Anza-Borrego Desert: Fish Creek Diablo dropoff Loop

Rating *****
length 9.5 mile (loop) - 4 hour (loop). Easy/Moderate.
Elevation 920 - 1500
Access High clearance, 4x4 preferred, see below.

A nice canyon loop, expect a canyon that is part gravel/rock and sand stone.
Hike the diablo dropoff canyon wash.
As the "road" leaves the canyon on the left, keep in the canyon wash.
The diablo dropoff canyon winds slightly uphill, mostly filled with sand and an occasional rock or boulder.

Keep following the most obvious wider wash.
As we get closer to the end of the canyon wash and are nearing the mesa level (west mesa), the forks get less distinct and a lot more rocky.
Once on the mesa the hike gets fairly easy again, sand with some gravel.
Pick up a fork of the Diablo Canyon (in full: Arroyo Seco del Diablo), but don't enter it too soon, some parts are pretty steep and there is no need to make the hike more difficult.

Down again in a rather rocky wash, this is only a short stretch before the sandy canyon wash.
A fork of a fork of the Diablo Canyon will eventually lead to the main canyon, there you find the less travelled wash road.
Again a highly scenic part of the trip, but as the canyon widens and almost disappears the scenery gets more boring.
We turn uphill in a small wash, go cross country over the mesa floor (middle mesa) and go down into a small rocky wash.
Some boulders may block parts, but not too difficult to scramble over. Sand again and another fork leads into yet another short rocky wash uphill and downhill up to the car.

How to get here:

Take Split Mountain Road for about 8 miles.

Follow the road towards the Fish Creek campground.
Where the road starts is mostly in the middle of the wash. But in other years at the right hand side of the wash as in 2013.

Road condition vary a lot from year to year.
The road is sandy with some rocks.

As soon as you see the wind cave sign on the left side of the wash (after 5 miles), keep in the same wash, by keeping a bit to the left.
Don't go into the first North fork, but keep left.
The wash you are entering should be signed as South Fork.

From the entrance of the South Fork, drive for about 5.2 Mile to the Diablo dropoff exit (may be unsigned).
Whatever you do don't enter the Diablo dropoff exit by car, but park here, the road is one way from the other side.
Driving time, about 40 minutes from the asphalt. (one way)
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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