One Jeep off road trail I recommend doing if you are around the Ocotillo Wells area is the Calcite Mine Trail. This desert trail located in sunny California is full of twists and turns and has gorgeous desert views. It also has a sandy wash were you can stop for lunch and then take the slot canyon hiking trail on foot.
This trail is not for the faint hearted. There are several sections where there were deep divots that made it difficult for our jeep to transverse it.
Our 1990 Jeep Cherokee has a 3.5 inch lift kit on 31 inch tires with limited slip differentials.
With this setup, we found a few technical areas on this trail but we were able to navigate through them
successfully. For more modern vehicles, a simple leveling kit (1-3 inches) and larger tires
would be suitable to tackle this trail. As for differentials, Limited Slips are ok, but
Lockers would be preferred.
And as always make sure you go with an off road buddy so if you break down you have someone there that can help you. And on this note…make sure you bring recovery tools for safety! This includes but is not limited to tow hooks, shackles, tow straps, shovel, and spare tire and change out equipment/tools. Finally, make sure you have plenty of snacks and water. It can get very hot out there! You don’t want to run out of water or food while you are waiting for help if you break down. Be sure to check the local weather before your trip, because this is a High Risk Flash Flood Area.
The Calcite Mine Trail is right off the S22. GPS coordinates to the trail head are 33.281185, -116.096511.The trail starts as soon as you pull of the road and is marked by a sign. Some hikers will hike the off road trail to the slot canyon so make sure you are on the look out for pedestrians while on the trail.
The jeep trail is a one way road so there will be vehicles coming back from the slot canyon hike that you will need to look out for. We had to back up on the trail several times to make room for oncoming vehicles. Our first time on the trail we actually passed the slot canyon trail head by accident. We met up with a couple jeepers at a further lookout point that helped guide us back to the trailhead. There is no sign marking the trail, it is just an opening in the canyon that you walk into. There is a wash that you can park your Jeep in as you hike. Make sure not to park in deep sand and get stuck!
I love to hike and this section was my favorite park of the day. The slot canyons were amazing! It was a beautiful hike and it wasn’t very long. The trail ends when the slot canyon ends (it tapers to a rock wall that you can’t transverse) then you double back. The whole hike (there and back) is probably about a mile, mile and a half.
I hope you enjoy this hike and jeep trail combination. Before going make sure you are familiar with the trail and layout. Also make sure you have a safety buddy and supplies needed for towing if necessary. Please be aware that our suggestions for off road builds above are just suggestions and that unforeseen circumstances can make any rig unable to do an off road trail.
My husband and I recently moved to Texas, so if you have any jeep trails you want us to explore in the area, drop it in the comment section below:
Have Fun, be safe, and Happy Travels!