On this adventure, we went WAY back in time….we’re talking pre-historic days when dinosaurs roamed the earth (well, at least it felt like that to us)!
The wind caves sit nestled back in one of the many canyons and washes littered throughout Anza Borrego. Just the thought of trekking through an area called the “badlands” sounds like something out of the Lion King movie and makes us want to explore it even more. I mean, how can the “badlands” not be fun?!
The Carrizo Badlands did not disappoint, everything from the journey to get there, to the hike up the hillside, to the highly entertaining wind caves, were a blast.
If you make it through the Fish Creek wash without getting stuck or side-tracked, you will know you’ve reached the wind cave’s makeshift parking lot, by all of the cars parked off to the side. Just above the parked cars lies a trailhead entrance with a sign that notes wind caves are one mile ahead. One mile doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you get to the top, you will get sucked in by the enormity of your surroundings. The views of the badlands are 360 degrees all around you. Every stop requires a new photo opportunity and the higher you climb, the better the view gets. We believe that from this location, you get the best view of the elephant knees mud formations. The elephant knees are mountainous walls that have eroded, sunken, shifted and deformed so much over time, that the entire mountainside looks like hundreds of elephant’s legs and knees standing together to form a mighty mountain range.
If you can tear yourself away from the scenery and lush green ocotillo plants along the way, you will eventually get to the wind caves (and it will feel like the longest one mile you’ve ever hiked)!
The wind caves are captivating, beautiful and quirky all at the same time. To think that these swiss cheese holes formed in solid rock over years of constant abuse from the wind and rain is truly amazing. I felt like we just stepped onto the real life set of the Flintstone’s movie and we were living in Bedrock. This place is so much fun to explore…so many cubby holes to crawl in, rocks to climb on and over and more majestic scenery every step of the way. To think that this area hasn’t changed at all, makes you feel like you really are back in the caveman days. Although there is no scientific research that dates these wind caves, one can only conclude that these massive boulders have been shaping and eroding for a very long time. Science does date fossil deposits and some landscape found within the Anza Borrego Desert State Park as being up to 5 million years old (so these weren’t born yesterday)!
This is a great place to roam, explore, hike, crawl, do a little rock climbing, get dirty and have a ton of fun. It’s a great place for all ages to visit with a lot of history to share.
While there is no RV parking at the wind caves (and we don’t recommend taking your RV or trailer down Fish Creek Wash) there is PLENTY of dry camping and boondocking spots on nearby BLM land in Ocotillo Wells. There’s also a primitive tent campground near the beginning of Fish Creek Wash that looks like a great place to camp too.
Happy Swiss Cheese Exploring
Prepare yourself for a great “one mile” adventure
Makeshift parking lot for the Wind Caves along Fish Creek Wash
Our first glimpse of the wind caves- doesn’t it look like the town of Bedrock?
Another panoramic view and side-tracking photo op (you can start to see the elephants knees in the left corner of the photo)
Playing hide and go seek, wind cave edition!
My two favorite explorers are taking a moment to stop and smell the desert air and enjoy the view
We had fun climbing up, around, through and into the wind caves
Taking a break inside the rock we affectionately named “skull rock”
Looking out from one of the caves I crawled into- I loved the view out of this little cubby-hole
She got the best seat in the house!
This is a great shot to feel all of the textures and sights we saw. From the multiple holes and openings, to the colors of the rocks in contrast to the blue sky, the panoramic view and the hiking trail we came in on….just awesome!
A better picture of our new friend “skull rock”
Just me and the ocotillo hanging out taking pictures (the purple dot is little one)
This overhang was fun to crawl around in and made for nice shade away from the desert sun
A powerful example of what erosion did to these rocks; from the swiss cheese holes to the deep crevasses, the wind caves are awesome!
I am pretty sure if this were a scratch and sniff photo, you could smell the desert air and feel the sandstone walls
Huge holes formed by years of wind and rain make for excellent photo opportunities and lunch breaks!