Anza-Borrego Desert: Blackwood basin loop
||8.7 mile (round trip) - 5 Hour (round trip). Moderate.
||600 - 1370 feet
||High clearance, 4x4 advised, see below.
A nice loop in the blackwood basin wash and forks.
Hike up the fork as long as you want.
Expect rough terrain at point "Out", a scramble out of the main wash.
The return fork gradually forms and turns into a rough rocky wash, with a staggering amount of Orcutt's woody aster (Xylorhiza orcuttii).
This wash marks the end 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 (asphalt) for about 8 miles.
Follow the road towards the Fish Creek campground.
Where the road starts is mostly in the middle of the wash.
Road condition vary a lot from year to year, but normally any AWD should do. 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.
The wash may be signed as "South fork".
Take the first road on the right(North), signed Loop Wash.
The loop wash is about as good a wash road as the South Fork wash road. But road conditions vary a lot.
Drive the loop wash for about 1.4 mile and park as you see a rocky wash on the right.
On the way back continue on the loop wash and after a short while you will meet the South Fork Road and head back.
Alternative route, easier to drive and easier to find:
Take the second exit of the loop wash, in other words the end of the loop wash (West), and turn back into the loop wash (North/East).
The loop wash, may be signed, but even then very easy to miss.
The Blackwood basin wash is the first big wash on the left (North), 0.8 mile from the exit.
From the Windcaves sign: 2.5 mile first exit (start) Loop wash, 4.2 mile second exit (end) Loop wash.
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