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.
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.
|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
As mentioned above, the starting point of the hike described here is where Butte Pass Road splits one mile north of Rout 78.
Turn left and hike the road 0.9 miles to reach a parking area. You can see a canyon below you.
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.
As you keep going, The Slot opens up until you will find Jeep tracks at the bottom of the canyon.
Continue down Borrego wash.
Soon the badlands including Fonts Point will come to view.
You will then reach the junction with San Felipe Wash.
West Butte can now be seen.
Turn right (east) and hike down San Felipe wash.
At the junction with Butte Canyon, turn right and hike up the wash.
East Butte will now be in good view. From far away, the white dirt on its slopes looks like a mountain glacier.
White sand on the mountain looks like a glacier
Continuing up Butte Canyon.
At the junction with Hawk Canyon, turn right and walk half a mile to see the colorful slopes.
Come back to the Butte Canyon Road and follow a short distance back to the starting place.
When to Hike
Winter, late autumn and early spring. Summer can be dangerously hot.