Carrizo Gorge Wilderness

Prehistoric rock art in Carrizo Gorge Wilderness Prehistoric rock art

The 14,740 acres of Carrizo Gorge Wilderness are located about 60 miles east of San Diego. Some folks get there via the Boulevard/Manzanita exit Interstate 8. From there they follow California Highway 94 east to McCain Valley Road. Then they turn north and follow that. The wilderness area is set back 300 feet to the east of the road. That said, there aren't many trails on the western side of the wilderness: most folks access from Anza-Borrego Desert State Park along the eastern boundary of the wilderness area. They can drive to the edge of Carrizo Gorge and follow multiple trails into the wilderness from there.

This is where the lower Colorado Desert meets the dry coastal mountains. The views from the overlooks are expansive, from the Salton Sea to the northeast to Mount Signal on the Mexican border. There are a few springs in the area, found by looking for stands of California fan palms. There are 3 small herds of peninsular bighorn sheep in the area. The rugged landscape is well peppered with cactus of all sorts.

Map of the Carrizo Gorge Wilderness area
Upper photo courtesy of Bob Wick, BLM
Upper left photo courtesy of Brian Murdock, BLM
Map courtesy of the BLM