Mecca, California

Hike the Ladder Canyon/Painted Canyon Loop

4 Miles Total - 2215 ft gain - Loop Trail

Originally added by Kirby Roberts

Soft pastels cover the earth's surface where rock outcroppings and mudstone have been displaced hundreds of years ago by the San Andreas Fault. Pink, red, gray, brown and green colors wash the hills and canyon walls, creating a spectacular sight. This colorful canvas is Painted Canyon, a high-walled, narrow gorge tucked within the 41,300 acres of the Mecca Hills Recreation Area of California.

From Interstate 10, take State Highway 195 (Box Canyon Road) to Painted Canyon Road. This well-maintained, dirt road goes for about 4 miles and leads into the sandy wash which runs the length of the canyon for approximately 1.7 miles. There are a few narrow side canyons which can be explored on foot. Motor vehicles are not allowed past the wilderness boundary markers. Do not go if it is raining as it could cause flash floods in the area. Once on the trail you can turn around at any time. It is a unique, hidden trail that really shuts out its surrounding, engulfing you into nature.

If you are interested there are a number of Geocaches along the Ladder Canyon Hike. Visit the geochaching.com site for more details.

Read More

Tags

Photography
Hiking
Easy Parking
Groups
Scenic
Wildlife

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Fun hike

These two canyons make for a fun hike. The ladders looked pretty safe when I went. I would recommend a hydration pack or small pack to carry water bottles as you will need both hands to climb. I posted a story with video - https://www.theoutbound.com/scott-sichler/ladder-and-painted-canyons

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

Stay Nearby

Twentynine Palms, California

Cottonwood Campground (Ca)

From $20/night

Unnamed Road

Jumbo Rocks Campground

From $15/night

Unnamed Road

Sheep Pass Group

From $40/night

Mountain Center, California

Ribbonwood Equestrian Cg

Nearby Adventures

Tours

Win a Vacation Getaway to Santa Cruz!

Experience all Santa Cruz County has to offer this season! Enter to win a customized “Let’s Cruz” vacation getaway and choose from an array of activities to enhance your visit. 

Grand prize includes a 2-night stay at a three-bedroom condo at Pajaro Dunes Resort, a $150 “Capitola Dine & Shop Experience” gift certificate in Capitola Village, a Craftbar Experience at Annieglass Studios for four guests, four tickets to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, and four tickets to Roaring Camp Railroads.

Customize your “Let’s Cruz” vacation package entry by selecting four activities below to include outdoor adventure, dining, beer and wine tasting, family fun, spa treatments, and relaxation.