How long does it take to hike from the Mojave Desert to the Sonoran Desert? This sounds worse than it is, it all began with a trip from Yucca Valley to Palm Springs, my wife and I always sightsee along the road looking down on the Old Highway 62 on our way down New State Highway 62 going to the Coachella Valley. One Day she said that she would like to hike down this pass known as the Morongo Grade on foot to the east of the current road and hike the remnants of the old road. Today we did it, our group did the 2.5 mile journey in 1.5 hours, the route has an elevation gain/drop of approx. 1000 feet and is pretty easy going down hill. Click on the map below to see the route:
Highway 62 has traversed this mountain pass for over 100 years, it continues all the way to the town of Earp on the Colorado River but we will be focusing on the portion of the road that thrusts you upward into the Mojave Desert thanks to the San Andreas Fault. This road was originally a dirt wagon road that was paved and made into a two lane road in the 1930’s. In the early 1960’s this road was widened through the pass and what was left of the old road was abandoned in the wash that runs on the east side of the current State Highway 62.
On this warm Winter day in February, Spring was just around the corner, some flowers were already beginning to bloom. The vegetation change was also interesting to see as we decended into the Sonoran Desert, a few plants from the higher elevation struggled to survive into the warmer and drier Sonoran Desert. Unfortunately there was more trash strewn about than I would like to see, some of the trash was old and thus ended up being very interesting, old can’s with the old pre-1970’s pull top’s were seen a few times along the way.
At the end of our journey we crossed the San Andreas Fault on foot to get to our car, the same fault that is responsible for this change in elevation. The following pictures record the journey, I hope you enjoy the journey as much as I did and feel the history of this lonely road that was known as the gateway to the Hi-Desert, Old State Highway 62.
Take It Easy – Mojave