Earth Narrows Trail

Borrego Springs, California

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Fault lines, rock formation, and erosion are some of the lessons of the Earth Narrows Trail. The seven stops on the loop, which is 0.5-mile long, provide an introduction to the forces that created Anza-Borrego’s landforms and topography. The combination of igneous and sedimentary formations creates unusual geology. The igneous rock was formed deep within the earth and forced to the surface by huge tectonic forces; these granite masses are more than 100 million years old. Farther down the trail you will encounter rock that is 500 million years old. Originally mud and sand on the ocean floor, it has since been compressed and changed into metamorphic rock. At your feet, the desert’s sedimentary layers attest to the wind’s and rain’s power to erode these ancient rocks to sand. The surface of the Earth Narrows canyon consists of an alluvial fan; heavy summer thunderstorms washed its sand and gravel down from the slopes above. In addition to the various sediment deposits, the region is constantly affected by shifting tectonic plates. The Earth Narrows Trail is right on the intersection of the San Felipe Fault and the Yaqui Ridge Fault. The spider-webbed fault lines of southern California make the earth’s surface quite dynamic, resulting in numerous earthquakes and tremors. Here in the desert, this geologic history is revealed on the barren walls of the Earth Narrows Trail.

Earth Narrows Trail Professional Review and Guide

"Fault lines, rock formation, and erosion are some of the lessons of the Earth Narrows Trail. The seven stops on the loop, which is 0.5-mile long, provide an introduction to the forces that created Anza-Borrego’s landforms and topography. The combination of igneous and sedimentary formations creates unusual geology. The igneous rock was formed deep within the earth and forced to the surface by huge tectonic forces; these granite masses are more than 100 million years old. Farther down the trail you will encounter rock that is 500 million years old. Originally mud and sand on the ocean floor, it has since been compressed and changed into metamorphic rock. At your feet, the desert’s sedimentary layers attest to the wind’s and rain’s power to erode these ancient rocks to sand. The surface of the Earth Narrows canyon consists of an alluvial fan; heavy summer thunderstorms washed its sand and gravel down from the slopes above. In addition to the various sediment deposits, the region is constantly affected by shifting tectonic plates. The Earth Narrows Trail is right on the intersection of the San Felipe Fault and the Yaqui Ridge Fault. The spider-webbed fault lines of southern California make the earth’s surface quite dynamic, resulting in numerous earthquakes and tremors. Here in the desert, this geologic history is revealed on the barren walls of the Earth Narrows Trail."

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Borrego Springs
Distance: 0.5
Elevation Gain: Minimal
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Skill Level: Easy
Duration: Day hike
Season: Best October to May
Local Contacts: Anza - Borrego Desert State Park
Local Maps: Earthwalk Press Anza-Borrego Region Recreation Map; USGS Borrego Sink

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Jun 2018