Anza-Borrego Desert: Andrade canyon loop
|8.8 Mile - 4 hour, 20 minutes (Loop), Moderate (Scrambling/mud).
|970 - 1320 feet
|High clearance only, see below.
A scenic adventurous hike in the Andrade Canyon and looping in the badlands and oyster reef to the east.
Start on the "normal" unmarked Domelands road/trail, just before the Andrade canyon narrows, turn North heading for the entrance of Andrade canyon fork.
Head down the fork for a while, head up a small drainage on the right, first sand, but later gravel up to a level patch.
Follow a rocky drainage down, watch out, this drainage will eventually drop very steep with a couple of falls.
Leave the drainage and keep more or less level heading East.
Follow the rocky ridge down, the ridge turns into a mud-hill, descend to the left (West) when it's safe to do so, eventually reaching a wider wash.
Follow a small drainage and a steeper climb at the end. It's rather soft sand, so the footing is excellent.
Flat mud terrain, head into one of the drainages and go down.
Left (South) is a nice steep slot like canyon, right (North) is a steep fall in the oyster shell layer.
Head up the small drainage up to a ridge, this is dangerous terrain, do not go down into one of the many drainages/washes.
In all those drainages below, tunnels have formed and it's very tricky to go down there.
Keep on the ridge that will end in the lower portion of the Andrade canyon wash.
Now head up the Andrade canyon with it's narrows and a couple of nice but easy to climb up dry falls.
A scramble up a small drainage to complete the loop, this passage is impossible to find without knowing where it is.
As mentioned this can be a slippery (soft sand) scramble up the drainage, depending on the number of hikers and the last rainfall.
The GPS only hike requires scrambling up a couple of mud-hills and follows narrow drainages.
The area is full of very steep drops that show up rather suddenly.
This is dangerous terrain, rainfall can drastically alter it. Hills may not be as stable as they appear, water can create tunnels and caverns.
Don't blindly follow the GPS, the route may be incorrect, off by more than 100 yards or lead into dangerous terrain.
How to get here:
Take the road marked 093, close to mile: 57.2
The dirt road is good, you need some ground clearance.
Drive for about 2 miles.
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