This may not be the most exciting or exotic hike in Anza-Borrego, but that doesn’t mean it’s without merit. First of all, it’s very accessible as far as desert hikes go. It begins just off the highway, so there’s no concern about having a high clearance vehicle or anything, and since it follows the course of a well-established 4WD jeep trail, it’s pretty much impossible to lose the trail. It’s a respectable length, measuring in at just under 8 miles, so you can feel like the long drive was worth it. And, as the name implies, it’s full of all kinds of neat volcanic rocks like basalt and andsite, so there are some unique landscape features to enjoy here.
We found the turnout for Jojoba Wash without any problems and were happy to find a nice wide turnout on firm ground. From the turnout, we could just make out the dark ridge of the Laguna Mountains to the northwest, with the tiny white dot of Laguna Observatory visible on the ridge.
We set off along the wide, sandy jeep road, enjoying the still quiet of mid-morning in the desert. Although this first section of the jeep track paralleled the highway, there was very little traffic to disrupt our solitude.
We grumbled a bit, but pressed onward, hoping the trail would improve as we progressed. A jackrabbit, startled by our approach, bolted across the trail and disappeared into the surrounding brush. This cheered us somewhat.
The trail began to bend towards the southwest, and we were dismayed to find that the soft sand was not abating. We did, however, discover that some spots were better than others. By occasionally hopping from one tire track to another, or following the intermittent sets of hoof prints (because animals are much smarter than I am about determining the best route), we could find the least bad path.
The major advantage of walking along a jeep track was having a nice, wide, easy to follow track devoid of malicious plant life. We were surrounded by endless fields of creosote, cholla, desert agave, ocotillo, and barrel cactus, but had no fears of accidentally brushing against one like you do when travelling cross country or on some of the more narrow desert trails.
Take I-8 east to the Ocotillo/Imperial Highway exit. Turn left onto Imperial Highway/S2 (which eventually changes name to Sweeny Pass Road). Follow S2 for approximately 11 miles to the signed Jojoba Wash turnout on the left (note: you will pass through a Border Patrol checkpoint on this road).
|Total Distance:||7.8 miles|
|Total Ascent:||598 feet|
|Dog Friendly?:||Dogs not allowed|
|Bike Friendly?:||Bikes allowed|