Diablo Drop Off

Ocotillo, California (San Diego County)

Last Updated: 11/14/2020
4.6 / 5 ( 13 reviews )
Information
Nearby Trails
Status: Open
Typically Open: Year Round
Length: 2.3 miles
Highest Elevation: 1200 feet
Duration: About 1 hour
Shape of Trail: Straight Through
Best Direction to Travel: North
Nearest Town: Ocotillo
Nearest Town w/ Services: Ocotillo
Official Road Name: Diablo Drop
Management Agency: Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
District: Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
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Highlights

Highlight: Diablo Drop Off
Diablo's Drop Off isn't as scary as it sounds. Back in the day, this was a scary obstacle that many wouldn't try. Today, with all the issues that have come from the drop, the park has started grading the trail, making it easy to travel down. But be warned, rain can undo all the park services' work in seconds, making this trail impassable. Always inspect the drop before traveling down it.

Video

Weather

7 day forecast for Diablo Drop Off

Route Information

Technical Rating:
( MODERATE - DIFFICULT )

Read more about our rating system

Waypoints

1. South End - Arroyo Seco del Diablo (0 mi)
This is where the trail to Diablo's Drop Off breaks off the main trail (Arroyo Seco del Diablo). For more information on Arroyo Seco del Diablo, please visit: http://www.trailsoffroad.com/trails/743-arroyo-seco-del-diablo-trail

Directions to Trailhead

Trailhead Coordinates: 32.939163, -116.190542

Starting Point: Ocotillo, CA

Exit S-2 roughly 4.3 miles south of Agua Caliente Springs Airport onto Vallecito Creek Rd, the dirt road to the north. Take this road to Cane Bake Wash roughly 1/3 mile and go east. Continue east for roughly 5.75 miles down the wash. On the left will be Arroyo Seco del Diablo Wash, go north. Follow Arroyo Seco del Diablo Wash for roughly 6.5 miles until you see a cut-off on the right to the northeast, Diablo Drop Off. For more information on Arroyo Seco del Diablo, please visit: http://www.trailsoffroad.com/trails/743-arroyo-seco-del-diablo-trail For more information on Vallecito Creek, please visit: http://www.trailsoffroad.com/trails/765-vallecito-wash-trail

Camping

Dispersed

Trail Reviews (18)

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
As of when I went up there the trail does not have a one way sign. I went up the Diablo drop off. It was heavily rutted but was easy to do with a rear locker. It was clear of other people late in the day but when I went back down that next morning there were definitely crowds if you’re not a fan of that I would go late in the day. It’s a good challenge getting up if you’re unfamiliar with getting up hills like that.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Did this as a part of an Overland Trail and I must say it was a huge let down. Any stock Jeep can do this obstacle if your coming down on it. If you are scared the easiest line is closest to the wall on the right side to avoid the ruts. If you want to Flex you can.. my friend did it in his Willys JL 4 door with 32s... and I ran a Sahara JL on 33s. This Stock Jeep Wrangler literally came up the drop off before we went down hauling SPEEED and got up without lockers. Also I think this is a 2 WAY trail now..... unofficially. Keep in mind if you go on the weekend or holidays there is usually a ZOO of people drinking Beer and hoping for someone to roll OVER or that’s the vibe I got from it. I have nothing against it but I know some people get shy and hate that stuff. From talking to them before going down I noticed they didn’t have any intention in taking the drop.. damm Toyota’s.....

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
This was as fun as always. The ruts in the first downhill section were as deep as ever and fully flexed out my little Jeep. The second downhill section on the other hand was very smooth this time and was not a challenge at all.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Did a solo Christmas trip through from south to north to test the newly installed 3" lift on my XJ. The trail was in great condition and I only threw it in 4-lo for a few spots: the slides, drop-offs, and the rock creek at the end of the drop-off. I did this more for speed control than fear of loss of traction. The canyon has a few rocks here and there, but nothing major. The slides are in the canyon area and look far worse than they are - the trail has been worn down so it's fairly easy to navigate, even without a spotter. The trail from the "Diablo Drop-Off" sign is soft sand and quite pleasant. I didn't see a one-way sign anywhere. Like previous reviewers say, the drop-off has two sides: easy - straight-shot with soft sand and wave-like ruts; and hard: rockier with far deeper ruts. I took the easy route although I did feel my rear driver tire lift and I rubbed on all four at different points. Pretty easy after that - just ride it out. The base of the drop off wasn't as bad as the top, however the rock creek was a bit unexpected (after the below-mentioned group said the rest of the trail was smooth), but none of the rocks were too large or threatening. Again, even without a spotter, it was doable. I will note that a group of 9 vehicles were attempting to come up the drop-off. Four got stuck halfway up in the sand, STOPPED, and PARKED in a line in the middle of the drop off. While waiting, I had to wave off a guy going down who hadn't (couldn't?) see the group. Look before you leap! Not sure how they all fared as I was able to go down in between their attempts. The trail is wide enough for two vehicles alongside each other however the sand is very soft and deep. I'm a bit of a novice, so have what you will, but I think a stock 4x4 with decent clearance could do this. I went slow and felt my way over everything. Definitely a fun trail and a great intro to off-roading - I'll be bringing my friends once they're ready!

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
The drop itself is in pretty good condition as of now. A bit more sandy than I remember, but nothing dangerous. With the correct choice of line (heading down), I'd say any 4wd vehicle with moderate ground clearance (even stock high clearance) should be able to make it. The trail leading to the drop off has had a few new slides from the canyon walls. In my relatively modified Tacoma, there were a few locations where I got close to touching my sliders while navigating around/over a few of them. This might not be as easy for a stock 4x4 vehicle.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
We visited Anza Borrego for the first time and had a blast. We camped near Diablos Drop, and while it was windy as all hell, it sure was pretty. Great trail, but a ton more people than I am used to.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Very sandy. Very forgiving. Two options on the descent - left is a mogul course, right is a straight level that wraps around to join the base of the mogul course. With all the dry weather we have had, it was not challenging and most stock SUVs should be able to traverse this descent.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
I did diablo drop for first time at night. I was solo but luckily some other offroaders were there in case there was a problem. Actually the top wasnt bad. It's the only place I used 4runner crawl control in anza borrego. Wasnt necessary, but made the decent smoother and less scary than without driver aids. The others climbed the grade to challenge themselves and all made it no problem. After the drop, the rocks in creek caught me by surprise. I think I was so happy to make it down that I wasnt expecting the small boulders on the creek. I could have avoided if I was more careful. I really need to invest in skid plates!

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
The “One Way” sign has apparently been removed. whether that was done by an official or an off-roader who didn’t like the sign, I’m not sure. Otherwise the trail is in similar condition as usual.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Note that this trail is now officially posted as one way, south to north only. This is to prevent excessive rutting of the drop-off (mainly for people that go up it without lockers or LSD-equivalents.)

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
This is an exciting trail that feels exciting and challenging but really isn't too hard if you just take it slow. Great views at the top leading down into a fun, articulating downhill decent to Fish Creek.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
I ventured through Canyon Sin Nombre, to Arroyo Seco Del Diablo, to get to Diablo Drop-off. The trails were easy to manage, even with lots of soft sand in areas I didn't end up stuck or really feel to need to engage 4wd for most of the way to Diablo Drop-Off. Once to the drop off I did some scouting and nothing too alarming presented it's self, the trail felt soft and full of dirt and sand, but as compared to the videos from a year ago, parts of the drop-off were much deeper. I did make minor contact with my skids coming down over some of the deeper pockets in the trail, and with the sand/dirt being more abundant i did find myself sliding a bit downward on the drop off, but nothing too scary or where I felt out of my element. This was a very easy trail to follow through, and all the reviews and great descriptions made it simple to find and navigate. I had a blast and cant thank those before me for doing such a great job with directions, pictures, and videos.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Whether you're a beginner or an advanced intermediate wheeler, a one-day trip putting together four trails: Canyon Sin Nombre, Arroyo Seco Del Diablo, Diablo Dropoff, and Fish Creek is a must do and will keep you busy all day. You begin on Highway S-2 and finish on CA-78. All four trails are reviewed here on trailsoffroad.com The scenery is spectacular and the driving is easy and relaxing. Diablo Dropoff will be exciting for the newbies, because it is steep, sandy, and off-camber, but just take reasonable caution and all will be fine. After you enter Fish Canyon, if you have time, take the side trip to Sandstone Canyon, which is a mile in the opposite direction. The trail account here on trailsoffroad.com says it all. Both the wheeling and the canyons are awesome.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Diablo Drop Off was fun. When we did this run in November 2017, the drop was pretty easy, but I still had one wheel completely off the ground (see picture and video). I would rate the drop around a 4/10 difficulty. Diablo Drop Off starts at the 6:30 mark in the video.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Wow, usually rain makes a trail harder, but in this case it made it much easier. The drop was really easy as it seemed it was just graded. The canyons below it were easy too with lots of filled in dirt almost completely covering the rocks and the small drop. I would drop this trail rating down to a 2, but I only assume the conditions will get harder so I am going to leave it as a 3 for now.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Here is a quick review of the hard area on Diablo's Drop. As you can see the trail is much easier then it was in 2016. The Canyon below has filled in with dirt, which has filled in many of the holes and covered many of the rocks that were on the trail.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
We had a great ride down Arroyo Seco del Diablo trail and over Diablo Drop Off. Heavy rains in the last few months have returned Diablo Drop Off to some of its former glory. The beginning of the first drop is the roughest -- it has a steep decline and unavoidable off-camber ruts/holes that may test the limits of your suspension and approach/departure angles (unfortunately, I didn't get good pics of the top portion). When I was there a couple of dirt bikes were struggling to make it up the drop. As the trail description here explains, the trail can change drastically from trip to trip, so use caution. A few minutes down the trail there is a tight spot that I barely squeezed through with help from a spotter and a bit of back and forth.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Full Trail of Diablo Drop

Questions & Answers (5)

Q: The trail is one way south to north?
–Juan C Jimenez (09/14/2020)
–Josh Noesser (09/14/2020)
Q: Any update on condition of the Dropoff? Heading out this weekend. Did it before in my 4Runner but running a stock 4WD Sequoia now.
–Christo Kuzmich (10/21/2019)
–Barclay Osborn (10/21/2019)
–Josh Noesser (10/21/2019)
Q: Hey Josh, what is the camera or software you're using for the gps info on your videos?
–Kevin Rall (04/28/2017)
–Josh Noesser (05/01/2017)
Q: Josh, If you went, how was it? I heard there has been a lot of rain...
–Eric Andersen (03/07/2017)
–Josh Noesser (03/07/2017)
Q: any update on status of Drop off since 2/4/17? I called ranger station and was told road is closed. The desk guy didn't seem to know much. I last did it in late 90s before it was graded.
–Eric Andersen (03/01/2017)
–Josh Noesser (03/01/2017)

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.