||Sheep Tanks/Calcite Mine/Slot Canyons Hike
NOTE: Weather permitting, we'll follow thru with this hike. But with winter storms and rainfalls, we'll have to cancel if it's raining out in the Borrego Springs area on this day. (Can't risk flash floods in the slot canyons.) Check weather forcasts 24 hrs. before the hike. It may be sprinkling in San Diego, but sunny in the desert. And, as usual, we require each hiker to bring their own appropriate hiking gear, food, and sports drinks. Be sure to do your "carb loading" before the hike by eating a good meal/healthy snack and drinking liquids, avoiding dehydration and fatigue. And if you leave the hike early, notify the hike leader directly, so there's no question that you may have gotten lost or injured along the way. Remember... Safety first.
See Area D-4:, Trip 8, Santa Rosa Mts., in Schad's book (c '99, p.266, 277-278, map on p. 267) for hike details. ** degree of difficulty out of a possible *****. 4 miles roundtrip hike. Elevation gain/loss is about 800'.
This hike is located in the NE part of the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. (Check the Maps page of this website for more directions and maps to print out.) We'll plan to meet there at 11:30 am and start hiking about 11:45.
The parking area for the hike is on the north side of Highway S-22 (Borrego Salton Seaway), at Mile 38.0, due east/northeast of Borrego Springs. Turn off at mile 38, to your left, into the turnout parking area. The parking area out there has a readily visible call box, and is located about one-half mile west of the obvious microwave tower. (If you go past the microwave tower, you've gone too far.)
This hike takes place at the SE end of the Santa Rosa Mountains and brings us up into chaotic rock formations and thru slot canyons (slot-shaped ravines). Near Locomotive Rock, a honeycombed slab of whitish sandstone, you'll have a sweeping view of hundreds of square miles of mountains and desert. The surface trench mines around the area are where optical-grade calcite crystals were mined for use in gunsights during WWII. We'll work our way overland on ancient Indian trails to the Sheep Tanks (natural rock tanks). During heavy rains the tanks hold water which used to be important to the Native people of the area as well as the bighorn sheep and other wildlife. Their capacity is estimated at some 20,000 gallons---about as much as a backyard swimming pool. Finally, on our loop trail, traversing single-file thru the local slot canyons is always a unique experience and these are some of the best in the Anza Borrego Desert State Park!