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

Anza Borrego's Diablo — a triple divide peak

It confounds logic

Ridgeline north of Diablo saddle
Ridgeline north of Diablo saddle

It was the view from Diablo Peak’s north saddle that Anza-Borrego Desert State Park rangers first discovered Fish Creek’s popular Sandstone Canyon in the 1950s. The view of Sandstone Canyon continues to impress those who look down upon this twisting canyon that eventually melts into Fish Creek.

Ridgeline separating Sandstone Canyon from June Wash

The saddle and ridgeline, which is the goal of this hike, is at the headwaters of the Sandstone Canyon/Fish Creek drainage system and the June Wash/Vallecito drainage system. It is the divide between the San Felipe watershed of the northern Anza-Borrego region and the Carrizo watershed of the southern region. It confounds logic to have such a divide on the south side of the mile-high barrier of the Vallecito Mountains. The explanation is that Fish Creek cuts through the Vallecito Mountains at Split Mountain to join the San Felipe Wash system to the north. Fish Creek, as an antecedent or pre-existing stream, has been able to maintain its course by downward erosion faster than tectonic forces are uplifting the Vallecitos.

View from saddle

Begin the hike from June Wash, 2 miles from the road entrance. Head northwest a half mile, following a wash that passes through two low ridges. This is actually June Wash. The road from your parked vehicle continues up the north fork of June Wash, which is misidentified as June Wash on some maps or called “false” June Wash.

June Wash turns north after passing the two low ridges and immediately comes to a split. Stay to the left (west) and continue up-canyon 1.5 miles to where there is another split. Again, stay left (west). In less than a half mile from the second split, the canyon will open up with main June Wash continuing on to the north.

Sandstone Canyon map

Turn right (east), which is due west of survey point “Diablo.” If you are using a topo map, this survey point is on the north boundary of Section 3 on the 7.5-minute Agua Caliente topo map. It is the high peak that you will need to round to reach the viewpoint. Head northeast about 0.4 mile and climb the saddle (elevation 2075 feet) between Diablo Benchmark/Peak and the ridge to the north to get the view down into Sandstone Canyon.

From the viewpoint at the saddle, it is a very steep climb/scramble, slightly more than 300 feet in less than a half mile, to the top of Diablo Benchmark (elevation 2440 feet). The effort is well worth it for the great view of the surrounding watersheds. Diablo is actually a triple divide peak with water entering three watersheds from the peak: Fish Creek, Vallecito/Carrizo, and Arroyo/Tapiado/Arroyo Seco del Diablo, to the southeast. If you climb to the top of Diablo Benchmark, you will add another mile to the trip. After enjoying the view, retrace your steps back to your vehicle.

Distance from downtown San Diego: 114 miles. Allow 2 hours (Anza-Borrego Desert State Park). From SR-163N, take I-8E, exiting on the Imperial Hwy at Ocotillo, after 88 miles. Turn north on SR-2 (Imperial Hwy) and drive 23.4 miles to the turnoff on the right for June Wash (signed), about one-half mile beyond highway mile-marker 42. Drive 2 miles up June Wash and park. This dirt road has some soft sand. If concerned about the sand, park at the entrance to June Wash and walk up the wash 2 miles. No facilities. Hiking length: 6.25 or 10.25 miles out-and-back, depending on where the vehicle is parked. If you climb to the top of Diablo Peak, it will add another mile to the trip; 5–8 hours, depending on start point and whether or not you climb Diablo Peak. Difficulty: Moderately strenuous to strenuous. Elevation gain/loss 825–1190 feet. Carry extra water.

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

Previous article

The Tobacconist: Stogie story

His job is to sell pleasure and desire, cigars “hand-rolled tenderly by beautiful women on their thighs.”
Next Article

Mexico after the millenium

Smuggling, TJ nightlife, deported, TJ as hip destination, can't stop thinking about TJ, cross-border kidnapping
Ridgeline north of Diablo saddle
Ridgeline north of Diablo saddle

It was the view from Diablo Peak’s north saddle that Anza-Borrego Desert State Park rangers first discovered Fish Creek’s popular Sandstone Canyon in the 1950s. The view of Sandstone Canyon continues to impress those who look down upon this twisting canyon that eventually melts into Fish Creek.

Ridgeline separating Sandstone Canyon from June Wash

The saddle and ridgeline, which is the goal of this hike, is at the headwaters of the Sandstone Canyon/Fish Creek drainage system and the June Wash/Vallecito drainage system. It is the divide between the San Felipe watershed of the northern Anza-Borrego region and the Carrizo watershed of the southern region. It confounds logic to have such a divide on the south side of the mile-high barrier of the Vallecito Mountains. The explanation is that Fish Creek cuts through the Vallecito Mountains at Split Mountain to join the San Felipe Wash system to the north. Fish Creek, as an antecedent or pre-existing stream, has been able to maintain its course by downward erosion faster than tectonic forces are uplifting the Vallecitos.

View from saddle

Begin the hike from June Wash, 2 miles from the road entrance. Head northwest a half mile, following a wash that passes through two low ridges. This is actually June Wash. The road from your parked vehicle continues up the north fork of June Wash, which is misidentified as June Wash on some maps or called “false” June Wash.

June Wash turns north after passing the two low ridges and immediately comes to a split. Stay to the left (west) and continue up-canyon 1.5 miles to where there is another split. Again, stay left (west). In less than a half mile from the second split, the canyon will open up with main June Wash continuing on to the north.

Sandstone Canyon map

Turn right (east), which is due west of survey point “Diablo.” If you are using a topo map, this survey point is on the north boundary of Section 3 on the 7.5-minute Agua Caliente topo map. It is the high peak that you will need to round to reach the viewpoint. Head northeast about 0.4 mile and climb the saddle (elevation 2075 feet) between Diablo Benchmark/Peak and the ridge to the north to get the view down into Sandstone Canyon.

From the viewpoint at the saddle, it is a very steep climb/scramble, slightly more than 300 feet in less than a half mile, to the top of Diablo Benchmark (elevation 2440 feet). The effort is well worth it for the great view of the surrounding watersheds. Diablo is actually a triple divide peak with water entering three watersheds from the peak: Fish Creek, Vallecito/Carrizo, and Arroyo/Tapiado/Arroyo Seco del Diablo, to the southeast. If you climb to the top of Diablo Benchmark, you will add another mile to the trip. After enjoying the view, retrace your steps back to your vehicle.

Distance from downtown San Diego: 114 miles. Allow 2 hours (Anza-Borrego Desert State Park). From SR-163N, take I-8E, exiting on the Imperial Hwy at Ocotillo, after 88 miles. Turn north on SR-2 (Imperial Hwy) and drive 23.4 miles to the turnoff on the right for June Wash (signed), about one-half mile beyond highway mile-marker 42. Drive 2 miles up June Wash and park. This dirt road has some soft sand. If concerned about the sand, park at the entrance to June Wash and walk up the wash 2 miles. No facilities. Hiking length: 6.25 or 10.25 miles out-and-back, depending on where the vehicle is parked. If you climb to the top of Diablo Peak, it will add another mile to the trip; 5–8 hours, depending on start point and whether or not you climb Diablo Peak. Difficulty: Moderately strenuous to strenuous. Elevation gain/loss 825–1190 feet. Carry extra water.

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

The Red, White, and Blue can never tell a lie: San Diego was the place to be for the Fourth of July!

America’s Finest County
Next Article

Kahlee310’s snitch rapper reactions

“He’d literally do anything for the money or fame”
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 News — 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