Canyon Sin Nombre

Anza-Borrego Desert State Wilderness, California

Elevation Gain965ft
Trailhead Elevation1,206ft
Elevation Min/Max540/1206ft
Elevation Start/End1206/1206ft

Canyon Sin Nombre

Canyon Sin Nombre is a hiking, biking, and horse trail in San Diego County, California. It is within Anza-Borrego Desert State Wilderness. It is 4.2 miles long and begins at 1,206 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 8.4 miles with a total elevation gain of 965 feet. This trail connects with the following: Great Southern Overland Stage Route and Vallecito Wash.

Canyon Sin Nombre Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Afoot & Afield: San Diego County (Wilderness Press)
Jerry Schad
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"One of the best examples of a slot canyon in Anza-Borrego’s south end is off of Canyon Sin Nombre (“canyon without a name”). Canyon Sin Nombre serves as a rugged route for off-road vehicle travel between Highway S-2 above Sweeney Pass and Carrizo Creek, but it’s seldom busy. Hiking down this canyon, especially when a low sun brings out the variegated colors of its walls, is pure delight."
Day & Overnight Hikes: Anza-Borrego Desert State Park (Menasha Ridge Press)
Sheri McGregor
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"A rather brief jaunt into the canyon cut by floodwaters allows for glimpses of interesting geological characteristics and eroded sandstone formations. Since Canyon Sin Nombre serves as a vehicle throughway to and from Carrizo Creek, you may see four-wheel drives. Traffic may be heavy on weekends (especially in spring), when entire cavalcades forge through the land. You’ll likely also see people camping in Canyon Sin Nombre. Outstanding Features: Sandy wash, slot canyons, smoke trees, and birds."
"The “Canyon Without Name” deserves one that reflects the fanciful handiwork of geologic uplifting, folding, sedimentation and erosion. Those forces have produced a multihued cathedral of high walls, spires, cones and slot canyons that lead to the broad, sandy wash of Carrizo Valley’s Vallecito Creek, a badlands corridor for Indians, Spanish explorers, frontiersmen, pioneers, 19th-century soldiers, the Butterfield Overland Stage Mail Service and now you. You can visit the locales of two stagecoach stops: one that requires fording the rare desert surface water of Carrizo Creek, the other at a palm oasis in the Carrizo Badlands. Even explored only in part—an option that will satisfy many travelers—this is a beautiful and convenient semiloop that should not be missed. This is the Elsinore Fault zone, one of Southern California’s largest and, fortunately, quietest in historic times."

Canyon Sin Nombre Trip Reports

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Very scenic trail. The slot canyon was very interesting, other world like. This road meets up with several other roads as well.
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A good basic trail with limited campsites, but good terrain features and scenery. Sporadic wildflowers during annual desert bloom.

Trail has been slightly washed out at .9 miles in, resulting in a very brief rocky and rutted section. Moderate clearance with a spotter recommended. Perhaps just a result of recent rains.


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Trail Information

Anza-Borrego Desert State Wilderness
Nearby City
Anza-Borrego Desert State Wilderness
Skill Level

Trail Log