Anza-Borrego Desert: Hawi Vallecito - Storm Canyon Mountain loop
||9.6 mile - 6 hour, 40 minutes (The loop). Moderate.
||1820 - 2900 feet
||Most cars exit Hawi Vallecito, close to mile 30.9.
This hike takes you just outside the park at Hawi Vallecito, into the lower Storm Canyon wash in Vallecito Valley.
We head for an opening just right of Storm Canyon Mountain.
Following a closed dirt road and heading up a small drainage up to Storm Canyon Mountain.
Once at the mountain, you find huge boulders in the drainage, keep left of the actual drainage to keep clear of most of the boulders.
Out of the boulder fields follow a sandy drainage, sometimes blocked by scrubs or boulders.
Now head uphill again following the deer tracks up a (soft) sandy slope.
At the saddle head down, this is an easy stroll down, that is until the rocks and boulders increase.
Now follow a wash west that runs around the mountain.
Not much fun to follow the rocky wash, keep out it for a while, navigating the scrubs and cacti.
It's a rather long stretch up to "Saddle 2", down isn't that much better as the wash is rather rough and sometimes overgrown.
Most of the time the best place is just outside of the wash.
Once down head for "Saddle 3" the more interesting route or once you reach the "road" follow it back towards the car.
The number of Brittlebush is staggering and a sight to see when in bloom, but fast growing and an obstacle.
Don't underestimate the rough terrain.
You will encounter a couple of old fences, it's OK to cross.
Shorter alternative: The gpx file contains a 4 hour shorter alternative route.
How to get here:
Exit (signed) Hawi Vallecito, close to mile 30.9, the first road going left is closed off, so keep right and follow the excellent dirt road, all the way to the end.
At that point you find a huge dirt parking.
The location is locally known as the Campbell Ranch just past the Campbell Grade, driving in from the North
Hawi is Kumeyaay for "the place where tules grow" and vallecito is Spanish for "little valley".
The gate will be closed at night and opens around 8 am.
Prepare for the eventuality that the gate remains closed for the day, as there may be no one to open the gate, especially out of season from April - November.
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