Borrego Buttes

Today’s planned summit was of Coyote Mountain, just east of Borrego Springs. Since Ted had a commitment in the early evening, we were constrained on what we could do. Also, the recent storm had left some snow on of the higher peaks, so they were off the list. As we drove through Ranchita, the area was covered in a nice layer of snow. We pulled off and snapped a few photos before heading on down to the trailhead.

Initially, we had wanted to hike Coyote on Saturday, but the weather had other plans. When I went to bed, the forecast looked ok. But when we parked at the trailhead, the winds were stronger than we expected. The thought of hiking up the exposed ridgeline just did not seem like a wise plan. So, we pivoted to some other adventures. Since we were so close to Fonts Point, we decided to drive out and see it. I had been out there years ago, but neither Susie nor Ted had ever been. The drive was pretty straightforward to the trailhead, and once there we strolled out to the overlook and took in the views of the Borrego Badlands. 

Since we had a time issue, we decided to knock out some short hikes that Ted needed. We drove around to hike Borrego Mountain East Butte. Parking again near the land bridge, we crossed it and quickly began making our way up toward the summit. Both Susie and I noted the route had been marked with a lot of cairns. Neither of us remembered them when we climbed this peak back in November. At the summit, we signed the register and took some photos before heading back down. Along the way, we crossed paths with two other hikers making their way up. Funny, there had only been two hikers to have signed the register between our previous visit and today. The two we met today had recently moved to Borrego Springs and had been looking to explore the area.  

Once back at the car, we still had time, so we decided to head over to the Slot and bag Borrego Mountain West Butte. I had always wanted to try to drive the connecting dirt road from East Butte that passes by Hawk Canyon. For the most part, I felt the road was fine, although Susie and Ted might disagree. This road intersects with the standard route you take up from the 78. This is also where the rangers were collecting the $10 use fee.

We found a parking spot and noted there were now pit toilets at the trailhead so that fee at least had provided some services. Grabbing our gear we set off along the well-defined use trail to the summit. About partway up we caught up with some other hikers who were working their way up toward the summit. They asked for directions to the Slot. It seems they had turned right, not left, from the entrance near the parking lot. We directed them back down toward the parking area and wished them well. After a bit more climbing we found ourselves atop the summit. Unfortunately, there is no benchmark or register here, so we just snapped a few photos and headed back down. Since we were making good time, we decided to go ahead and go ahead and do the Slot. 

We followed a side trail that took us right into the Slot. We passed a few folks along the way, including the folks we gave the directions to earlier. We did not linger too long as we made our way through the twists and turns, as we still needed to be back in town around 3. Once the passage opened back up some, we took a short climb back out and headed to the car. While not the adventure we planned, it was still a great day out on Anza-Borrego.

I am an avid peak bagger, sometimes backpacker, and former sea kayaker living in San Diego. In 2019, I became the third person to complete the San Diego 100 Peak Challenge. Not stopping with that accomplishment, I set my sights on the harder San Diego Sierra Club 100 Peak list, which I completed in 2021. In addition, I have conquered several Six-Pack of Peaks challenges (SoCal, San Diego, Central Coast, and Arizona-Winter). Beyond attempting the San Diego Sierra Club 100 Peak list a second time, I am looking forward to exploring new summits and new adventures across the southwest. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *