We were excited to be going to Anza-Borrego this Spring because we were meeting friends from the East coast that we had not seen for five years. We had arranged to meet at Anza-Borrego, and The Slot was one of the hikes we did together.
We first met Don and Martha in 2006 on our first hike to “The Wave”. At “The Wave”, once you get the permit the rangers give you a map and instructions on how to hike out to the site. “The Wave” is in the Paria Wilderness so there are no formal trails. However, there are no printed instructions on how to get back. If you are fortunate, the ranger will tell you to turn around and look back as you do the hike so that you will recognize landmarks and be able to find your way back to the trailhead. On this first hike to “The Wave”, we decided to turn around and take pictures every couple of hundred yards. While we were doing this, we noticed on our first picture that there were two tiny black dots in the distance.
Each time we turned around and took another picture the black dots became a little larger. Eventually, we could recognize them as two people.
Don and Martha caught up to us in “The Wave” itself, and we started a conversation. That led to us having lunch together on the red rocks, hiking out together, dinner that night and several days of sightseeing.
We met yearly after that for several years at various places in the south-west, but had not been able to connect for five years. Thus… the excitement of reconnecting. We met for dinner the first night, and they met us at the door with black dots taped to their shirts. We are so sorry that we did not get a picture! Here we are today.
We decided to visit the Anza-Borrego State Park Visitors Center and peruse the hikes that were available.
The Slot seemed the most interesting. We are so glad that this was our choice. It is an easy hike, but so delightful.
The Slot in Anza-Borrego State Park is a narrow siltstone canyon that has been formed by the wind, water and time. It soars above you at the deepest part and is barely a foot wide at the narrowest. The narrow part of the canyon winds for about a half mile and then opens up to a wash which can extend the hike for as many miles as you like. It can be a loop hike of 3 miles or you can return the same way you hiked out. We elected to return through the slot because we wanted to see it again. Once is not enough!
Here are some of the pictures of the first time through tights part of The Slot.
You need to look up every once in a while for the rocks above you.
Notice the rock wedged in the slot above my head.
After about half a mile the canyon opens up to a wider canyon and joins a four-by-four dirt road.
We continued up the wash for about a mile and then hiked up the western side of the wash on a four-wheeler road to a fantastic view of the Borrego Badlands and the Santa Rosa Mountains in the distance.
While we were at the top, a jeep drove up and intended to go down the trail to the canyon. From where he stopped he could not see the steepness or severity of the bumps. Dick suggested he get out and check out the road. Here they are looking at the to descent the the valley below.
Even this picture does not give an idea of the steepness. After checking it out, the driver decided to turn around even though he had aggressive tires and a souped-up jeep for back-country driving. That trail/road was steep!
The wind was blowing so hard we had to brace ourselves so we would not be blown off the mountain top.
While we were up here, we found lilies in bloom and of course had to take some pictures.
Sadly, we had to turn around, descend this road and head back into The Slot. What a great hike this was.
I was so excited to see at least one ocotillo in bloom before we headed back to Oregon.
Enjoy the video below. It gives a better idea of the tightness of The Slot Narrows.
How to get to The Slot Anza-Borrego State Park
Follow Borrego Springs Road south out of Borrego Springs to where it intersects with Why 78. Turn left on Why 78 and go 1.5 miles to about mile marker 87.2. Turn left on The gravel Buttes Pass Road. This is a graded road but check at the visitors center to see if there have been any storm that would make the road difficult for 2-wheel drive cars. The day we went it was an easy drive to the trail head. You will come to a fork in the road in about a mile. Stay to the left. There was a signpost pointing to the Slot when we were there. In another mile, you will come to the parking lot. Straight ahead (north) you can walk to the edge of the slot and look down into The Slot. The trailhead is to the left (east end) of the parking lot. There is no official start to the trail. Just look for footprints leading into the canyon. The start of the trail into the canyon is steep, but once you descend into the canyon, it is easy walking.