Arroyo Tapiado Mud Caves - Anza-Borrego Desert

Rate this Adventure Arroyo Tapiado Mud Caves

Super cool hike with various slot canyons and underground caves to explore.  Out in the middle of Anza-Borrega desert the caves offer a cool relief to the desert heat.

Going East on 78 out of Julian take a right on the Great Southern Overland Stage Route California (S2).  Once you hit Agua Caliente County Park & Campground you travel about another 4 miles south and turn left onto Vallecito Creek.  You will see a sign for Palm Spring.  From here it is a bumpy off-road drive.  Clearance isn't an issue for most cars. Follow this wash 4.2 miles to Arroyo Tapiado which will be a hard left. The first mud cave is at about 2.4 miles up Arroyo Tapiado.  Look for a trail on your left.  The easiest to find mud cave is another 0.3 miles at mile 2.7 up Arroyo Tapiado.  The cave entrance is visible on your left and you will notice a large parking area on the right. This cave winds underground and opens up to a few large skylights ending at the largest.  There is a point where the cave splits but they meet right back up so you can't get lost.  An additional 0.6 miles north on your right is a fun slot canyon hike (no caves) that winds up out of the wash.  After some hot and dusty hiking you can head back to Aqua Caliente County Park where they have day use pools fed by natural springs. 

Pack List

  • Water
  • Food
  • Headlamp
Show More
Activities Camping, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Spring, Autumn, Winter


Leave a Review

Overall rating:  Rate this Adventure

Have you done this adventure? Leave a review!

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Nearby Adventures

More Nearby Adventures

Hike to Mountain Palm Springs, Anza Borrego SP

59 Saves

Exploring Anza Borrego's Wind Caves

520 Saves

Hike Canyon Sin Nombre

28 Saves