Painted Gorge Trail aka Carrizo Mountain Trail

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5/5 (4 reviews)
Ocotillo, California (Imperial County)
Last Updated: 01/02/2024

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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, aka Carrizo Mountian Trail, is near San Diego in the hills just outside of Ocotillo off the 8 Freeway and can easily be said to be one of these bucket-list trails. With its vibrant colors and unique dirt and stone formations, the natural beauty of this trail is definitely on the list of the most beautiful trails in Southern California. The road starts as 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 make 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; the lower half that leads to camping and the upper half (this part of the trail) that takes you 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.
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