Coyote Mountain is a desert peak that sits just northeast of Borrego Springs on the west edge of Clark Dry Lake. Coyote splits Clark Valley from Borrego Valley, and stands alone from other peaks in the area making for excellent 360 degree views from the summit. An enjoyable half day and straight-to-the-point hike will bring you to the isolated summit, where Rabbit, Villager, and the lower Santa Rosa Mountains fill the skyline to the east, Indianhead, Borrego Palm Canyon, and the San Ysidro Mountains are visible to the west, El Toro to the north, and the Borrego Badlands to the southeast.
Although there are many possibilities for ascending Coyote Mountain, the southeast ridge appears to be the most direct. The driving directions and route description are for this route.
From the S-22 (7 miles east of Borrego Springs), go north on Clark’s Well Rd. Proceed for ~1.5 miles, ignoring a rougher fork to the left, then turn left onto Rockhouse Canyon Rd (unmarked). Drive another 1.8 miles (3.3 total miles from S-22) and park. You should be just south of the obvious mining operation, and this
is what you should see looking west towards the mountain.
Both Clark’s Well Rd and Rockhouse Canyon Rd are unpaved, but in excellent shape as of November 2010. A standard passenger vehicle can make it to the trailhead if you are careful not to get stuck in a few small sandy areas. Desert road conditions can change rapidly though so be prepared.
Parking note: There is another dirt road that intersects and then parallels Rockhouse Canyon Rd near the start of the hike. This road is on the west side of Rockhouse Canyon Rd, and may be useful for parking. This road is barely visible on the map here
Head west for 1/3 mile towards the southeast ridge of Coyote Mountain. Then head north-northwest up the ridge all the way to the summit, dodging Ocotillo, Cholla Cactus, and other inhospitable plants along the way. The route really is that straightforward. As compared to some other peaks in the area, the footing on Coyote Mountain is relatively solid, making it easy to gain elevation quickly, and bits of a use trail are sometimes present.
Total elevation gain/loss: 2600 feet
Roundtrip distance: 4.5 miles
Since Coyote Mountain makes for a short day, you can plan to visit other peaks or attractions in the area. The local bar’n’grill isn't too bad either!
When to Climb
Fall through spring is best. Temperatures can reach well into the 100s (F) in the summer.
Permits are not required to hike any part of Coyote Mountain.
Anza Borrego Desert SP