Ghost Mountain Trail to Yaquitepec | Anza-Borrego Desert

Trail Stats

1.94 miles
Elevation Gain
469 feet
Total Time
1 hours 12 minutes
Moving Time
1 hours 0 minutes

Ghost Mountain Trail to Yaquitepec is a 1.94-mile trail with 469 feet of elevation gain and is part of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park located near Julian, California. Once you reach the peak of this hike you will be at the ruins of the South family home that was occupied in the 1930s and 1940s.

Parking & Getting There

Heading out to this trail will require some off-road driving. When I visited the trail it was pretty well-groomed. Overall there were about 20 minutes of off-road driving to get to the trailhead. There were only a couple of spots (for the route I took in) that had shrubs close up and rubbing the car. There were also a couple of locations that had some mud or decent-sized ruts.

I went out in a 4×4 Ford Explorer and made it no problem. You could probably make it in a sedan, but that wouldn’t be my first pick if possible. So don’t quote me on that. Make sure to do your own research as conditions can easily change.

The Trail

This trail is also referred to as the “Marshall South Trailhead” as you can see in Google Maps. After you have made the trek to the parking, it is time to make the ascent to the top. The trailhead is nicely marked, and you should be able to follow the path all the way to the top.

Please note, my recording shows some random LARGE switchbacks at the halfway point. This was an error in the recording from AllTrails.

When you are out here, there will be no shade. As a result, make sure to bring plenty of water. Also, dogs are not allowed on the trail, so they will need to stay home on this adventure.

The incline on this trail was nice and steady for the most part. The best part is the views from the top and the way back down as you get to enjoy the views from the elevated vantage point.

The ruins aren’t something to write home about. There is some metal wire from a bed, partial walls, and a water collection system. It’s worth taking a moment to imagine living here in the ’30s and ’40s and building this location from scratch without modern-day vehicles. I couldn’t imagine how challenging that was. It’s actually pretty inspiring if you think about it. The mental and physical strength it took to pull this off is crazy. And even better, in the heat of the summer, no AC! We are so spoiled with our modern-day luxuries.

Marshall House Ruins

We did notice that a lot of people had been throwing their trash in the water collection system. Please make sure to pack out your trash. We cleaned up the best we could while we were up at the top!


Overall Ghost Mountain Trail to Yaquitepec is worth the visit. While in the area I would try to check out a couple more trails if you have the time and stamina. I had a blast at the Pictograph Trail. The views at the end are amazing!

Wrap Up

Is there a specific hike that you would like to see next? Leave a comment down below or reach out via the Contact Form and hopefully I will be able to get a recap and virtual hike posted soon! Thanks for stopping by, enjoy your adventure.

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