for repairs for some time and will likely remain that way.

Directions to Trailhead

Starting Point: Plaster City, California

Head west on W Evan Hewes Hwy for 5 miles. Turn right onto Painted Gorge Rd.



Trail Reviews (1)

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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.