Pinyon Wash

Anza-Borrego Desert State Wilderness, California

Elevation Gain1,112ft
Trailhead Elevation1,138ft
Elevation Min/Max1138/2235ft
Elevation Start/End1138/1138ft

Pinyon Wash

Pinyon Wash is a hiking, biking, and horse trail in San Diego County, California. It is within Anza-Borrego Desert State Wilderness. It is 5.1 miles long and begins at 1,138 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 10.2 miles with a total elevation gain of 1,112 feet. This trail connects with the following: Nolina Wash.

Pinyon Wash Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Afoot & Afield: San Diego County (Wilderness Press)
Jerry Schad
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"Best done as a two-day backpack, this wide-ranging loop trip is still within the scope of an ambitious day-hike. Only about 10 percent of the total distance covered involves difficult terrain, and most of that is in the first half. If you’re backpacking, be sure to bring a 30-foot length of cord for lowering your pack down one or more dry falls. Several dozen bighorn sheep make their home in the Pinyon Mountains, and you may have a close encounter with one, as I did, in Bighorn Canyon. Since there was no easy escape route, the startled ewe clawed her way up a sheer granite wall to reach a safer stance on the steep, rock-strewn slopes above. When threatened, bighorn sheep prefer this kind of “escape terrain,” on which they’re more nimble than any other large animal."

Pinyon Wash Trip Reports

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2000 Toyota 4Runner. 4WD Stock with no lockers. I removed mud flaps and running boards. Good off-road tires with good tread. DO NOT GO ALONE! I could not make it up one section, I think it's called 'split rock', had to be towed up. This trail is very Difficult and impassible without at least good tires and a 1 locker. I will not go again in my stock SUV. I'm still shocked that I was able to make it past all the difficult and technical sections without breaking something, rolling, or dying. The squeeze was alright but heart attack hill is a huge humbling experience. The videos do not do it justice. It is very very very scary. Make sure you have a good spotter who knows how to spot. Watch videos on to make sure you know what you're getting yourself into.
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Very difficult trail! Made it through in my Cherokee with a 3" lift and small tires in the rain! Jeep just fit at "the Squeeze". Once you are past it beware! It only gets worse (better??). There are two drop offs, not just one. The first is incredible and the second will make you wonder where you left your brain.

Pinyon Wash Photos

Trail Information

Anza-Borrego Desert State Wilderness
Nearby City
Anza-Borrego Desert State Wilderness
Skill Level
Anza Borrego Desert State Park 760-767-5311
Local Contacts
Tom Harrison's Recreation Map of the San Diego Backcountry
Local Maps

Trail Log