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The Slot-Hawk Canyon Loop
Route

The Slot-Hawk Canyon Loop

 
The Slot-Hawk Canyon Loop

Page Type: Route

Location: California, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 33.18225°N / 116.21544°W

Object Title: The Slot-Hawk Canyon Loop

Route Type: Hiking

Season: Winter

Time Required: Half a day

Difficulty: Hike

Route Quality: 
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Page By: nader

Created/Edited: Jan 10, 2015 / Oct 26, 2017

Object ID: 926967

Hits: 898 

Page Score: 84.14%  - 18 Votes 

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Overview

The Slot refers to a short slot canyon in the eroded hills near West Butte in southern California’s Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. In some places the canyon is so narrow that you may have a hard time going through it with a large backpack. Hiking the canyon will take most people no more than 20 minutes. As an added bonus, I am describing a hike beyond where the slot canyon opens into Borrego Wash, onto San Felipe Wash and then Butte Canyon to make a 9.6 mile long hike around West Butte giving you spectacular views of badlands and the arid mountains rising above them. A short excursion into the nearby Hawk Canyon, can take you to the colorful slopes at the upper end of the canyon. Except for the slot canyon, everything else described here is a four wheel drive road.

Map
Map

Getting There

From the junction of Route 78 and Borrego Springs Road, drive 1.5 miles east on Route 78 and turn left (north) onto Buttes Pass dirt Road. Drive 1 mile to a split. Left goes to The Slot and right to Buttes Canyon Road. The split is the start of the hike described here. If you want to hike The Slot only, turn left and drive another 0.9 miles.

The road is smooth and under normal conditions, 4 wheel drive may not be needed. There are, however, sandy sections, use your judgment. Personally, I would like to have 4 wheel drive just in case.

Route Description

Place
Elevation
Distance
Starting Point
690 ft
zero miles
The Slot
830 ft
0.9 miles
San Felipe Wash
360 ft
3.2 miles
Butte Canyon
270 ft
1.9 miles
Starting Point
690 ft
2.7 miles
Up Hawk Canyon and back
-
0.9 miles
Total
-
9.6 miles


As mentioned above, the starting point of the hike described here is where Butte Pass Road splits one mile north of Rout 78.

Sunset Mountain
 
From Butte Pass Road
 


Turn left and hike the road 0.9 miles to reach a parking area. You can see a canyon below you.

Going down into the canyon known as The Slot
This is where you get down into The Slot


You will find beaten paths down the steep walls of the canyon. Follow one of them down and continue at the bottom of the canyon into The Slot.

The Slot
 
The Slot
 
The Slot
 
The Slot
 
The Slot
 
Lower end of The Slot
 


As you keep going, The Slot opens up until you will find Jeep tracks at the bottom of the canyon.

Lower end of The Slot
 
The Slot opening into Borrego Wash
 


Continue down Borrego wash.

Borrego Wash
 
Borrego Wash
 
Borrego Wash
 
Borrego Wash
 
Borrego Wash
 
Borrego Wash
 


Soon the badlands including Fonts Point will come to view.

Badlands & Santa Rosa Mountains
 
Fonts Point
Fonts Point


You will then reach the junction with San Felipe Wash.

Travellers Peak
 
Badlands & Santa Rosa Mountains
 
Badlands & Santa Rosa Mountains
 
Badlands & Santa Rosa Mountains
 


West Butte can now be seen.

West Butte
West Butte


Turn right (east) and hike down San Felipe wash.

Travellers Peak from San Felipe Wash
 
Junction of San Felipe & Borrego Wash
 
San Ysidro Mountain from San Felipe Wash
 
From San Felipe Wash
 
San Felipe Wash
 
San Felipe Wash
 


At the junction with Butte Canyon, turn right and hike up the wash.

Junction of Butte & San Felipe Wash
 
Butte Wash
 
Traveller s Peak
 
Butte Wash
 


East Butte will now be in good view. From far away, the white dirt on its slopes looks like a mountain glacier.

Desert Glacier
White sand on the mountain looks like a glacier


Continuing up Butte Canyon.

West Butte
 
Butte Canyon
 
Butte Canyon
 
Butte Canyon
 


At the junction with Hawk Canyon, turn right and walk half a mile to see the colorful slopes.

Hawk Canyon
 
Hawk Canyon
 


Hawk Canyon
 


Come back to the Butte Canyon Road and follow a short distance back to the starting place.

Essential Gear

Hiking equipment

When to Hike

Winter, late autumn and early spring. Summer can be dangerously hot.

Images

Sunset MountainThe SlotLower end of The SlotThe SlotThe SlotBorrego WashThe Slot
MapDesert GlacierBorrego WashGoing down into the canyon known as The SlotBorrego WashThe SlotButte Wash
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