Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Mortero Palms

Take a walk through Mortero Palms in the Jacumba Mountains of Anza-Borrego.

From the trailmaster’s favorites folder.


"Limmipedes,” my three-year-old son called them, those many-legged survivors from the Mesozoic era, marching across the sand in seemingly random directions, oblivious to our flashlight beams. Our land of limmipedes, otherwise known as Mortero Palms, was decorated with heaps of huge boulders and a huddle of palm trees. It was our home for a night, which we shared with a couple of coyotes, various insects, and assorted arthropods, but no other humans.

Mortero Palms lies in the southernmost reaches of the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, not far from the old Dos Cabezos railroad siding. Thanks to Anza-Borrego’s open-camping policy, you can car camp or carry your overnight gear as near or far from the road end as you like and commune with nature without having to deal with reservations or fees. (Just remember that no open campfires are allowed, and you must not camp close to any water source.)

To get to Mortero Palms, drive east on I-8. Take the Highway S-2 exit at Ocotillo, and continue 4 miles to an unsigned dirt road on the left. Go south on this road and swing right after 1.1 miles. Continue west for another 4.6 miles, and turn left across the disused San Diego & Arizona Eastern railroad tracks on a paved crossover. Continue another 0.1 mile, then veer left, away from the tracks. Go another 1.6 miles, staying left at the next two junctions and then go right toward the Mortero Palms road end. (To check on the condition of these dirt roads, which might require high clearance or 4WD, call the park at 767-5311.)

The palms themselves lie in the canyon west, not south, of the road end. Look for bedrock mortars (grinding holes) below the first few palms. If you’re an accomplished, well-prepared desert hiker, you can push on past the grove and navigate through gauntlets of cholla cactus to reach a 3300-foot saddle in the Jacumba Mountains above. From there, you can head west into Goat Canyon, where you’ll have at least a distant view of the famous 200-foot-high wooden railroad trestle. Alternately, you can continue south along the mountain crest to reach 4512-foot Jacumba Peak, which offers an inclusive view of the Imperial Valley and the northern Baja desert.

Distance from downtown San Diego: 80 miles
Hiking length: 1 mile • Difficulty: Moderate

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Playboy.com rates SDSU worst party school in the nation after it narcs on Sturgis

NERDS!
Next Article

SinShip Spirits is putting tiki cocktails in a can

Peat-smoked rum maker will have Zombies ready to drink by October

From the trailmaster’s favorites folder.


"Limmipedes,” my three-year-old son called them, those many-legged survivors from the Mesozoic era, marching across the sand in seemingly random directions, oblivious to our flashlight beams. Our land of limmipedes, otherwise known as Mortero Palms, was decorated with heaps of huge boulders and a huddle of palm trees. It was our home for a night, which we shared with a couple of coyotes, various insects, and assorted arthropods, but no other humans.

Mortero Palms lies in the southernmost reaches of the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, not far from the old Dos Cabezos railroad siding. Thanks to Anza-Borrego’s open-camping policy, you can car camp or carry your overnight gear as near or far from the road end as you like and commune with nature without having to deal with reservations or fees. (Just remember that no open campfires are allowed, and you must not camp close to any water source.)

To get to Mortero Palms, drive east on I-8. Take the Highway S-2 exit at Ocotillo, and continue 4 miles to an unsigned dirt road on the left. Go south on this road and swing right after 1.1 miles. Continue west for another 4.6 miles, and turn left across the disused San Diego & Arizona Eastern railroad tracks on a paved crossover. Continue another 0.1 mile, then veer left, away from the tracks. Go another 1.6 miles, staying left at the next two junctions and then go right toward the Mortero Palms road end. (To check on the condition of these dirt roads, which might require high clearance or 4WD, call the park at 767-5311.)

The palms themselves lie in the canyon west, not south, of the road end. Look for bedrock mortars (grinding holes) below the first few palms. If you’re an accomplished, well-prepared desert hiker, you can push on past the grove and navigate through gauntlets of cholla cactus to reach a 3300-foot saddle in the Jacumba Mountains above. From there, you can head west into Goat Canyon, where you’ll have at least a distant view of the famous 200-foot-high wooden railroad trestle. Alternately, you can continue south along the mountain crest to reach 4512-foot Jacumba Peak, which offers an inclusive view of the Imperial Valley and the northern Baja desert.

Distance from downtown San Diego: 80 miles
Hiking length: 1 mile • Difficulty: Moderate

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Ma’s House Chinese Halal: genuine Uyghur food

“Muslim people love lamb, and always with cumin.”
Next Article

Padres continue defiance of baseball’s unwritten rules, sparking concerns among MLB brass

Unwrite This!
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close