Anza-Borrego: The Slot

This post is the second in a series. The first highlighted the Anza-Borrego Desert Visitor Center.

How did we ever manage before Google Maps? The turnoff road from the highway was only a 20-minute drive from the visitor center, but without Google Maps, we definitely would have driven right past it. There was no sign, just a narrow sandy single lane “road”… to use the term loosely. Driving a mile or so slowly up this bumpy lane we arrived at a near-full sand parking lot. I wasn’t expecting this many hikers. Although we had never been here, there was no doubt we had found it. We were ready to get our hike on.

We ate our lunch, which in hindsight we should have done at the visitor center, and were eager to get down into the canyon and out of the wind. The Slot is a narrow canyon carved into the desert floor by water and wind erosion. It is a popular spot in the Anza-Borrego desert state park for a short hike. The canyon itself only extends about a quarter of a mile… easily walked in, maybe 30 minutes.

“…shadows and play of light…

Descending via one of a few short paths, we made our way into the shallow canyon. The curving canyon walls were amazingly beautiful. The shadows and play of light as it penetrated the narrow canyon was offering opportunities for a unique photographic experience. At a few points it was so narrow I had to turn sideways to squeeze through as the canyon walls towered as much as 30 feet virtually straight up. It reminded me of The Narrows at Zion National Park in Utah, but on a smaller scale… and no water!

Winding our way through, occasionally passing fellow hikers headed in the opposite direction. Each turn presented a fresh view. As we approached the more open western end of The Slot, the wind was blowing at us with such ferocity that we couldn’t keep sand from being blown in our eyes. We had gone as far as possible under these, less than ideal conditions.

“It was time to head back.

Arriving back at the lot, the wind was blowing so hard that, with certain gusts, it was a challenge to stay upright. I hadn’t experienced wind that heavy since Iceland. Hiking at The Slot was a unique experience, but now it was time to accomplish what we had driven all this way for… to photograph desert wildflowers in full bloom!

Next stop: Mine Wash

What is your favorite way to enjoy nature?

Do you have a favorite hiking location?


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