Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
580.00 ft (176.78 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
2.60 mi (4.18 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.

The Pictograph Trail is a little-known gem within the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. The Kumeyaay Native American tribe, which lived in this region over 100 years ago, painted the impressive designs. Although the meaning of the pictographs is still unclear, they have been identified as part of the Southern California Rectilinear Abstract style that is characterized by diamond chains and zigzag lines. It is thought that the paint was created using a mixture of powdered minerals and a binder such as sap or animal fat. 

To reach the pictographs, follow the sandy wash in Smuggler Canyon for approximately 1 mile. The pictographs are located on a large boulder just to the right of the trail. Afterward, be sure to continue up the wash to the lip of a dry waterfall for an incredible view of the Carrizo Valley and the surrounding mountains.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Pictographs. Beautiful views. Solitude.

Cons

Extreme summer heat.

Trailhead Elevation

3,020.00 ft (920.50 m)

Highest point

3,330.00 ft (1,014.98 m)

Features

Family friendly
Historically significant
Big vistas
Native artifacts

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

No

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Lodging + Camping

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