Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
2,761.00 ft (841.55 m)
Trail type
17.80 mi (28.65 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Overview: The Wilson Peak trail, spanning 17.8 miles out-and-back, offers a serene and less-traveled path within Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Renowned for its vast desert landscapes and diverse ecology, the park provides a unique backdrop for this hike.

Trail Experience: Though not among the tallest peaks in the park, Wilson Peak delivers expansive views across rugged terrain characteristic of the area. The hike traverses a quintessential desert landscape, which can pose challenges like limited shade and potentially high temperatures, particularly in the summer months.

Flora and Fauna: Along the trail, hikers can encounter a rich array of desert life, including cacti, ocotillo, creosote bush, and various species of wildlife native to Anza-Borrego.

Trail Details: The trek can be undertaken as a day hike or an overnight backpacking adventure. Starting from Culp Valley Campground, follow the California Riding and Hiking Trail south to Culp Valley Road. Head east on this dirt road to the Wilson Trailhead, then ascend to the peak for spectacular views.

Access: For those seeking a shorter hike, beginning at Wilson Trailhead is an option, though a 4x4 vehicle is recommended due to the terrain.

Peak Bagging: Wilson Peak is a notable summit on the San Diego 100 Peaks List, attracting peak baggers seeking to conquer its heights.

Water and Weather: Carry ample water and dress appropriately for desert conditions, preparing for minimal shade.

Stargazing: As an International Dark Sky Park, Anza-Borrego offers exceptional stargazing opportunities, thanks to minimal light pollution.

Best Time to Hike: Late fall to early spring is ideal for this trail, as summer temperatures can be extreme.

Camping: Backcountry camping is permitted in the park. Stay limits and regulations can be found on the Anza-Borrego State Park Backcountry Camping website.

For more details on the trail and park, visit the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park website.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Solitude. Scenic Vistas. Peak bagging.


No Shade. No Water.

Trailhead Elevation

3,457.00 ft (1,053.69 m)

Highest point

4,533.00 ft (1,381.66 m)


Backcountry camping
Geologically significant
Big vistas

Typically multi-day


Permit required



Nearby Lodging + Camping


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