Elephant Knees Anza Borrego
Anza Borrego,  Southern California,  Trip Report

Trip Report and Guide – Fish Creek (Anza Borrego), Sandstone Canyon, and Wind Caves

Trip Report and Guide - Fish Creek, Sandstone Canyon, and Wind Caves April 2019


30 second review: Fish Creek is a great trail. It's an easy trail if you have the clearance, and doable in most anything else. The rock formations in this area make it a must see trip. There's essentially unlimited camping spots and it's the perfect spring getaway.


Fees: Free!

Amenities: There are toilets at the Fish Creek Primitive Campground near the beginning of Fish Creek. However, we highly recommend camping deeper down the road, so plan on bringing your own toilet or shovel. You will also need your own water (remember the rule of thumb: 1 gallon per person per day).

Offroad Difficulty: The Tacoma had zero issues on Fish Creek, we did travel with some friends in a Subaru Cross Trek and they were definitely moving slower through some of the features. Vehicles with a bit of clearance will be able to handle everything on Fish Creek, but more off-road oriented vehicles will move quickly through the trail.

Sand Canyon is another issue. At the time of our trip there was a recent rock slide in the canyon which made it only passable for dedicated rock crawlers. It still makes for a good hike if your vehicle can't make it any further.

Is Fish Creek Good For Kids? I would say so! Ava had a great time on the trip since there were so many rocks and flowers for her to crawl on and investigate.

Maps: You can use the following map to help get you back to Sandstone Canyon. It's actually hard to get lost, just remember that the even if the trail splits it will combine again so just head in the general direction you're supposed to go.

Fish Creek starts after driving down Highway 78 through Ocotillo Wells, a town that looks like a jumping off point to a Mad Max movie. I half wanted to head off into the sand but had to maintain focus to go check out Anza Borrego.

Borrego Springs is probably on your way here, or just a little ways out of the way and we highly recommend spending an extra day in the area to check it out. You can read our trip report here.

After driving down Split Mountain Road the road keeps degrading until only sand remains and eventually you'll see a pull out on your right hand side where the Fish Creek Wash starts.

At this point we pulled off to the side to air down. I was pretty excited as well because this was the first proper off roading we would do with the new Falken Wildpeak tires.

Immediately on the trail you feel a sense of freedom since you pretty much just head in a general direction and there really isn't much of a defined trail. There was also plenty of spots you could open it up and get some good speed off road. Ava loved being tossed around so she had a blast.


Fish Creek Overlanding
This is one of the first rock features you come across that lets you know you're somewhere special.


Fish Creek Rock Formations
A little bit further in you come across some really amazing rock formations. Here is a shear face wall with a radial shape.


Fish Creek Rock Formations
Another view to give some perspective of how big this wall is.


Near this area there's another little spot to take a fun photo with your overlanding rig.


Sandstone Canyon Entrance
After driving along Fish Creek for awhile there is an opening on your left which is the entrance to Sandstone Canyon.


Sandstone Canyon
Unfortunately there was a recent rock slide and it was getting late so we chose not to head in any further.


Sandstone Canyon Rock Slide
Another view of the entrance to Sandstone Canyon


Sandstone Canyon Camping
We ended up grabbing a camping spot right outside the entrance to Sandstone Canyon. The desert sunset was amazing.

On a side note, the ARB awning and side room continues to be the best upgrade we've done for the truck.

Sandstone Canyon Sunset
One last parting shot of the sunset before going to bed.


Sandstone Canyon Kids Activity
The next morning Ava found some rocks she had to boulder.


Sandstone Canyon Camping with Kids
Ava decided to test drive the Subaru before heading out to the Wind Caves.

Heading back out the way we came in you'll come to the trailhead for the Wind Caves. If you head in the general direction of the Wind Caves you'll eventually get there, but there are at least two trails to get to there.

Wind Caves Elephant Knees
There are some great views of the nearby Elephant Knees along the trail.


Wind Caves Hike
Finally at the Wind Caves. It's a very cool area that you can spend a lot of time exploring.


Wind Caves Kids Anza Borrego
There's also a great spot to take a snack break...which we did.

After the Wind Caves its a fairly quick drive out. We aired up at the same dirt lot we aired down at using the Viair 88 then headed back onto Split Mountain Road.


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