Sandstone Canyon—South Approach Trail

Julian, California

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Many an early prospector or traveler tried to find a shortcut between the Vallecito Creek corridor (the Southern Emigrant Trail and Butterfield Stage route) and Lower Borrego Valley. Legend says that some of these travelers went “in” and failed to come “out.” In the days before accurate maps were available, it was all too easy to become disoriented in the maze of washes within the Carrizo Badlands. Today, it’s not so hard to make a similar traverse, as long as you know how to locate yourself on a topographic map, and find and follow this southern route to the head of Sandstone Canyon.

Sandstone Canyon—South Approach Trail Professional Review and Guide

"Many an early prospector or traveler tried to find a shortcut between the Vallecito Creek corridor (the Southern Emigrant Trail and Butterfield Stage route) and Lower Borrego Valley. Legend says that some of these travelers went “in” and failed to come “out.” In the days before accurate maps were available, it was all too easy to become disoriented in the maze of washes within the Carrizo Badlands. Today, it’s not so hard to make a similar traverse, as long as you know how to locate yourself on a topographic map, and find and follow this southern route to the head of Sandstone Canyon."

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Julian
Distance: 6.2
Elevation Gain: 900 feet
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Moderate to Difficult
Duration: 4 hours
Season: December through March
Local Contacts: Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
Local Maps: USGS Agua Caliente Springs, Arroyo Tapiado
Driving Directions: Directions to Sandstone Canyon—South Approach Trail

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May 2018