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)

Trail Map
View Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in a larger map
Elevation Profile
Click or hover over any spot on this elevation profile to see the distance from the start and elevation above sea level at that location, which will be highlighted on the map.

You may also view a regional map of surrounding California Desert trails and campgrounds.


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.
Nearby Trails
Yaqui Well Trail Anza-Borrego DesertYaqui Well Trail
This 1.6-mile out and back hike on a self-guided nature trail explores area botany and history, crossing a wash to reach a rare desert water source.
Anza-Borrego Desert TrailThe Slot
This short hike descends through a narrow canyon beneath a natural rock span that is among the most photographed landmarks in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.
Kenyon Overlook TrailKenyon Overlook Trail
This 1.15-mile loop sets out from Yaqui Pass to reach an incredible viewpoint across Mescal Bajada.
Anza-Borrego Desert TrailCalcite Mine Trail
This 4.25-mile trek climbs 600 feet to a historic mine site, exploring exciting narrows along the way.
Anza-Borrego Desert Palms Canyon TrailBorrego Palm Canyon Trail
This 3.25-mile loop visits a popular palm tree oasis in a canyon west of Borrego Springs.
Anza-Borrego Desert Maidenhair Falls TrailHellhole Canyon Trail to Maidenhair Falls
This 5.5-mile hike visits a 20-foot waterfall in a canyon near Borrego Springs, making it the perfect place to cool off on a hot day in the California Desert.
Anza-Borrego Desert TrailPictograph Trail
This 1.8-mile hike visits rock paintings drawn by Kumeyaay Indians who lived in the Anza-Borrego Desert thousands of years ago.
Anza-Borrego Desert TrailMorteros Trail
This 0.6-mile hike visits a village of boulders once occupied by Kumeyaay Indians who left behind Morteros, grinding bowls carved into the rock.
Anza-Borrego Desert TrailRainbow Canyon Trail
This 2.2-mile adventure follows an undeveloped trail up a colorful canyon full of vibrant rock formations and desert plants.
Wind Caves TrailsElephant Trees Trail
This easy one-mile loop offers a lesson in desert botany including the rare elephant tree.
Wind Caves TrailsWind Caves Trail
This 1.25-mile round trip hike climbs 250 feet to a sandstone formation that begs to be explored.
California desert TrailsHikes in the California Desert
Explore more trails in Death Valley National Park, Joshua Tree National Park, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, and Mojave National Preserve.
California Desert CampingAnza-Borrego Desert Campgrounds
There are four developed campgrounds, eight primitive campgrounds, and extensive roadside camping to accommodate your visit to California’s largest state park.
Anza-Borrego Desert WildflowersAnza-Borrego Desert State Park Wildflowers
The desert bloom brings bursts of color to barrel cactus, beavertail cactus, ocotillo, and more.
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Tagged with · Borrego Springs · California State Parks · Free Trails · Nature Trails
Distance: 0.5 miles · Elevation change: 50 feet

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