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Vista del Malpais

 
Vista del Malpais

Page Type: Route

Location: California, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 33.26085°N / 116.19832°W

Object Title: Vista del Malpais

Route Type: Hiking

Season: Winter

Time Required: Half a day

Difficulty: Hike

Route Quality: 
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Page By: nader

Created/Edited: Feb 7, 2015 / Oct 26, 2017

Object ID: 929345

Hits: 954 

Page Score: 80.72%  - 13 Votes 

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Overview

Like the nearby Fonts Point, Vista del Malpais is one the two designated points with fantastic views of the badlands of southern California’s Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Most people reach Vista del Malpais via a network of scenic four wheel drive roads that span the desert floor or follow the sandy bottoms of dry washes. To better experience the area, I highly recommend that you hike the roads. I only saw a few vehicles on the route described below. The shortest route to Vista del Malpais is via Thimble Trail off of Route S-22.

Map of the hike to Vista del Malpais
Map

Getting There

Directions to Thimble Trail four wheel drive road:

From Christmas Circle in Borrego Springs, CA, drive 12.5 miles east on Route S-22 to just before mile marker 32 (31.9). Thimble Trail Road is on the south side. There is plenty of parking (This is the same parking spot for climbing Villager Peak).

Route Description

Place
Elevation
Distance
Jct. Route S-22 & Thimble Trail
950 ft
zero miles
Jct. Thimble Trail & Short Wash Rd.
1040 ft
2.10 miles
Jct. Short & Malpais Washes
800 ft
1.25 miles
Vista del Malpais
1040 ft
1.1 miles
Total
-
4.45 miles




Head south on Thimble Trail. The road remains on the desert plain with great views of the surrounding mountains.

Santa Rosa Mountains
Santa Rosa Mountains
Badlands
Badlands
Torro Peak
Torro Peak
San Ysidro Mountain
San Ysidro Mountains
Coyote Mountain
Coyote Mountain
Travelers Peak
Travellers Peak



You will then reach the junction with Short Wash Road. Right takes you toward Fonts Point. Turn left and head east a short distance until you reach the edge of Short Canyon. Follow the road down into the canyon.

Where the road drops into Short Wash Canyon
The road going into Short Wash Canyon


Once in the canyon, you will find yourself surrounded by badlands. Follow the sandy road at the bottom of the wash.

On Short Wash Rd.
 
On Short Wash Rd.
 
On Short Wash Rd.
 
On Short Wash Rd.
 
On Short Wash Rd.
 
On Short Wash Rd.
 


Turn right (south) at the junction with Malpais Wash and follow it uphill.

On Malpais Wash Rd.
 
On Malpais Wash Rd.
 


You will then reach the end of the road. Follow the trail to the top of a ridgeline at Vista del Malpais. Fantastic views are visible all around.

From Vista del Malpais
Looking west
From Vista del Malpais
Looking SW
From Vista del Malpais
Looking SE
From Vista del Malpais
Looking east
From Viata del Malpais
Looking south
Travelers Peak
Travellers Peak
Santa Rosa Mountains
Santa Rosa Mountains
Coyote Mountain & Torro Peak
Coyote Mountain & Torro Peak


When to hike

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

External Links

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

Images

Santa Rosa MountainsOn Short Wash Rd.From Vista del MalpaisFrom Viata del MalpaisWhere the road drops into Short Wash CanyonCoyote Mountain & Torro PeakFrom Vista del Malpais
BadlandsTorro PeakOn Malpais Wash Rd.San Ysidro MountainTravelers PeakFrom Vista del MalpaisOn Short Wash Rd.
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