Box Canyon Overlook

Julian, California

Box Canyon Overlook Professional Review and Guide

"Much of Anza-Borrego’s history coincides at this spot! The Southern Emigrant Trail and the Butterfield Overland Mail Route once traversed this arduous low mountain pass. The historical marker is right by the highway; the overlook of the trails is 250 feet farther east. From the overlook you can spot two routes etched into the earth. The track left by the Mormon Battalion, created in 1847, is the higher one; the Butterfield Stage found an easier path in 1858. Of greater historical significance is that General Kearny and the “Army of the West,” led by Kit Carson, passed through Box Canyon a few days before the battle at San Pasqual. This conflict was the deadliest battle of the Mexican War in California. General Kearny and his surviving soldiers went on to fight in the battles at San Gabriel River and La Mesa, thereby securing possession of California for the United States. The trail was later called the Southern Emigrant Trail because of the many prospectors and settlers who traveled the route on their way west after 1847. By following the path down to the trail itself at 0.2 mile, you quickly get a feeling for the obstacle this rocky ridge represented for travelers. The various historic travelers cut a detour around the box canyon, but their efforts have eroded with time. To follow a piece of the trail itself, take the sloping trail down to the right to a wooden post. At this point, the trail coincides with the wash. Occasional wooden posts mark the historic wash trail."

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Trail Information

Nearby City
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Skill Level
Day hike
Best October to April
2,867 feet
Trailhead Elevation
Top Elevation
Anza - Borrego Desert State Park
Local Contacts
Earthwalk Press Anza-Borrego Region Recreation Map; USGS Earthquake Valley
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Jun 2018