Painted Canyon – An Amazing Hike Near Mecca CA

Near Palm Springs and the Salton Sea is a little hiking gym that will make your day.  The Painted Canyon hike will take you through amazing slot canyons, ladder climbs, and amazing vistas of the surrounding area!

How To Get To Painted Canyon

Painted Canyon is about 3 hours northeast of San Diego and 2.5 to 4 hours east of Los Angeles.  Visitors from San Francisco should take I-5 down to the San Fernando Valley before turning east and taking the 210 and 10 through Pasadena and San Bernardino County.  Those coming from Los Angeles should begin taking the 10 from San Bernardino County all the way to Painted Canyon.  Visitors from San Diego can take routes 67,78, 79, and a few other back roads to reach the destination.  Unlike when driving from Los Angeles, the drive from San Diego happens through much smaller back roads.

What To Bring

Like most hikes in Southern California, sunscreen and a daypack and bladder are a must.  Keeping hydrated and protected from the sun’s rays will make the hike a much more enjoyable event.


Hiking is the thing to do at Painted Canyon.  The beautiful red rocks, slot canyons, and panoramic views makes this a prime location for weekend day hikes.  Ladders are strategically placed throughout the hikes to help hikers climb up especially difficult terrain.

Painted Canyon Ladder



Lake large swaths of inland California, Painted Canyon has a hot and dry climate year round.  In the winters temperatures range from high teens to low 40s, while in the summer temperatures range from the mid 50s to high 110s.  Precipitation and humidity are low near round.

What to Visit on the Way

Visitors from Los Angeles will be able to visit the California Citrus State Historic Park in Riverside County.  This is a beautiful open air museum that explores the history of the Citrus Industry in California.  Definitely worth a visit with the kids!  Further down the drive, an hour from Painted Canyon, is the Indio Hills Palms Park.  This area contains groves of native Southern California Palms.

Those coming from San Diego will have a chance to visit Cuyamaca Rancho State Park.  This park is filled with forests and grassy plains and has various hiking and biking trails.  Another place on the way is Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.  As the name suggests, this park is much more arid, but still contains beautiful hiking trails and all sorts of wildlife.

Visitors from San Francisco will have a chance to visit several parks on the way.  The Tule Elk State Natural Reserve contains a herd of protected elk and is about 4 hours south of San Francisco.  A few hours south is the Fort Tejon State Historic Park, which is an army post built in the mid 1800s, followed by the Hungry Valley State Vehicular Recreational Area, which is an awesome place to use ATVs, motorcycles, and other vehicles.

Finally, the area around Painted Canyon is worth exploring in depth.  30 minutes southeast is the Salton Sea State Recreational Area, which is a great location for all sorts of lake activities, such as fishing.  24 minutes to the west is Coachella.  If you’re a 20-something raver and its that time of the year, this might be the place to go…  Finally, about 45 minutes northwest is Palm Springs, the world famous resort town.

If you’re ever in this part of California, Painted Canyon is definitely worth the visit!

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