Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Indian Valley Anza Borrego Desert State Park

My son and I went out camping for a couple of days in Indian Valley over the Thanksgiving break. We drove out the south fork and camped in a nice sandy area about a mile past the North/South split in the road. It was really windy and once the sun went down it got very cold, low 30’s easy. We built up a good fire and just hung out most of the night. It was a full moon that night and we saw a single vehicle drive up the dirt road without headlights towards Sombrero Peak and later return back and drive out of the valley. Several times throughout the night and early morning we listened to the coyotes yipping and howling to each other across the canyons. It sounded like they were in Torote Canyon howling over to the False Sombrero area.

We used the truck to block the wind, we even had to use the buckets underneath
Full moon and our fire

My son opted to sleep in the comfort of the truck bed while I slept on the ground next to the fire eager to try out my newly acquired military issue modular “sleep system”. I slept really good and stayed super warm even as it got down into the low 30’s. When I rolled up the bivy and sleeping bags I found a nice, cute little baby scorpion had bunked up with me staying warm between my bivy and sleep pad.

My new "sleep system"
My new "sleep buddy" he was underneath my sleeping bag on my Thermarest pad

I hiked around the valley while my son slept in. I found some morteros, rock carvings and what I believe to be an old Indian hunting blind.

Rock Carvings near the North/South junction

Indian hunting blind (I believe) on top of an island of boulders

View of False Sombrero from the Indian hunting blind

Small cave and morteros in Indian Valley

My son had never seen any rock art so we climbed up the boulder strewn valley to find the Solstice Cave. The cave has numerous paintings and is believed to have been used by the Indians for some type of summer/winter solstice celebrations. The Anza Borrego.net website has a great trip report about it.

My son in the Solstice Cave
One of the many pictographs in Solstice Cave
I counted 13 sun pictographs in the Solstice Cave
Collage of photos from Indian Valley

On our way out of the valley we drove up to the end of the North fork to check out the area. You can climb False Sombrero from this area or even hike over to Torote Canyon. It is mostly all boulders and sandy washes.

False Sombrero in North Indian Valley



  1. Nice trip report Daren,
    Sorry we missed you guys.
    How long did it take you to hike to the cave now that you know where it is?


  2. Without giving away too much detail, about 1/3 of our time. We went up the trail you, your wife and I came down and then we scrambled over boulders on the cave side of the canyon coming back down. It was cold and really windy.