I decided to make a quick stop at the Box Canyon monument and overlook along Highway S2 as I drove through Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. This has been one of many things on my list to see. I still need to head back sometime and hike down into the canyon. There's much history here. The Southern Emigrant Trail, the Mormon Battalion, and the Butterfield Overland Mail Route used this low mountain pass.
A distant fire in Mexico made for a hazy day.
View from the overlook. The Mormon route is the upper trail while the Immigrant and Overland Mail Route is down in the wash.
The historical marker is right by the highway; the overlook of the trail below is 250 feet farther east. By following the path down to the trail itself, you quickly get a feeling for the obstacle that this rocky ridge represented for early travelers.
In 1847 the Mormon Battalion cut a detour around the box canyon; traces of its efforts are visible on the canyon walls. To follow a piece of the trail itself, follow the sloping trail down to the right to a wooden post marked “U.S. Mormon Battalion Trail.” At this point, the trail coincides with the wash. The historic wash trail is marked with an occasional wooden post. Your hike parallels the highway but is wholly hidden in the small canyon to provide a feeling of seclusion and communion with the hundreds of previous users of this trail segment.