Narrows Earth Trail Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

What Elephant Trees Trail is to desert botany, Narrows Earth Trail is to desert geology. The pamphlet available at the start of this half-mile loop describes the geological features present in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. The desert is a great place to learn about geology. Sparse vegetation exposes the earth’s rock skeleton, bringing the secrets of the land’s formation to bear.

Begin hiking around the loop, up the east edge of Powder Dump Wash. At the top of this small sandy wash cut into the Vallecito Mountains, the trail turns around and backtracks along the west wall toward the trailhead. There are no narrows along the hike, rather this is an “earth” trail just south of a gap between Yaqui Ridge and the Vallecito Mountains known as the narrows, which Route 78 passes through.

Narrows Earth Trail Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
Looking down the wash toward the narrows

Entries in the pamphlet coincide with seven markers along the trail, describing the variety of rocks visible in the park. Fault lines and other erosive powers that sculpt the landscape are also explained. Narrows Earth Trail is a concise outdoor classroom, and the best trek in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park for a lesson in the different rocks that compose the park’s impressive landscapes. Knowledge gained on this short self-guided hike will help you to identify similar features throughout the park. When you know what to look for, desert geology is quite fascinating. To explore one of the other self-guided nature trail in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, check out Yaqui Well Trail, Elephant Trees Trail, or Cactus Loop Trail.

To get to the trailhead: From Christmas Circle in Borrego Springs, drive 11.5 miles southwest on Borrego Springs Road. Turn right on Route 78 west and drive 4 miles through a dramatic gap between Yaqui Ridge and the Vallecito Mountains. Pull off the road into the trailhead parking area on the south (left) side of the road near mile marker 81.5, just south of Quartz Vein Wash.

Trailhead address: Route 78, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Borrego Springs, CA 92004
Trailhead coordinates: 33.13072, -116.301549 (33° 07′ 50.59″N 116° 18′ 05.57″W)

Use the map below to view the trail and get directions:

Photos

Narrows Earth Trail Anza-Borrego DesertNarrows Earth Trail Anza-Borrego DesertNarrows Earth Trail Anza-Borrego DesertNarrows Earth Trail Anza-Borrego DesertNarrows Earth Trail Anza-Borrego Desert

These photos were taken in March of 2011. Click to enlarge.
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