Arroyo Tapiado Mud Caves in Anza Borrego State Park

Located deep in the southern section of Anza Borrego State Park, the Arroyo Tapiado Mud Caves are one of the most popular attractions. That being said, getting out to them requires 4 wheel drive and entering the caves is dangerous and should not be taken lightly. If you want to go, make sure you don’t go alone, take lots of water and bring a flashlight and helmet. If you are still with me and want to see the caves here is the info.

Details

  • 8 miles off the road on a 4×4 drive
  • Don’t go after rain as the caves are made of mud and can collapse

Getting There

If you want detailed directions I recommend checking out this site. That being said, I used Google Maps to navigate all the way to the caves since it is popular enough to be a point of interest on Google Maps. Don’t just rely on this though, do your research as you will be driving through the desert and there are no signs.

The Drive

After getting off on the main road, you will be driving along the dirt in a wash for most of the way. I would not recommend coming in a two-wheel drive car as it was OK in the beginning but much more sketchy at the end.

The road passes Palm Spring at about the 1.5-mile mark. You can drive up and see that if you would like, it has a small spring that has water seasonally and a historical marker.

Heading onward, you will want to keep your eyes peeled for the Hollywood and Vine sign on top of one of the hills to the left of where you are driving. It is easy to miss, but it is fun to see, so keep watch for it.

When you get to the sign, you can walk up the small hill to see the Hollywood and Vine sign that looks like something out of Mad Max.

Continuing on, you will reach another wash and will need to take a sharp left. There was a sign here when I went but you can’t always count on that being the case so again make sure to have a map and know where you are going.

Heading up this wash and into the canyon is where the 4×4 was really needed as there was lots of dips and loose rock/sand sections.

You will pass a plaque from the parks system that tells you about the caves and area.

The Caves

We eventually made it to the base of one of the main caves. This is the largest mud cave system in the world, so there are many out here, but no one has been able to map them all.

If you enter the caves please be careful as they are dangerous and can collapse, I recommend a light and helmet as you do not want to bump your head in the dark and often small caves. Also, make sure you come with someone else (I went with Chris from LastAdventurer.com) and that you never walk on the top of the caves (they can collapse, don’t do it).

The cave we entered was large and had about a half mile or so of dark.

There were two cave-ins that provided light while we made our way through the cave.

These were awesome as it gave you a break from the monotony of the darkness and offered cool photo opportunities.

Eventually, the cave opened back up and entered into a canyon.

It was fun to walk through this section as well as some of the areas were very narrow, and it was like a slot canyon.

There was even a small mud arch to see here, but I wouldn’t guess that it would be there much longer with how small it was getting.

After exploring for about an hour, we made our way back out of the canyon and cave and started the long drive back to the road. This is an out of the way spot that requires a real adventure just to get to, but if you are careful, it can be a fun place to explore. Let me know what you think in the comments.

Arroyo Tapiado Mud Caves in Anza Borrego State Park

Located deep in the southern section of Anza Borrego State Park, the Arroyo Tapiado Mud Caves are one of the most popular attractions. That being said, getting out to them requires 4 wheel drive and entering the caves is dangerous and should not be taken lightly. If you want to go, make sure you don’t go alone, take lots of water and bring a flashlight and helmet. If you are still with me and want to see the caves here is the info.

Details

  • 8 miles off the road on a 4×4 drive
  • Don’t go after rain as the caves are made of mud and can collapse

Getting There

If you want detailed directions I recommend checking out this site. That being said, I used Google Maps to navigate all the way to the caves since it is popular enough to be a point of interest on Google Maps. Don’t just rely on this though, do your research as you will be driving through the desert and there are no signs.

The Drive

After getting off on the main road, you will be driving along the dirt in a wash for most of the way. I would not recommend coming in a two-wheel drive car as it was OK in the beginning but much more sketchy at the end.

The road passes Palm Spring at about the 1.5-mile mark. You can drive up and see that if you would like, it has a small spring that has water seasonally and a historical marker.

Heading onward, you will want to keep your eyes peeled for the Hollywood and Vine sign on top of one of the hills to the left of where you are driving. It is easy to miss, but it is fun to see, so keep watch for it.

When you get to the sign, you can walk up the small hill to see the Hollywood and Vine sign that looks like something out of Mad Max.

Continuing on, you will reach another wash and will need to take a sharp left. There was a sign here when I went but you can’t always count on that being the case so again make sure to have a map and know where you are going.

Heading up this wash and into the canyon is where the 4×4 was really needed as there was lots of dips and loose rock/sand sections.

You will pass a plaque from the parks system that tells you about the caves and area.

The Caves

We eventually made it to the base of one of the main caves. This is the largest mud cave system in the world, so there are many out here, but no one has been able to map them all.

If you enter the caves please be careful as they are dangerous and can collapse, I recommend a light and helmet as you do not want to bump your head in the dark and often small caves. Also, make sure you come with someone else (I went with Chris from LastAdventurer.com) and that you never walk on the top of the caves (they can collapse, don’t do it).

The cave we entered was large and had about a half mile or so of dark.

There were two cave-ins that provided light while we made our way through the cave.

These were awesome as it gave you a break from the monotony of the darkness and offered cool photo opportunities.

Eventually, the cave opened back up and entered into a canyon.

It was fun to walk through this section as well as some of the areas were very narrow, and it was like a slot canyon.

There was even a small mud arch to see here, but I wouldn’t guess that it would be there much longer with how small it was getting.

After exploring for about an hour, we made our way back out of the canyon and cave and started the long drive back to the road. This is an out of the way spot that requires a real adventure just to get to, but if you are careful, it can be a fun place to explore. Let me know what you think in the comments.

Borrego Palm Canyon in Anza Borrego

In the Anza Borrego desert, one of the most popular spots to hike is Borrego Palm Canyon. This three-mile trail climbs into a canyon and ends at a good sized palm oasis and a small seasonal waterfall. It’s a great hike but there is a decent amount of uphill so don’t do it on a hot day. Here is all the information.

Details

  • Cost: if you are camping it’s free to enter here or else it’s $10
  • 3 Miles
  • 150 feet of elevation

Getting There

The trail for Borrego Palm Canyon is at the end of the Borrego Palm Canyon Campground. You need to pay the fee to get in here if you are not camping, then you just proceed past the campgrounds to the end of the road. There is a good sized parking lot here that you can use for the hike.

The Trail

From the parking lot, there are two trails you can head out, the main and the alternate, but both go to the same place. The alternate trail takes you up a little more elevation and is closer to the mountains, so it is harder, but you might see sheep on it (I didn’t).

The main trail just follows the wash the entire time, so it is pretty easy to follow, and there is not as much elevation gain as the alternate. The trail is not very well shaded, and it has some elevation so make sure you are prepared if it is hot.

As you follow the trail back, you will start entering a large canyon.

This canyon bends around, and you head up a little bit. When you get to the top of the tiny hill, you will be able to see the destination, the palms in the distance.

This part of the trail feels more remote than it is. I didn’t see many people on it when I went so it was kind of crazy being out here by myself.

The trail has plaques on it talking about history and the things you are seeing, so grab a booklet before starting if you are interested in that.

This is also the portion of the trail that I saw a rattlesnake sunning itself.

The rattlesnake was right in the middle of the trail, so I saw it and was able to stop and go around it. Be sure you pay attention for snakes, especially when it’s warm.

The last quarter mile is impressive as you go into the palms and start to see green instead of the desert’s brown.

The trail is a little harder to follow here and feels overgrown in some parts, especially as you get close to the base of the grove. Before heading into the grove, listen for water and you might see the small trickle of the falls if you’re lucky. Most of the year it is just stagnant water sitting there though.

From there head under the low-hanging palms and into the oasis.

There is a large flat area here with a small bench tree so you can sit and relax for a few minutes.

I really enjoyed seeing this spot and it one of the better oasis in Anza Borrego.

If you are looking for a nice hike to introduce you to the unique desert, then this is a good choice. Let me know what you think in the comments.

Borrego Palm Canyon in Anza Borrego

In the Anza Borrego desert, one of the most popular spots to hike is Borrego Palm Canyon. This three-mile trail climbs into a canyon and ends at a good sized palm oasis and a small seasonal waterfall. It’s a great hike but there is a decent amount of uphill so don’t do it on a hot day. Here is all the information.

Details

  • Cost: if you are camping it’s free to enter here or else it’s $10
  • 3 Miles
  • 150 feet of elevation

Getting There

The trail for Borrego Palm Canyon is at the end of the Borrego Palm Canyon Campground. You need to pay the fee to get in here if you are not camping, then you just proceed past the campgrounds to the end of the road. There is a good sized parking lot here that you can use for the hike.

The Trail

From the parking lot, there are two trails you can head out, the main and the alternate, but both go to the same place. The alternate trail takes you up a little more elevation and is closer to the mountains, so it is harder, but you might see sheep on it (I didn’t).

The main trail just follows the wash the entire time, so it is pretty easy to follow, and there is not as much elevation gain as the alternate. The trail is not very well shaded, and it has some elevation so make sure you are prepared if it is hot.

As you follow the trail back, you will start entering a large canyon.

This canyon bends around, and you head up a little bit. When you get to the top of the tiny hill, you will be able to see the destination, the palms in the distance.

This part of the trail feels more remote than it is. I didn’t see many people on it when I went so it was kind of crazy being out here by myself.

The trail has plaques on it talking about history and the things you are seeing, so grab a booklet before starting if you are interested in that.

This is also the portion of the trail that I saw a rattlesnake sunning itself.

The rattlesnake was right in the middle of the trail, so I saw it and was able to stop and go around it. Be sure you pay attention for snakes, especially when it’s warm.

The last quarter mile is impressive as you go into the palms and start to see green instead of the desert’s brown.

The trail is a little harder to follow here and feels overgrown in some parts, especially as you get close to the base of the grove. Before heading into the grove, listen for water and you might see the small trickle of the falls if you’re lucky. Most of the year it is just stagnant water sitting there though.

From there head under the low-hanging palms and into the oasis.

There is a large flat area here with a small bench tree so you can sit and relax for a few minutes.

I really enjoyed seeing this spot and it one of the better oasis in Anza Borrego.

If you are looking for a nice hike to introduce you to the unique desert, then this is a good choice. Let me know what you think in the comments.

Font’s Point: Anza Borrego State Park’s Best View

Anza Borrego State Park, in Southern California, is a huge desert with countless adventures to be had. While I have by no means done everything, the view at Font’s Point in the parks northern section is one of the best views in all of Southern California. The way the ragged ridgelines bend out in front of you from this high vantage point is awe-inspiring, and something that everyone should see at least once in California. Here is all the information on how to get to this spot.

Details

  • 4-mile dirt road to drive
  • 4×4 strongly recommended
  • Best at sunrise or sunset

Getting There

From Christmas Circle in Anza Borrego, you will want to head out on S-22 for ten miles. Right after the 29-mile marker, you will see a dirt road on the right and a sign that says Font’s Point, 4 miles. This is where you will turn and start the off-roading to Font’s Point. I would not recommend doing this without 4 wheel drive, but it does depend on the year and road conditions. When I went, there were a lot of sandy spots which would be easy for 2WD cars to get stuck in. You can always call the park visitors center and ask for the current conditions.

The Road

When you turn off the main road onto the dirt, you will be following a wash most of the way. The road is wide, and there are not many markers, but since this is such a popular spot, you will be able to follow the tracks that are already there. There is one section with two paths; one has a sign that says foot traffic only, so you will want to take the section on the right. At the end of the drive there is a split as well, take the left spur, as most people exit from the lot to the road at the right.

When you get to the top, you will see a small parking lot at the end of the road.

Font’s Point

Font’s Point is on the other side of the low hills in front of the parking area. From the parking area, it is about a 5-minute walk to the viewpoint.

When you get to the edge you will be blown away by the view you have down into the craggy rocks and out to the Salton Sea.

The best time to see it is at sunrise as the sun rises in front of you. Sunset is great too as you get some nice colors but the sun sets behind you.

You can walk along the ridge and gets lots of views as you look out over the park.

I spent a good hour and a half here just watching the sun come up, and walking around to take it all in.

There are multiple information placards around the area so you can learn more about the park’s past as well.

Be sure to check this spot out if you have 4×4 and are spending some time in the park. It is one of those viewpoints you will not forget.

Font’s Point: Anza Borrego State Park’s Best View

Anza Borrego State Park, in Southern California, is a huge desert with countless adventures to be had. While I have by no means done everything, the view at Font’s Point in the parks northern section is one of the best views in all of Southern California. The way the ragged ridgelines bend out in front of you from this high vantage point is awe-inspiring, and something that everyone should see at least once in California. Here is all the information on how to get to this spot.

Details

  • 4-mile dirt road to drive
  • 4×4 strongly recommended
  • Best at sunrise or sunset

Getting There

From Christmas Circle in Anza Borrego, you will want to head out on S-22 for ten miles. Right after the 29-mile marker, you will see a dirt road on the right and a sign that says Font’s Point, 4 miles. This is where you will turn and start the off-roading to Font’s Point. I would not recommend doing this without 4 wheel drive, but it does depend on the year and road conditions. When I went, there were a lot of sandy spots which would be easy for 2WD cars to get stuck in. You can always call the park visitors center and ask for the current conditions.

The Road

When you turn off the main road onto the dirt, you will be following a wash most of the way. The road is wide, and there are not many markers, but since this is such a popular spot, you will be able to follow the tracks that are already there. There is one section with two paths; one has a sign that says foot traffic only, so you will want to take the section on the right. At the end of the drive there is a split as well, take the left spur, as most people exit from the lot to the road at the right.

When you get to the top, you will see a small parking lot at the end of the road.

Font’s Point

Font’s Point is on the other side of the low hills in front of the parking area. From the parking area, it is about a 5-minute walk to the viewpoint.

When you get to the edge you will be blown away by the view you have down into the craggy rocks and out to the Salton Sea.

The best time to see it is at sunrise as the sun rises in front of you. Sunset is great too as you get some nice colors but the sun sets behind you.

You can walk along the ridge and gets lots of views as you look out over the park.

I spent a good hour and a half here just watching the sun come up, and walking around to take it all in.

There are multiple information placards around the area so you can learn more about the park’s past as well.

Be sure to check this spot out if you have 4×4 and are spending some time in the park. It is one of those viewpoints you will not forget.