The Slot

Borrego Springs, California (SanDiego County)

Last Updated: 05/21/2019
4.4 / 5 ( 8 reviews )
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Typically Open: Year Round
Difficulty: 1-5
Length: 2.99 miles
Highest Elevation: 794 feet
Duration: About 1 hour
Shape of Trail: Out & Back
Best Direction to Travel: West
Nearest Town: Borrego Springs
Nearest Town w/ Services: Borrego Springs
Official Road Name: The Slot
Management Agency: Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
District: Anza-Borrego Desert State Park


Highlight: The Slot
"The Slot" is a extremely narrow hiking trail in a sandstone canyon in the heart of Anza Borrego State Park. The off-road drive to The Slot is a very easy one with some soft sand and compact hard dirt. The road is safe to drive in a 2wd vehicle most of the year, but please note, when it comes to taking any dirt road, it is always best to travel in a group. Once you reach The Slot, you can hike from east to west down the canyon. The Slot starts out an openish area but quickly closes in. At points in the trail you will be trying to shimmy sideways just to continue on. Once to the bottom it opens up to a slot canyon just wide enough for a off-road vehicle. If you have an equipped vehicle and are with a group, driving around this end of the trail might make for a full day adventure. For most people, it is recommended that you go back out the way you came in. **Important Notice** It gets over 110 degrees at The Slot in the summer. Please bring lots of water and notify people where you are going. Also, this area is at high risk of flash flood. Only enter The Slot on sunny days.


Route Information

Advanced Rating System

Recommended Vehicle:
2WD Vehicle with High Clearance
The main part of the road is a compacted sand path. You only need to worry about pinstriping in sections where you need to pass someone.

Technical Rating

Dirt and/or rocky road. Potential rocks and/or tree stumps less than 5" tall and/or vertical ledges less than 5" tall and/or near vertical ledges or waterfalls less than 6" inches. Good tire placement likely. Can be steep, but with good traction.
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Community Consensus

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The Slot is a very narrow canyon in Anza Borrego that is fun to hike (Not a Off-Road Trail). The trail getting to the Slot is very easy but sandy in places. The sand can get deep at times but most 4x4's and 2wd vehicles should be able to make it. Inside the Slot Canyon is a very narrow mini-canyon that is at times only about a foot wide and about 200 feet tall. While inside don't forget to look up and see boulders suspended between the cliff walls or large mud/hill slides that are wedged above you. If you plan on driving to the west most end of the slot, please understand in doing so you are going to enter a one-way trail that requires about 20 additional miles of mild to hard trails to exit to asphalt. If you do plan on going this way, please be in a upgraded 4x4 and travel in a group.
DO NOT GO IN THE SLOT IF THERE IS A CHANCE OF RAIN Dogs are no longer allowed in The Slot...


1. Road Turn Off (0 mi)
Turn off Highway 78 roughly 1/4 of mile east of Borrego Springs Road, head north
2. Stay To The Left (West) at Hawk Canyon Cut-Off (1.1 mi)
Stay to the left / west at Y (Hawk Canyon)
3. East End Of Slot Canyon / Park Here (1.8 mi)
Park at the edge of The Slot. The trail turns hard left when at the slot and follows the ridge.
4. Tight Places in the Slot ( mi)
Some of the tight places in The Slot
5. West Most End of The Slot Canyon (Borrego Mountain Wash) ( mi)
West most end of The Slot. This end can be approached by vehicle. But note, if trying to reach this end, it will require a full day trip of cross desert travel.
6. Borrego Mountain Drop (One Way) (2.8 mi)
This is where the trail becomes one way. If you are not in an equipped 4x4 and not with a group, do not proceed down this path. This will drop you onto Borrego Mountain Wash which leads to several other washes. Once down this hill the only exit is going north about 20 miles. The trail gets tight and hard at first once down and wouldn't be recommend for long wheelbase.
7. End of Trail (Borrego Mountain Wash) (3 mi)
The trail ends at Borrego Mountain Wash. To the south is The Slot, while if you go north it will take you to San Felipe Wash.

Directions to Trailhead

Starting Point: Ocotillo Wells, CA

Exit North off of Highway 78 roughly 1/4 of mile east of Borrego Springs Road. Go north on dirt road. While on dirt road stay to the left at Y (Hawk Canyon). Park at 33.182114, -116.214372. Hike down hill and proceed West into "The Slot"


You are allowed to do dispersed camping in this area, but no fires are allowed. If your vehicle is up for it, the best place would to be camp near the Borrego Mountain dropoff. There, you will have a lot more space and a lot less traffic. Anza Borrego Park offers tons of designated camping in the area and allows camp fires. Please visit Reserve America to find the camping area for you.
Camping: The Slot

Land Use Issues

Trail Reviews (10)

Questions & Answers (0)

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.