The Morteros Trail | Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

Trail Stats

1.35 miles
Elevation Gain
180 feet
Total Time
45 minutes
Moving Time
40 minutes

The Morteros Trail is a 1.35 mile trail with 180 feet of elevation gain and is part of Anza-Borrego Desert State park located near Julian, California. This trail is a self guided tour with some great history! I could have done better on this one, but I wont be back soon, so I figured I would share what I captured.

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 was 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 location that had some mud or decent sized ruts.

Anza Borrego Desert Start Park Driving

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. Also, don’t quote me on that. Make sure to do your own research as conditions can easily change.

Directions to the Morteros Trail can be found by using this link to Google Maps.

The Trail

This trail is a walking museum. When you make it to the trailhead you will see a box with some of the fliers in it. For your convenience, I have included a link to the digital version HERE.

The Mortreros Trail - Handout
Page 1 of handout

When you walk around this trail you will see number markers. These numbers correlate with the handout where you can learn a bit of history about the area. In the above handout you can see some examples, like learning about the pictographs or rock shelter.

It is important to note that you are not able to bring dogs on this trail or the trails in the surrounding areas. Im not sure if the trail has hours, but keep in mind that you are in the middle of nowhere without any light. If you are going to be out without natural light, make sure you know where to go.

This trail is not very long and we ended up going farther than what AllTrails showed. Eventually the path we were following just ended and we turned around at that point. There is no shade, so it was important that we brought plenty of water with us.

I will be the first to admit that the recap video above is not the best. But, this is what I have and I won’t be back to the trail anytime soon, so I wanted to at least share what I had.


Overall the Morteros Trail is an interesting trail with lots of history. Personally, I would not travel all the way out here just to visit this trail. If you are able to pair it with some of the surrounding trails like Ghost Mountain and Pictograph trail, it will be worth it! How was your experience at the trail? Drop a comment below to help keep the adventure fam informed!

Photo Gallery

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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