"100ft deep and 3 feet wide"

Entering Slot Canyon, Anza Borrego Desert State Park
Slot Canyons are a particular type of desert phenomenon that occur in the Southwestern United States and only a few other places on earth. These types of canyons are very different from "Grand Canyon" type canyons. They form in "softer" types of rock such as sandstone. A slot canyon is exactly what it sounds like; these canyons can be hundreds of feet deep and only a couple of feet wide at the bottom. In my travels through Utah, which has the largest concentration of slot canyons in the world, I've repelled down canyons that are 500-600 feet (150-180 meters). Fortunantly for those living in southern California, there exists a spectacular slot canyon in Anza Borrego State Park. This canyon is simply known as "The Slot"
The bottom of the canyon
Getting There

This hike is located within Anza Borrego Desert State Park, directly east of San Diego. Highway 78, which goes through the southern and central parts of the park, will take you to the turn off. From the ranger station at Tamarisk Grove, head eastwards on highway 78. You will pass Borrego Springs Rd, a road which leads to the town of Borrego Springs. Keep traveling past this turnoff until you see a dirt road on the right which is Buttes Pass Road. This is a dirt road and 90% of it can be traveled comfortably in a sedan. After about 10 minutes of driving this road, you'll come to a fork and stay to the left. After a couple more minutes of driving, you will come to a large and abrupt downhill section. DO NOT ATTEMPT this section in anything but an all wheel drive vehicle with HIGH CLEARANCE. If you're in a sedan, just park it here and walk the rest of the way to the trailhead-- its only about .2 miles away. Park at the trailhead.
Looking down into the Slot Canyon

The Hike

Obviously, its hard to get lost in a slot canyon; there's only two ways to go. However, you should leave a conspicuous mark where you enter and will exit the canyon. Even though there are usually several hikers at the canyon, I've completely overshot the exit before. So, take a couple of rocks and make an obvious arrow or cairn to mark you exit.

If there is any threat of rain, do not hike this canyon as flash floods could be imminent  (how do you think it was formed?)

The canyon seems to get deeper and deeper as you continue down. Its actually a rather short hike, but very interesting. At some points, you will be so deep into the canyon that it will be markedly colder than the surface. The canyon is maybe a mile long round trip, but its worth it to hike further. Past the slot the canyon widdens to form a more natural looking canyon and you can explore the several smaller canyons that are formed into these badlands. Fonts Point can be viewed from about a mile outside the slot canyon which is also pictureque. Whenever you feel like turning around, head back through the canyon and find your exit point!
Sunset on the Anza Borrego Badlands
So there you have it- A nicely formed slot canyon located relatively close to Southern California! Happy Canyoning!

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