Anza Borrego

The Rockhouse Cabin In Carrizo Gorge


At the time it was constructed, the rock house cabin in Rockhouse Canyon probably didn’t raise too many eyebrows. It really wasn’t anything out of the ordinary for the time. Sure the cabin had a fireplace/stove setup along with a gravity water system that fed into a large dry concrete tank, but similar cabins were scattered all over the Sonoran and Mojave deserts.

Miners and cattlemen of the time built these structures in order to bring a few comforts of home to their extremely demanding environment. Historians believe this particular cabin, was built by the McCain family to manage their cattle operation in the early 1940s.

Fast forward 80 years and the rock house cabin is now a remarkable piece of history. Hikers seek out the cabin to marvel at the ingenuity in its’ construction and to get a glimpse into history. Perhaps its’ remote location has kept it somewhat intact, but at some point it will unfortunately be reclaimed by the desert.

The Hike

I had visited the Rockhouse Canyon cabin a handful of times over the last 15 years and decided to take a quick day hike to see how it was holding up. The hike from Carrizo Gorge is three miles up the canyon which seems longer since you are hiking uphill through soft sand. The cactus blooms were beginning to awake from their slumber which made the hike that much more more enjoyable.

When I arrived at the rock house I was glad to see it was intact for the most part. The door had since been removed and was sitting inside the cabin while the old rusty bed springs were no longer there. After exploring the area a bit and I sat down to admire the iconic desert view through the glassless cabin window.

I contemplated hiking into the next canyon to the north but would leave that to another day. After all, the cactus blooms were just getting started so another trip was already on my mind.

Stay Tuned,

Bob 😀🌵

Read more about the early pioneers of Anza Borrego