The trail is steep, but not nearly as steep as it looks from above, dropping less than fifty feet. From the rocks there is a path that heads back towards the Salton Sea and it is great for photos, but you will be heading out on the other path. Turn left on Route 78 East, drive 1.
This is also one that you really need the ladder to get up and it is a fun way to start the trail. It even has unique areas such as the palm tree oasis of Hellhole Canyon, abandoned mines and of course the slot canyon itself.
Go another mile to the parking area slot canyon address The Slot. Low clearance vehicles should be able to drive all the way to the trailhead at the end of the sandy dirt road. About three-fourths of the way you will reach the natural rock bridge.
I would highly recommend checking it out. Let me know if you have been and what you thought in the comments.
The shaded slot provides cool relief from the desert above. The park has no fees to enter, thousands of miles to explore and off-road on.
The Hike The dirt road dead ends at the trailhead, and when I was there on a Tuesday there was a couple cars in the parking lot so it was easy to find. It is like any remote trailhead, there is always the possibility of break-ins, so it is better not to leave valuables.
There are no signs to direct you where to go, just know when you get to the area in the below picture you want to head left down into the canyon for the start of the slot. The trail begins from the parking lot and heads into the canyon directly in front of you.
The siltstone walls grow taller and closer together. Getting There Make no mistake, you will have to work to find this place.
This section of the canyon is very wide and not shaded either so be warned of that as it can get hot. Drive one mile up this dirt road to a fork, and continue to the left up Borrego Mountain Wash. All in all, I expected the ladders to be a little crazier when I went, but overall this hike with the ladders, slot canyon, and Big Painted Canyon is one of the best in Southern California.
From here you will climb a few more but most of these are relatively small at only feet or so. The Slot Not far below, the canyon widens and the trail meets the top of a jeep road. Here is all the info so you can check it out yourself.
The Slot lacks a defined trail marker. Details feet of elevation gain Bring lots of water Do not do it in the summer as it will be incredibly hot People do report break-ins at the trail head sometimes so be sure you remove anything valuable from your car.
There were big rock arrows arranged to show the way when we were there but still make sure to download the map I told you about above in case the arrows are not there. The canyon itself starts to get taller and taller around you, while the path gets more and more narrow. While it is technically on the map, it is still difficult to find, as it is located about two miles down a dirt road that is very easy to miss.
My suggestion would be to check in with the visitors center before trying to head out to the canyon, my map below will get you close, but it is really easy to miss if you do not know where the road will be.
Hopefully you did not eat a big breakfast, because you will need to squeeze through course walls that are shoulder width apart, and less in places. This short hike has just feet of elevation loss, but the memory will be much more profound. The correct route is the narrow steep-looking track that drops right off the rim of the ravine, straight ahead from the casino truth area.
The way back from here is more of the same, heading through the truly unique Big Painted Canyon. The winding trail cliffs out above a dry falls in a side canyon above The Slot. This canyon is beautiful and it reminded me of Golden Canyon in Death Valley.
The canyon gets blackjack neoprene narrow at some place that you actually have to go sideways. From Christmas Circle in Borrego Springs, drive The path goes for slot canyon address.
From the summit, one can hike west along a ridge to the dirt road below The Slot, and return to the trailhead through the canyon for a 3. One option is to walk down this road a ways to a junction, and turn left to loop back to the start, adding over a mile to the hike. I would compare it to the other popular slot canyon in Anza Borrego. Turn left and venture down to The Slot.
You simply weave your way through the canyon as it gets to about feet on either side of you. I really enjoyed myself and highly recommend it, but not during the heat of summer. The next mile or so is an amazing experience. After this rockfall is when you will meet your first ladder. Here is a map that the visitors center provides. We headed this way and found the tallest ladder we had seen the entire day; it was about feet.
This is not the way. I was carrying a hydration pack, which I actually took off and left half way through the hike only to pick back up on the way out, as it was scraping and making walking through the narrow canyon difficult. About a mile or so into the walk out we saw an offshoot to the left and another ladder.
You can see the entrance below. The canyon continues to get wider as you make your way out.
Slot canyon address