Summary: This is a nice short hike to some ruins from the Short family. In the 30's when the country was wracked by depression, Short took his wife and kids to the top of Ghost Mountain where they lived off the harsh and unfogiving land for 15 years. The stone masonry on the cistern is in remarkable shape, and the views are outstanding. You can only imagine how the wind and heat must have been stifling. A great piece of history.
The trail to the top is non-existant after the ruins, so pack your scrambling legs, and be awed by the view.
Trailhead: From Christmas Circle in Borrego Springs head South, stay on S3. You will need to make a right and head West on the 78. From there you will take S2 South - go past the entrance to S2 North, about 1/4 mile up the road will be S2 South. Follow it to the dirt road marked Ghost Mountain, Portreros, and Pictographs. Follow the signs on the dirt road - it is the main road in this area.
The trail is excellent to the ruins, but from there it is scrambling and off trail to the top. My GPS ran out of batteries so I had to turn it off, the last 1/4 mile to the top isn't marked. (Lat:33.00387 Lon:-116.3795)
Trail Guides for Anza Borrego SP - Ghost Mountain:
by Tom Sinestra and Ann Marie Brown (Avalon Travel)
Day Hikers Guide to Southern California
by John McKinney (Olympus Press)
Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Winter,
User Groups: Hikers,
Ranger Contact: Anza Borrego State Park (760)767-5311
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Allen Riedel, who has posted 123 other hikes on this site. To visit this reporters web site, click here.
Trail Reviews Submit your own review
Reviewed by Barb on 11/19/2009
It wasn't the "Shorts" that homesteaded the 160 acre mountain, it was the South's. Their story, although many times is not accurate, is fascinating... truly fascinating.
Reviewed by shamanjon on 4/26/2009
We went today 4.26.09 and the cactus and wildflowers were still going off. A bit of a scrambling hike up a loose, winding trail, but the views are spectacular.The remains of the house, well and cistern are there without too much trash or graffiti. Highlight was the rudimentary sundial which was remarkably accurate. I really don't know what Marshall was thinking when he moved out there. Very desolate and windy, but the silence is something we don't have alot of in SC. Really worth the trip. A 4x4 isn't needed, just some care with the ruts and washboard road. I wouldn't do it in summer
Reviewed by Amy aka F@MuS on 3/3/2008
Loved the mike up to the abandoned house, it was a good history lesson, great views forever, and challengingbut rewarding physically hike. I also hiked to the pictographs, which was a very easy but fun hike. If you pass the pictographs the small canyon narrows and closes into a small area surrounded by walls of boulder water beaten by the water fall that used to find its bottom aprox 30 ft below... the view out to the flatlands of San Diego is amazing.
Reviewed by Cai on 5/20/2007
Easy uphill hike with excellent vistas and desearted house. Learn the history of the house before you visit, it is sure to enhance your appreciation of the spot. This was part of a great day spent on the Blair Valley trails.
Reviewed by AsABat on 8/1/2005
The South family silence has been broken. The oldest son, Rider South, has written a 26-page introduction to a book titled "Marshall South and the Ghost Mountain Chronicles" and did a book signing tour. In addition, there's a 40-page foreward with more history of the homestead and a reprint of all the "Desert Magazine" articles that Marshall South wrote about while on the mountain.
Reviewed by SPC on 5/14/2004
It wasn't Short, but Marshal and Tanya South. They moved to Ghost Mountain, and ultimately had three children there. They divorced shortly after WWII, and the children and Tanya refuse to talk about the experience to this day.
Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
Keys: California Hiking, California Trails, California Hikes, San Diego County Hiking, San Diego County Trails, San Diego County Hikes