Indianhead Peak: Southeast Ridge

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

Western Sonoran + Colorado Desert, California

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Indianhead Peak: Southeast Ridge


  • Barrel cacti blooming with Indianhead Peak towering in the background.- Indianhead Peak: Southeast Ridge
  • Two large, rust colored boulders mark the beginning of your ascent up the ridge.- Indianhead Peak: Southeast Ridge
  • Just one of the many Class 3 and Class 4 sections.- Indianhead Peak: Southeast Ridge
  • The ridge comes alive with wildflowers in March!- Indianhead Peak: Southeast Ridge
  • Beavertail cactus brighten the steep climb.- Indianhead Peak: Southeast Ridge
  • The ridge gets steeper as you ascend. Pay careful attention to routefinding!- Indianhead Peak: Southeast Ridge
  • The views are nothing short of breathtaking. All of Borrego Springs lies below you.- Indianhead Peak: Southeast Ridge
  • Incredible views from the summit of Indianhead Peak.- Indianhead Peak: Southeast Ridge
  • Downclimb the less steep west ridge of the mountain for a quicker exit.- Indianhead Peak: Southeast Ridge
  • Palm trees abound in this hidden desert oasis.- Indianhead Peak: Southeast Ridge
  • Cool off in a swimming hole after your journey.- Indianhead Peak: Southeast Ridge
Overview + Weather
Stunning vistas. Ample rock scrambling. Wildflowers. Easy parking.
No trail. Difficult route finding. Steep exposure. Hot.
Western Sonoran + Colorado Desert, CA
Pets allowed: 
Recommended Equipment:
Harness / rope / anchors, Helmets
Alpine climbing NCCS rating: 
Grade III
Net Elevation Gain: 
3,160.00 ft (963.17 m)
Parking Pass: 
General Day Use Fee
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Fall
Total Distance: 
8.50 mi (13.68 km)
Trailhead Elevation: 
800.00 ft (243.84 m)
Current Local Weather:
Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Sponsored Contributor

The southeast ridge of Indianhead Peak in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is a beast of a climb – even for more experienced hikers and mountaineers. It sets itself apart from the west ridge, the standard route, by offering over 3,000 feet of Class 3 and Class 4 rock scrambling, complete with a minor 5.2 push near the summit block. The route is made all the more interesting by the complete lack of a trail once you march out of Borrego Palm Canyon.

Cactus-dodging is a near constant on this trail, which makes for slow going but also affords you ample opportunities to marvel at the super bloom if you attempt this ridge in March or April following a wet winter. Hedgehog cactus, brittlebush, barrel cactus, buckthorn cholla, and ocotillo all fire up the area with powerful splashes of color. The hills really come alive with a myriad of bright blooms that can be seen for the entirety of the climb.

Due to the sharp steepening of the rocks at the tail end of the ascent, helmets, an ATC, and a length of climbing rope are recommended toward the top, as the rock slabs do offer a fair bit of nerve-shaking exposure just before the peak.

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Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide

Field Guide

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Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(3 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(18 within a 30 mile radius)

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Adventure Community

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