Solstice Cave: Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

You won’t find a GPS trace for this hike anywhere (including here) and you won’t read about it in any official guidebook. The lack of specific information about the Solstice Cave helps protect the site. It also provides a challenge you don’t get on most hikes.

anzaborrego desert state park; california; cave; desert; native american; pictographs View of the cave from outside.

View of the cave from outside.

The hike starts at the end of the road going up South Indian Valley. We spent a few hours scrambling cross-country, avoiding cholla and catclaw, climbing over boulders, fending off dehydration, and searching for the location. Our arsenal included a few pictures taken by other visitors. By comparing the pictures to landmark rock formations, we were fairly sure where the cave should be and we were right.

The cave’s ceiling is comprised of a large fallen boulder. In fact, the boulder formation is visible from the end of the road. The ceiling is covered in pictographs, mainly depicting suns, hence the name. Several morteros can be found in the area as well.

anzaborrego desert state park; california; desert My recreation of the picture we used to find the cave. Can you figure it out?

My recreation of the picture we used to find the cave. Can you figure it out?

From the vantage point of the cave we could see several well defined use-trails and decided to follow these on the way down. This proved much easier than the way up. I spent the whole way down thinking about how much more quickly I could reach the cave should I ever visit the area again.

Next time on Destination Isolation…tying up loose ends, the not so rough route with an intimidating name, more caves, and a lot of split things.

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For more information on and adventures in state parks, visit our California State Park Guide.