Thursday, February 2, 2017

Climbing the San Ysidro Mountains by Jeep

Thursday, February 2, 2017 – Groundhog Day

After all my morning duties, it was nearing noon.  Yuma and I decided to go into Borrego Springs and get us a map of the area.  Maybe it will give us some ideas of where to go.

Off we went for a ten mile drive to get a map.  We ended up at the very end of town right under the San Ysidro Mountains at the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Visitor Center.   It is at the end of the main drag right at the base of the mountains.


Walked around a bit and I slipped inside to pick up a map of the park. 


The visitor center blends in with the surroundings, so you don’t see it till you walk down around the hillside to the entrance.


Looking back through Borrego Springs and Fonts Point is in the background.


I had forgotten, but this park does not allow dogs on any of the trails.  Now, that is a BIG bummer.  Last year, Dolly was with me and Yuma could stay with her when I went hiking, so it was no big deal.  I hear the fine is pretty hefty so I best heed the rule.  I know there is a good reason for the rule, so I can’t really complain, but I still don’t like it. 

That means, we won’t be doing any hiking in the park.  I won’t be able to go to the slot canyons or palm canyons or on the walking trails.  I can however, take Yuma anywhere my Jeep can go, so we may be relegated to Jeep rides till we leave.

Well, we decided to drive up State hwy 22 toward Ranchita, California at the top of the San Ysidro Mountains located right behind the the State Park Visitor Center.

It’s about 12 miles to Ranchita in Montezuma Valley on a switch-back road with plenty of photo opportunities.  Now Borrego Springs is at an elevation of 597 feet and Ranchita is at 4065 feet.  If I got my math right, we will go up 3468 feet in the next 12 miles.

Unfortunately, the day is overcast and there is a lot of haze, so it does not make for the best photos, but they will give you an idea of our journey, I’m sure.

It does not take long before Borrego springs is far below in the desert.  The higher mountains are the Santa Rosa Mountains and the nearer is Coyote Mountain.  Our RV is between those two in the Clark Dry Lake bed.


We’re going to drive 12 miles, but it won’t be in a straight line, that is for sure.  I think this road looks a little like the road Patsy and Bill of Chillin’ with Patsy took to Banning, California the other day. 


We’re close to the top now. Still zig-zagging like a snake.


Oh no!  That looks like snow over there.  I notice it is nice and cool now when I step out of the Jeep.


I stopped at the Ra…chita Real Estate office and asked the big white guy if we were in Ranchita, California, and guess what?  He said “Yes you are.”


And we also happen to be in Montezuma Valley.  I didn’t have to go inside to ask, because it’s written right on the building.


We turned around and went over the hill and started back down.


Looking along the mountain tops, you get an idea how high we are.  I’m looking  pretty much eye level at the tops of the mountains.


If I don’t heed that sign, Yuma and I are going to get to the desert floor real quick.




They do give good directions with lots of signs pointing the way.  I ignored them and just followed the road.


We made it to the desert floor unscathed.


Just a pretty drive for me and a boring one for poor Yuma.


Said I would throw in a few metal sculptures each day instead of overwhelming you with hundreds of them.




See you later.


  1. Beautiful pictures of your trip to visit Mr. Sasquatch! There's more snow there than here in Illinois.Love the pictures of the sculptures. You and Yuma have a fun time in Borrego Springs!

    1. Thanks Dolly. He said he was a Yeti not a Sasquatch. Looking like a mild winter back home maybe.

  2. Spectacular Jeep drive on those winding dangerous roads. I wanted to comment on yesterday's post about Yuma's new playmate - Lula - I have never seen a dog with those kind of colors and markings ! Any idea what she is ? Looks like a little bit cattledog but she is s!eek and has legs !ike Yuma. What a beautiful pair they make running wild and playing together. You meet some great people on your trip.

    1. Hi Moonfly. The dog is not a pure one but is mostly a Catahoula Leopard dog. They both ran themselves to death!

  3. Montezuma's Grade is always a fun drive either going up or coming down. There's a nice campground on the right side about two thirds of the way up called Culp Valley Campground. Great views and hiking trails. Wondering if you have found the 'Great Stone Eagle' near Warner Springs yet........

    1. Yuma and I did stop at Culp Valley trail and there were people camping in there. We walked the rocks just off the road, but didn't go on the trail.

      I'll check out the Stone Eagle on the internet and may get up there.

  4. We did that drive last year and stopped in to Julian for a slice of apple pie, what a scenic drive it was.

    1. I need to make a trip to Julian before I leave. One year Dolly and I saw a herd of Mountain Sheep coming down from Julian in the late afternoon.

  5. Another interesting read, Doug. Love the sculptures!

    1. You'll probably see many more of the metal sculptures.

  6. Looks like you had a wonderful day of beautiful views. Keep enjoying and stay safe.

    1. Turned out to be a nice day for a drive. I'm hoping my family gets a feel of the mountains looking at the photos. Being from the flatlands of Illinois, they don't see any.

  7. Beautiful pics of the sculptures! Up close they are pretty amazing.