Bats, Dinosaurs, Wind and Morteros – Anza Borrego Desert State Park – April 2017

Last year spring we had a chance to explore the a small section of the Mud Caves in Anza Borrego’s Desert State Park.  We got there in the evening and camped out in the wash during a rainstorm, probably one of the stupidest choices we made during our adventures last year, but the next day turned out to be an extremely beautiful day.  This year we started out the day first thing on a Saturday morning.  We rode alongside a storm that was traveling west towards the coast which awarded us with a beautiful rainbow as we were leaving the clouds.


We had gotten to our first stop, the Morteros Memories Trail.  The trail is at the end of the primitive campground and past the Marshal South Homestead trail.  The trail is short but has many points of interest left behind from the past by the Kumeyaay People.  They used this area as their kitchen and other things.  There are many large holes in the stones from years and years of pounding and grinding different grains.  The view of the valley is beautiful in this location.  The hike itself is less than a mile round trip, but you need plenty of time to take in all the history and beauty.  If you plan on doing this hike take along this pdf, it will give you a description of each number as you pass.

Once we got in our history lesson we headed to our first cave.  Going down the highway S2 south you turn on Vallenito Creek Road that is a dirt turnout.  This turns into a large wash that will take you towards the mud caves. You follow this down until you hit another large wash called Arroyo Tapiado and make a left.  This is the wash that has all the caves.  It is wide at the beginning but it starts to narrow and the walls of the wash become a beautiful canyon.


The first cave we hit was Bat Canyon that turned into Bat Cave.  We had not hit this one the first time we were out there.  It is a great way to start the caves.  The canyon is a shorter one that leads to a small cave.  There are some tighter spaces that make you have to duck under rocks.  The first of the 2 caves is also a short cave compared to some of the other ones.  When you get to the end of the first cave you will ascend up to the a larger cave, at this point look up and you will see the bats.  If you yell at them they will fly towards you lol.  It was something out of a Scooby Doo movie!  It was creepy and I never made it all the way in that part of the cave but it was pretty cool to see.  This was the only time we ever saw any bats.

Just a few feet from the Bat Canyon is Start Canyon.  This canyon has 2 small caves that we ended up finding. The first cave, Bedding Plane Cave, is very short but it opens up the room with dry mud falls.  The second cave, Murcielago Cave, is a little longer but seems to end.  It looks like you may go on more but we were ready for lunch and wanted to explore other caves.

After Start Canyon we found a spot that look as though it was used for a camping spot and had our lunch.  There are many spots like that on the right side of the canyon.  After lunch we headed to Mud Flow Cave.  We hit this cave the last time we were here and it is one of the better caves.  It is longer and has more room to stand up in.  There are spots that you have to bend around but for the most part you can walk all the way through.

The next cave was Chasm Cave.  This one is probably the most popular and easiest to get to and walk through.  You can see the entrance from the wash and there is a place to actually park across the wash from the opening.  This was our favorite cave.  Half way through there is a skylight that travels towards the top of the canyon and at the end there is a hole at the top of the cavern that opens up to the sky.

We also hit this cave at night after we set up our camp. When you got to the end of the cave the stars that came through the hole in the cavern is amazing.

The last cave we hit was Carey’s Big Mud Cave.  This one is the longest cave that we walked through and had the tallest rooms.  It is easy to miss unless you know what you are looking for.  You have to climb over a small hill from the wash and through some brush but there is well used trail that you can see leading over the hill.  If you keep your eyes out you will see trails from the wash that are well used and may look like they lead nowhere, but most likely they will lead you to a pretty cool canyon or another cave.

After we finished with the caves we found camp in a small canyon away from the wash. It was pretty windy and you couldn’t tell what direction the wind was coming from.  We ending up finding a great place that seemed to be out of the wind, but around 2am the wind almost blew us away. There were a few times the wind picked up our tent along with the edge of our air mattress almost knocking us off.  After about an hour of that the wind stopped all together and we were able to get some sleep.

The next day we decided to head to the north/west edge of the Anza Borrego Desert State Park to check out Ricardo Breceda Metal Sculptures.  These large metal sculptures are places all over Borrego Springs.  There are elephants and dinosaurs; birds and dragons; scorpions and so many others.  They are scattered all over the south side of the desert as well as the north side.   If you are driving through start at Borrego Springs Road go west from Yaqui Pass Road.  You can’t miss them.  They are on both sides of the road scattered all over the desert.  It is a little overwhelming because you want to see them all.  When you think you are finished head along Borrego Springs Road west and it will turn you North.  Follow it for another 5 miles and there will be another cluster of sculptures on both sides of the road.

With our second trip under our belt and new things seen, Anza Borrego Desert State Park has not disappointed us yet.  We will be back again to explore this park soon. Hopefully next time we will get to the slot canyons and the wind caves.
Happy Hiking!

Hiking Stats

County:                         San Diego County
Park:                              Anza Borrego Desert State Park
Permit:                          No Permit needed

Morteros Memories Trail – Stava Trackable for Morteros Memories Trail

Points of Interest:
Ricardo Breceda Metal Sculptures



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