Mesquite Canyon | Wild Camping



3 months ago
86.2 masl


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Beautiful slot canyon. Well worth the effort it takes - 5.2kms down a very rocky arroyo. 4x4 and high clearance recommended.

Exit mex1 at 25.72409,-111.26460 on the east side the drive to the bridge. From the bridge, you can either drive through the concrete batch plant on the well-graded road. There is a gate here which seems to be open most of the time and the workers don't mind you driving through. Or you can drive under the bridge in the arroyo proper. There is loose sand, gravel, and large rocks here so not really suitable for 2wd low clearance.

Once past the facility, follow the arroyo on the network of roads. Take the most well-worn route as they seem to fork and rejoin. Road gets considerably rougher with loose cobbles, gravel, soft sand at 3.7kms. It would be possible to park here and walk the 2kms to the canyon. You'll also pass a barbed wire gate that you'll need to open and close.


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We came here on a Sunday and the gate at the concrete plant was open. There’s a guard but he said it’s ok to drive to the canyon. There’s another gate a little bit further in but it’s not locked. Just make sure you close it after you drove through. The road is ok and we had no issues with our 2WD Ford Transit. We parked maybe 1km before the trailhead and walked to the entrance. There’s a rope right at the beginning and some climbing but if you make it after this section you can just continue walking in the canyon. We were here in January and there was still plenty of water in the canyon so bring some sandals and clothes that can get wet.

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Beautiful canyon to visit, we were all alone here for the whole afternoon and night. We recommend to stop a bit before the marker because the rocks are terrible further on. 4x4 was absolutely not necessary to drive all the way in. A little bit of clearance may be good but unless you drive a low-rider you'll make it (we drive a regular van with stock suspension and tires and had no issues).

When walking the canyon you can walk through the canyon on the way up, you will get wet! At the end the canyon turns shallow and you can access the top of the canyon. Return by walking along the edge back to where you started. We spend about 2 hours for the entire trip.

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Just thought I'd clarify the directions. Turn off highway 1 on east side of the road. Drive south to the bridge. Drive under the bridge using either the well graded gravel road that takes you to the concrete mix facility (they don't mind you driving through) or take the very rocky and loose track that goes up the arroyo proper to bypass the facility. Once past the facility, they're a bunch of roads that lead up the arroyo. They're kind of braided and fork then rejoin for the most part. Probably best to just take the most well worn track as it may change every time it floods. You'll pass one barb wire gate that you'll need to open and close. is helpful.

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On Sundays, there is a locked chain at the beginning of the road one would normally take into the canyon. We were allowed to enter through the construction entrance, but they lock that gate at 4pm.

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Mostly inaccessible slot canyon with excellent hike along rim.
Additional info: to access the gravel pit/ arroyo one must drive under the highway bridge. We had plenty of clearance in our 12’ / 3.65m high truck camper. Not sure if the gravel pit has grown since previous reviews but it makes up a large part of this drive. The route is not always clear and we had to use 4wd to get back on track once. Once in the arroyo proper some rock spotting was required, we camped past the original location. Silent, slightly spooky night. Only wildlife we saw or heard was a Xantus’s hummingbird at mouth of slot. Definitely worth the visit.

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Some added directions. When you drive in, you will go around a dug out gravel pit. After that you will come to a fork, stay right. After that, you will come to a gate across the road. I would park there and walk in since the gate is in place.

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Beautiful Canyon, thanks guys! A lot of Hummingbirds around here. So bring your camera. The trail is easy as mentioned. When you're in front of the canyon the trail starts on the left side where the trees are. Then follow the trail and pass the little gate. After a while cross the big washed out rock and stay on the trail until you reach the oasis. here starts the trail through the canyon. Don't miss this place!!!!

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Beautiful slot canyon. Well worth the effort it takes - 5.2kms down a very rocky arroyo. 4x4 and high clearance highly recommended (at 3.7kms is the first high clearance place you get to - it would be possible to park here and walk the 2kms to the canyon exit if your vehicle is 2wd or low clearance).

Exit mex1 at 25.72409,111.26460 on the east side then under the bridge towards the spectacular Sierra de la Giganta. Travel 5.2 kms - you can’t drive any further (we camped here for two wonderfully peaceful moonlit nights - lots of firewood). Walk about 1/2km to exit of canyon We had fun in there but decided not to scale the walls to hike through the canyon. Water very cold at this time of year. As you enter the canyon look to the left and you will see a trail - it’s approx an hour easy hike to the entrance to the canyon. Part of the walk is alongside the canyon so you can look down into it. Few wild burros and horses use the trail. This end of the canyon is stunning! Walk in as far as you want to then walk back along the trail.

We just used water shoes for the hike and canyon walk.

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