Anza-Borrego Desert: Layer cake wash loop
|5.4 mile - 2 hour 45 minutes (Return trip). Easy/Moderate.
|1150 - 1550 feet
|High clearance, 4x4 advised, see below.
An impressive sand canyon wash, the return route is just as impressive wow.
More info about the first part of the loop.
The wash is unmarked, but is recognizable by the almost red exit that is very narrow and impressive.
About 200 Yards further up the Fish Creek Canyon "road" you find a wider, much more accessible entrance of the wash.
Hike north and follow the main wash up.
The wash is mostly sandy, part slick sandstone.
Depending how many hikers where there before you, after rain, the wash is firm or soft.
In our case the wash was firm and easy to hike in.
Keep following the widest wash.
A small narrow rapid/fall is easy to pass.
The canyon wash ends at an impressive dry fall.
Go back for about 100 yards, and go South up the slick rock, next to where a short fork ends in a sheer drop.
On top of the slick rock, that is a bit of a scramble and the only moderate part of the hike.
A sandy wash again, with surprise a mortero.
Follow the sandy wash and soon you reach the top.
Wow what a view, it looks bad, but hiking is actually easy.
But watch out, there are steep drops out here.
The drops are easy to bypass and the scenery is stunning.
Head South towards the Fish Creek Wash road.
Follow the road wash left (South) towards the car.
Plenty of room to wash far from the road, not that there is much traffic anyway.
This area is part of the Blackwood Basin, a petrified forest, that extends from Sandstone canyon up to the Loop wash junction (west end).
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 exit (may be unsigned).
Whatever you do don't enter the Diablo exit, but keep right (North).
The Layer canyon wash entrance has a very distinct red dry fall, look for it.
The entrance is before the Sandstone Canyon.
Driving time, about one hour from the asphalt. (one way)
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