Pinyon Mountain Road

5/5 (15 reviews)
Borrego Springs, California (San Diego County)
Last Updated: 04/10/2023

Trail Information



When you hear or read about obstacles named "Heart Attack Hill" and "The Squeeze," you must make excellent adventure decisions before you decide to take them on. Pinyon Mountain is a Jeep Badge of Honor trail in the renowned Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and arguably its most challenging. The Squeeze tests every bit of your precision as you listen to fenders scrape on its narrow passage, while Heart Attack Hill will surely give you that proverbial "heart attack" when you first see it.  This isn't a solo-type excursion trail. You will need every bit of your wheeling mates' eyes and collective experience as you conquer what people call "The Secret of the Desert." 

Trail Difficulty and Assessment

Trail Navigation

The trail is typically run as depicted here, from the west to the east, so you are going down Heart Attack Hill. The majority of the trail is a simple sandy and dirt road until you reach the first and named obstacle, "The Squeeze." Post Squeeze, there are more obstacles, including the named "Back Window Rock," notorious for vehicles leaning their tail end into and smashing out the window. Once you complete those obstacles, you reach "Heart Attack Hill," with several optional lines for descending. Once down Heart Attack Hill, the trail is complete before you reach Hapaha Flats on your way out to Fish Creek.


Wider vehicles will struggle through the Squeeze as a stock Jeep JL is about as wide as you can be, and you will most likely scratch your fenders even at that width. For reference, a stock Wrangler JL is 73.9" wide, and Bronco Badlands Sasquatch is 76.3" wide.

Badge of Honor Check-In:

There is adequate cell reception to check in the Jeep Badge of Honor app from Waypoint 1 to roughly Waypoint 12.

Time on the Trail:

Allow all day to complete Pinyon Mountain because you need to account for the time it takes to exit via Hapaha Flat Road and Fish Creek.


Due to the remoteness of the trailhead (Waypoint 1) and the overall distance after the trail is complete to get back to the nearest town, you should consider your fuel consumption as part of your planning. From the trail's end, you will need to drive roughly 22 miles of soft sand trails to get back to asphalt. From there, you will go another 26 miles to the nearest gas station that may or may not have fuel.

Trail Reviews

5/5 (15)
Rated 5/5
Visited: 03/31/2023
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

So I did this trail alone with my fiancé as a passenger in my Jeep TJ with 4” Lift on 33’s no lockers, with rear LSD! We made a 260 mile round trip for the Jeep Badge of Honor. I would not recommend this trail alone. I did not realize how remote this location is! I had my drone to spot me through The squeeze, and down heart attack hill. Obstacles were fun and challenging, but I would definitely not do this trail again with a hardtop. The squeeze is high risk for light body damage to fenders, hardtops, and mirrors. 100% plan your trip in advance as there are no gas stations for about 25 miles to the trail head and another 20-30 miles of Sandy and Silty terrain through Hapaha flats, and fish creek. pavement starts at split mountain road, and leads you to highway 86. I arrived at the trailhead at 4:45 P.M. and exited the trail at 9:30 P.M.
Rated 5/5
Visited: 03/25/2023
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Fun day on the trail. The question with most trails is always if it is stock capable. I'm going to say yes, but the question with this one is how much risk of body damage do you want? This was a very challenging trail for a largely stock Sahara JL Unlimited. I say largely stock because I have front and rear differential skids, rear control arm skids, and 33" AT tires. No lift. The squeeze gave me a couple of scratches and broke part of my plastic bumper. Great spotting is pretty much a must. The window breaker I pretty much went fairly wide and spotting helped. Probably the easiest of the obstacles. On to Heart Attack Hill.... I took the right side line as you look down the hill. It looked easier from the top and everyone else in the party took that line. I'm told that the side in the pictures with the article were easier. I wasn't going to be the only one to find out. For the most part I just aimed it straight down, rode out the dips and with a few contacts with the skid plates... made it near the bottom and turned out and then enjoyed the rest of the trip back out to the main road, a sense of accomplishment and Badge of Honor in hand.
Official Crew
Rated 5/5
Visited: 03/22/2023
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Every time I do this trail, I forget how much I like it. Always a ton of fun. Also went out and added all the new info to the trail guide. Make sure you leave reviews and let us know what you like.
Official Crew
Rated 5/5
Visited: 02/27/2023

Really glad I did this trail! I have to admit, I was a bit nervous about Heart Attack Hill and worried about fitting the JL with an Ursa Minor Top through the Squeeze, but good spotting got me through. The views leading up the Canyon were spectacular as it was green, the campsites looked amazing, and coming down from Heart Attack Hill to Hapaha Flat was even better. I would recommend this one to anyone, but don't do this one alone, you will feel really out there, and spotting is going to be really helpful through the Squeeze.
Rated 5/5
Visited: 02/12/2023
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

The actual trail itself is easy. the trail gets its 5 rating from the tight section at the end. i complete whole trail except the last tight section in my stock 2wd tacoma

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