Fat Man's Misery was a popular spot when my parents were children. My grandpa would take my mom and her siblings down here for wild adventures that they speak fondly of to this day. Upon my research I found out that there were once actual railroad tie steps descending down the slope into the canyon, making it once a much safer place to explore.
Although I did not see any 'No Trespassing' signs, I have been told that this place is now condemned and no longer safe to explore. Where did it get it's name though?
Legend has it that a bus driver for the Torrey Pines Day Camp, affectionately known as Uncle Oscar, used to take the campers down there in the 50's and 60's. This was a wonderful place back then for children and adventurers. For those who were overweight though, like Uncle Oscar, you would quickly find yourself in a bit of trouble and could possibly get stuck. Here is where the name Fat Man's Misery comes from.
This spot would bring out so many people that it was quickly being destroyed though. The rangers asked “Are we running a Nature Reserve --or is this Disneyland South?” The rangers pushed and pushed and eventually got the State Park Commission to create the no picnicking, no off-trail, no dogs and no collecting laws. This closed the popular trail off forever.
Personal Experience: So this was fun. I found Broken Hill & Fat Man's Misery both in one day! I was not expecting to fall upon Broken Hill and boy is it beautiful. This whole area is one big adventure and you could easily spend half a day exploring and walking the trails. I am sure there are a ton of secrets that we didn't uncover. Fat Man's Misery is somewhat of an optical illusion in that it seems that even the skinniest can't fit through and yet miraculously both me and my partner fit through relatively easily. If you are pretty overweight you may have a problem. Just sayin'! They don't call it Fat Man's Misery for nothing!
Close-up of the cliff:
There are beautiful views from every angle:
After hiking and exploring we finally found it! Let's head in!
This whole excursion is one big illusion. I am 110 lbs. and wasn't sure if I would be able to fit. I did fine. My partner is around 190 and also fit fine. My point is, if you're under 220 I'd say you should be able to squeeze through.
Anza Borrego Desert
Cuyamaca State Park