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Culp Valley
Route

Culp Valley

 
Culp Valley

Page Type: Route

Location: California, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 33.22416°N / 116.45475°W

Object Title: Culp Valley

Route Type: Hiking

Season: Winter

Time Required: Less than two hours

Difficulty: Hike

Route Quality: 
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Page By: nader

Created/Edited: Feb 28, 2015 / Oct 27, 2017

Object ID: 931432

Hits: 993 

Page Score: 79.04%  - 10 Votes 

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Overview

Culp Valley is a small flat area on the slopes of the mountains that rise abruptly to the west of the plain of Anza Borrego Desert in southern California. The valley sits at an elevation of 3300-3500 ft. This is roughly 2800 ft higher than the Anza Borrego Plain a short distance to the east and 2800 ft lower than the higher peaks of the San Ysidro Mountain a short distance to the northwest. A trail takes you to a spot where you get great views of Anza Borrego Plain and Hellhole Canyon far below. You can then continue the trail to Pena Spring where bushes, grass and small deciduous trees provide a break from the cacti that cover the rest of Culp Valley and the surrounding slopes. From most places on the trail, San Ysidro Mountain will be in good view.

Culp Valley Hike
Map

Getting There

From Christmas Circle in Borrego Springs, CA, drive 1.5 miles west on Route S-22. At a 4 way, the road takes a 90 degree turn left. You will soon see mile marker 17. The road begins to go up the mountains quickly. Drive more than 6.5 miles (beyond mile marker 9.5) to Culp Valley Primitive Campground Road on the right (north side of S-22).

Turn onto this dirt road (passable by most/any car) and go a short distance to reach a Y. You can start your hike here, go one way and return the other. I went right driving to the end of the road and started my hike there.

Route Description

Elevation Range: 3300-3500 ft
Length: 2.2 miles

This description starts at the X mark on the map above. From the end of the road, get on the trail and hike up the valley.

Culp Valley
Culp Valley

San Ysidro Mountain
San Ysidro Mountain


After 0.5 miles, you will reach the junction with California Riding and Hiking Trail. You will have great views of Anza-Borrego Plain and Hellhole Canyon below.

Anza Borrego Plain
Anza-Borrego Plain plus Coyote Peak & Villager Mountain

Hellhole Canyon from Culp Valley Viewpoint
Hellhole Canyon


Turn left onto California Riding and Hiking Trail (right takes you down to Hellhole Canyon Trailhead) and follow it up to a high point and then down to where Pena Spring comes to view.

San Ysidro Mountain
San Ysidro Mountain

Culp Valley
Culp Valley

Culp Valley
Culp Valley

Pena Spring Area
Pena Spring


You will then reach a T. Pena Spring area can be seen on the right as a green grassy area in contrast to the rest of the desert. Turn right and follow the trail downhill to the spring area.

Pena Spring Area
Pena Spring

Pena Spring Area
Pena Spring

Coyote Mountain and Villager Peak behind it
Coyote Peak & Villager Mountain


You can then return to the T. Continue straight to a parking area at the end of a road. Hike down the road to the Y and turn left to go back to the starting place.

Culp Valley
Culp Valley

San Ysidro Mountain
San Ysidro Mountain



When to Hike

Winter, late fall and early spring are the best times to hike. Summer can become dangerously hot.

External Links

Guidebook: The Anza-Borrego Desert Region by Lowell & Diana Lindsay.

Images

San Ysidro MountainHellhole Canyon from Culp Valley ViewpointAnza Borrego PlainCulp ValleySan Ysidro MountainCoyote Mountain and Villager Peak behind itCulp Valley Hike
Culp ValleyPena Spring AreaPena Spring AreaCulp ValleySan Ysidro MountainCulp ValleyPena Spring Area