San Diego Trail Tramps ~ Scheduled Hikes for 2013

     Painted Gorge Hike

Date:  March 17th Hike, 2013  09:00 AM -  05:00 PM

Location: Anza Borrego Desert, NE of Ocotillo, East side of the Coyote Mountains

Description: This hike will be out to Painted Gorge in the southern part of the Anza Borrego Desert, NE of Ocotillo on BLM land.  As usual, we'll meet in Hillcrest at 8:45 am to arrange carpools, then depart at 9 am sharp. Our first stop will be at the Desert View Tower (about 10:15 AM) for half an hour. It's just off the I-8 freeway, near Jacumba. From San Diego/Hillcrest, take I-8 for about 75 miles and exit Interstate 8 at the In-Ko-Pah Park Road offramp. Turn left, go under the freeway, and turn right onto the old highway, which ends at the Desert View Tower.

The owner, Ben Shultz (one of our members), has invited all hikers to stop by the Desert View Tower anytime they’re on their way to/from Anza Borrego Desert State Park. From the top of the tower there's a stunning panoramic view of the desert which stretches below to the east and north. Be sure to show your support and appreciation to Ben with a purchase or two from his eclectic collection of souviners. :^) (See below for info. on camping out at the Tower the day before this hike.)

After our visit to the Tower, we'll carpool on down I-8 East to Ocotillo. From there, we'll take S80 East a few miles, then take the Painted Gorge turnoff on the left and head about 5 miles north on a dirt road into BLM land to Painted Gorge for our hike. On this hike we may do a loop trail and check out a mine up in the foothills. During one of our previous hikes here, we spotted several bighorn sheep and some great geological formations.

Located on the eastern side of the Coyote Mountains, the Painted Gorge consists of sedimentary, metamorphic and ingenious rocks. Heat and movement over time have created fantastic shapes and colors.
The many hues stem from the rock’s copper, sulfur and iron content. The upper gorge contains fossilized coral reefs and marine life, as well as “shell hash,” a mix of crushed ancient shells. Oranges, reds, purples, and mauves mixed with browns and blacks create a palette of color as the sun illuminates and plays shadows upon this geologic wonder.

For current weather conditions near Painted Gorge, CLICK HERE.
For current weather conditions at Mt. Laguna, CLICK HERE.

NOTE: We require each hiker to bring their own appropriate hiking gear, food, and water/sports drinks. Be sure to do your "carb loading" before the hike (and even the day before) by eating a good meal/healthy snack and drinking liquids, avoiding dehydration and fatigue. If you leave the hike early, please notify the hike leader directly, so there's no question that you may have gotten lost or injured along the way. Remember... Safety first and have fun!

Campoout/Sleepover at the Desert View Tower:

A sleepover is planned at the Desert View Tower the day/night before our Sunday hike to Painted Gorge. We've been invited by the owner (one of our members) to come out on Saturday and spend the night in the Tower itself. (It's often way too windy this time of year to pitch a tent outside, but you're welcome to try.) Each hiker should bring their own sleeping gear, etc. A potluck dinner party is in the works for Saturday nite (WooHoo!), and curling up in front of the stone fireplace in the middle of the Tower is first come, first served. ;^) For more details and to sign up for it, so we each know how much food and drink to bring, please contact the Cyberhiker @ sbcglobal. net ASAP.

Google Earth:

Google Earth streams the world over wired and wireless networks enabling users to virtually go anywhere on the planet and see places in photographic detail. This is not like any map you have ever seen. This is a 3D model of the real world, based on real satellite images combined with maps, guides to restaurants, hotels, entertainment, businesses and more. You can zoom from space to street level instantly and then pan or jump from place to place, city to city, even country to country.

Below is the Google Earth .kmz file for the hike itself. To preview a 3D model of this actual hike in Google Earth, right click on the .kmz file link below and save the file to your desktop. Then double click that desktop file and it should launch Google Earth if you already have Google Earth installed on your computer. (If you do not have the free Google Earth application already installed, first go to

Painted Gorge Hike Loop.kmz

After Google Earth launches, scroll down to the bottom of the "Places" column on the left and locate the hike file "Painted Gorge Hike Loop.kmz" in the "Temporary Places" folder. Click the side arrow to the left of "Painted Gorge Hike Loop.kmz" to expose the "Painted Gorge Hike Loop" tour file. Then select that file, and click on the triangular "Play Tour" button just below and to the right of it. Enjoy!

If you'd like to check out the elevation profile of the hike, just right-click the "Painted Gorge Hike Loop" file and select "Show Elevation Profile". Move your cursor over the profile and watch the arrow move along the loop hike to determine the altitude at any point!