Anza-Borrego Desert: Grapevine Peak - Bitter Creek

Rating *****
length 8.7 mile - 5 hour 30 minutes (Return trip). Moderate.
Elevation 1900 - 3940 feet
Access All cars with some ground clearance, at HWY 78 close to mp 74, take the dirt road, marked Grapevine (West).

A nice hike up to the Grapevine Peak for some stunning views.

I've seen regular cars on this road, but I recommend some clearance. The road is a sandy one, drive it for about 1.3 mile and park at a parking to the left.

Follow the sandy wash uphill, after about 400 yards a dry fall blocks the canyon, but can easily be hiked on the left side.

Go for another 0.3 Mile and hike up to your right to a saddle.
Hike up to the top and follow the ridge.

Once over the two peaks, there is no other way than going down a bit.
Hike up on the left side of the next hill, to the right of the rocky wash ahead.

Make sure to stay close to the rocky wash, suppress the urge to go higher up.

Stay hiking South West, unless you have a GPS the peak will be harder to find. Because there isn't a distinct peak anywhere around.
First you see a peak with boulders, climb up and see how steep it is on the other side. Now follow the ridge and it's an easy stroll to the actual peak.

On top you find a survey stead, what's left of it and and 3 markers in the rock surface.
Enjoy the view.

Going down is always trickier than coming up.
We followed the ridge South West try sticking to the ridge and follow the terrain.

The Butter Creek Canyon in on your right. (West)
You probably ended up slighly low, head up to the saddle and you are in the Bitter Creek Canyon.
This is what I reported in 2011:
Once down in the canyon again, you have to navigate a lot of thorny scrubs,
Mesquite, Tamarisk, cat claw, cacti.
After the 2012 fire there is plenty of room to navigate around the scrubs.

Enjoy the sandy wash
Some minor falls that can be climbed or slide down fairly easily.

The main obstacle in this wash is the dense thorny scrub.
But as of 2012 the scrubs are mostly gone and you can actually hike all the way down.
It's growing back, so after a couple of years the canyon will be blocked again. In that case you may have to leave the canyon for a couple of times.
Along the way you encounter a couple of springs, more like seeps, but they tend to hold water for a long time.

In 2011: There was a lone Cotton Wood tree at the spring above the canyon, now only the dead trunk remains.
The palms are still there and make it easy to spot the spring.
You find some tubing (not functional) from the spring (mostly dry) toward a white bathtub.

When you reach the dirt road, follow it to the right towards the car.

Disclaimer: Read this first before you start your hike. Contact: info/at/borregohiking/./com (leave out the /)
Hiking the Borrego Springs Area (Anza-Borrego Desert SP, Cuyamaca Rancho SP, Imperial Sand Dunes (Algodones Dunes), Laguna Mountain, Warner Springs) California, Hike with gps, gpx and kml (Google Earth).

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