Alma Wash Trail

Ocotillo Wells, California 92036

Alma Wash Trail

Alma Wash Trail Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"This long, fairly disused trek offers the gift of silence. The sandy wash gives way to boulders and enters a canyon where the temperature noticeably drops at points where the sun is blocked (wear layers). Long pants and sleeves defend against grabbing catclaw, spiny barrel cactus, and cholla. Careful foot navigation on piled, sometimes-unstable rocks, as well as boulder hopping that increases with mileage covered, make Alma Wash unsuitable for younger, less-experienced hikers. For hardy hikers who enjoy a long, quiet trek into desert solitude, this is the place to find such quiet paradise. Outstanding Features: Soft, sandy wash; boulders; cool canyons; and elephant trees."

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Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Afoot & Afield: San Diego County (Wilderness Press)
Jerry Schad
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"If it’s solitude you want, this is your trip. Years ago, I hiked it on a cold, silent winter night, under the pale light of a first-quarter moon. I felt as if I were traveling a canyon no one had ever visited before—and that may have been close to the truth. In my flashlight’s beam, I discovered fresh, fist-sized tracks of a mountain lion. The light of dawn revealed the densest population of elephant trees I’d ever seen in one spot. These trees grow on both sides of the canyon, but especially on the north wall, where the tiny leaves of the plants are exposed to the maximum amount of sunshine. Some stand upright 10 or more feet tall, while others, rooted to talus slopes, have limbs that slither along like stunted, battered conifers at timberline. Once the wiry saplings gain a foothold in small pockets of soil, they survive by rolling with the punches: Rockslides merely train the flexible limbs to grow in new directions."

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Trail Information

Ocotillo Wells
Nearby City
1,050 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Moderate to Difficult
Skill Level
6 hours
250 feet
Trailhead Elevation
1,300 feet
Top Elevation

Trail Log