Wind Caves and Primitive Camping
Situated in the North East corner of San Diego County is the Anza Borrego Desert State Park. The rugged landscape it is known for is formed largely by millions of years of erosion. With over 500 miles of dirt trails and 110 miles of hiking trails, this park offers endless opportunity for the weekend explorer.
Open Road 4 Two headed out for a quick overnight trip to explore the Wind Caves, do some light wheeling, and to find a quiet place to camp. We headed out Sunday morning and to our delight, we encounter the weekend crowd headed home. With each passing mile as we approached our destination, we encounter caravans of trucks, trailers, and RVs headed home.
Although we are still experiencing high temperatures in Southern California, the forecast in the desert was low to mid eighties during the day and down into the fifties at night. Pretty much a perfect time to visit this area.
As we entered Ocottillo Wells, we turned off of SR-78 and onto Split Mountain Rd. passing a local favorite watering hole, the Iron Door Saloon. Although we had a long day of planned ahead of us, we were tempted to stop to grab a cold one.... Maybe next time.
A few miles up the road we took a right and drove up the Fish Creek Wash. Although possible to make your way up parts of the wash in 2WD, we definitely recommend having a high clearance 4WD vehicle as the wash is sandy and has some relatively large rocks to traverse. The scenic drive to our destination, the trail head for the Wind Caves, is known for its twisting towering canyon walls. As we wheeled through the canyons we were in awe of the beauty and wondered how many years it must have taken to carve such an amazing canyon.
The trail head sign can be easily missed, so keep your eyes peeled to the left as you exit out of the canyons and into a valley. The hike from this point is relatively short, approximately 1.25 miles out and back, but is rather steep with uneven terrain for the first half mile, so take your time, watch your step, and although it is a short hike, pack plenty of water.
After spending about an hour exploring these magnificent caves we headed back to make our camp for the night. We had some fun wheeling through the canyons and stopping for a few Yota selfies.
When we got the the Fish Creek Camp ground we found two of the six campsites were occupied, however one group was packing to leave and the second group left shortly after we arrived. As we waited for other campers to arrive, none did. We had the entire campground to ourselves for the night. Th campground is free primitive camping, with each site having a metal fire ring and one vault toilet. The spot we choose had a nice view of the surrounding canyons and the wash/trail below.
The sunset sky entertained us with an amazing sky. Randy and I had a wonderful camp meal of cheesesteaks and kettle cooked chips. We ended the night relaxing by the fire watching the full moon rise high into the sky. We retreated to our rooftop tent around 10:00 PM and fell asleep; however, the wind kicked up around 2:00 AM and did not let up the rest of the morning. Around 6:00 AM we packed out what we packed in, and headed on the road back home.
Be sure to check out our YouTube channel for a video where we highlight our full Wind Caves & Fish Creek Primitive Camping adventure. We will see you next time down the Open Road!