West Butte Borrego Mountain Loop (16 photos)

A winter storm brought clouds and rain to San Diego County – and snow at higher elevations. Joe and I were out to hike the West Butte Borrego Mountain loop as described by Jerry Schad in “Afoot & Afield in San Diego County”. On the 100 Peaks list, this is peak number 28.

We met at the Iron Mountain trailhead on Highway 67 and carpooled from there, via Ramona. In Wynola we made a left turn and chose Wynola Road (which connects directly to Banner Grade and avoids Julian for the most part) – and soon found ourselves in a Southern California winter wonderland :) with a couple of inches of snow on the road. The diversity of San Diego County impressed once more.

Down in the desert it was surprisingly cold, and as we got to the “higher” elevations of West Butte Borrego Mountain, I was glad to have my fleece jacket and woolen cap, the wind chill was really unpleasant. At the top of the butte we had our lunch before continuing down into Borrego Mountain Wash, which was sheltered from the wind and much more pleasant. There, we made a brief detour to some wind caves that we spotted from the trail before we finished the hike squeezing throughy “The Slot”, which is the most popular (and most easily accessible) slot canyon in Anza Borrego Desert State Park.

Back at the car the sun was still up and we used the opportunity to drive over to Borrego Springs and Fonts Point for sunset. Those photos will follow in a separate post.

This hike has it all: spectacular badlands, expansive desert views all the way to the Salton Sea, the details of desert washes, wind caves, and a slot canyon. The entire hike is about 6 miles. Highly recommended.

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