Jasper Trail and Grapevine Canyon Trail

Borrego Springs, California 92004

Jasper Trail and Grapevine Canyon Trail

Jasper Trail & Grapevine Canyon Trail Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"This route, used by four-wheel-drive enthusiasts, motorcyclists, mountain bikers, and equestrians, is also a worthwhile one for hikers—who, due to the length and elevation change involved, will likely want to travel one-way and downhill as described here. Off-days (weekdays, for example) are much better for avoiding motorized vehicles. Since the route is largely downhill, and almost entirely on soft sand or soft dirt, you can jog on it, too, if you want to make a faster descent. A section of the old California Riding & Hiking Trail sometimes coincides with and sometimes parallels the route. The description here assumes that you stay mostly on the easier-to-follow roadways."

Jasper Trail & Grapevine Canyon Trail Trip Reports

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This is a great hike when traveled from north to south in the fall, winter, or spring. Head south from SR22 just east of Ranchita where the old jeep road winds gently up a flat plain with wide open views of mountains in all directions. The California Riding and Hiking Trail cuts south off of the jeep trail and takes hikers through the best part of this trip. Follow the sandy single track lined with scrub oak and juniper with magnificent views of the Laguna Mountains, tall and dark, in the distance.
Eventually you get back on the Jasper Trail where the rugged dirt road becomes deeply rutted and near impassible for all but hikers. The road meanders back and forth, up and down, for several miles, finally joining with Grapevine trail just west of Stuart Spring. This spring is the only perennial, reliable source of water for miles around and is heavily visited by local animals and insects. Sometimes hundreds of bees can be seen resting in the long grass surrounding the spring, awaiting the signal to collect water and return to the hive. It is recommended that you filter the water if you refill here. Across the road is a shady campground frequented by Boy Scouts.
Continue east on Grapevine Canyon Road as it runs nearly straight for about 7 miles through a seemingly never-ending cactus garden. This is Anza Borrego desert at its best. Countless stands of ocotillo, agave, yucca, barrel cactus, and time-worn teddy-bear cholla thrive as far as you can see. Stark, rugged mountains rise from the hot desert floor on all sides.
The dusty road ends at Yaqui Well. From there hike the final 3/4 miles on a rock strewn nature trail to Tamarisk Grove campround, the hike's end.
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This is a great trip, and about 99% of it is all downhill - it's also entirely a section of the San Diego Sea to Sea Trail. Get dropped off at the entrance to Jasper on the S-22, and unless you want to ride all the way down and then back up again, you're going to need a car to pick you up at the 78 (there's good parking across the road from Grapevine at the entrance to Plum Canyon). There are two slightly technical sections on the first leg of the trip, before Jasper becomes Grapevine - almost like moguls - but take them easy and you'll be fine. The rest is easy going. At the northern end, if you keep an eye out, you can see the observatory on Palomar Mtn to the NW. And the views from the top of Jasper looking south are tremendous. Look out for water at Stuart Spring - we were there in January and there was a good water flow. We didn't bother filtering the water - figured with all the bees around it must be good to drink. There are sometimes 4-wheelers and motorbikes on this trail, so do keep an ear out. But all-in-all, this is a winner ride.

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Trail Information

Borrego Springs
Nearby City
500 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Moderate to Difficult
Skill Level
5 hours
November through April
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
Local Contacts
USGS Tubb Canyon, Ranchita
Local Maps

Trail Log