Anza-Borrego Desert: Lycium Wash

Rating *****
length 8.5 mile (the loop) - 3 hour, 45 minutes (Return trip). Easy/Moderate.
Elevation 530 - 1260 feet
Access A 4x4, with good ground clearance.

One of the most scenic washes in the Fish Creek area.

Hike up the Lycium Wash, that starts as a typical sandy Fish Creek Wash.
At point "end" the road ends and the wash is filled with some boulders.

The wash turns left into a narrow crack, that is tilted to the left.
Hiking with one hand on the side of the canyon in the narrow crack.
A small fall, that's probably the most difficult passage in the wash.
The fall is rather small, but for some hikers more difficult to get on.
Let the best hiker pull up the rest.

Most of the hiking is pretty easy, slick rock, sand, some small falls and a rare small boulder.

The second Fall "Fall 1" looks troublesome at first, but closer by it should be easy to get up.
Alternatively go back a bit and hike up the left (east) side of the canyon wall (easy).

Keep left in all the forks.

A more menacing obstacle is the next rocky fall "Fall 2".
It should not be impossible to get up on the left side.
But go back and hike up the slick rock along and in a small wash (north) (left when hiking back from the fall).

Really easy to hike up the small wash up to the sandy main wash.
As you get closer to the ridge, more small boulders and the wash forks and forks.
Keep on going straight ahead (north ), for an easy hike in and out of the wash up to a ridge line.
This is also the divide, on the other side you can see Ocotillo Wells (Elephant Tree Nature Trail).

Go back the same way you came up.
Just before the crack and fall, hike up the low rocky canyon wall on the left (east) "Out Left".
A short easy climb to the apex of the "trail" and down the wash below (head for the Elephant Knees).

Hike back downhill toward the car.

Hiking time: 3 hour 45 minutes.
Park at point "end": 3 hour.
Park at point "end" and hike in and out along the wash: 2 hour 15 minutes.

How to get here:

From Ocotillo Wells take the split mountain road.
Turn right at the sign Fish Creek Campground.
The road should be close to the middle of the wash.

Follow the wash road, at the Wind Caves (signed) keep right in the wash and turn right into the Fish Creek North Fork (signed).

Follow the North Fork past the Oyster Shell Wash.
The next wash is the Lycium Wash (signed) , park close to the wash entrance.

Parking not too far beyond the Fish Creek North Fork sign is a safe options, adds only minutes to the hike, beats getting bogged down, with no one around.

The North Fork is at least one notch more difficult to drive than the South fork, a high clearance 4x4 is essential.
This wash road will challenge the clearance of a regular SUV, we drive a Subaru Forester and we come close to it's ground clearance at times.
Road conditions in the North Fork can change in a week.
Be prepared, we carry a couple of sand plates, to raise our ground clearance in case we get stuck and in this fork and we had to use them a couple of times.
At days, even in "high" season, traffic may be low and you may be the only one travelling this fork for the day.

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), Jacumba, Laguna Mountain, Warner Springs) California, Hike with gps, gpx and kml (Google Earth).

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