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Borrego Palm Canyon

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

Western Sonoran + Colorado Desert, California

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Borrego Palm Canyon

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  • Sunset view on along the ridgeline of an alternate trail in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.- Borrego Palm Canyon
  • A look back at the Palm Canyon Trail while ascending the alternate trail for the full loop.- Borrego Palm Canyon
  • Beautiful barrel cacti blooming at the entrance to Palm Canyon, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.- Borrego Palm Canyon
  • You'll begin to see the hidden oasis around marker 12.- Borrego Palm Canyon
  • Fun rock scrambling just off of the Palm Canyon Trail in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.- Borrego Palm Canyon
  • There are plentiful swimming holes to cool off in!- Borrego Palm Canyon
  • There is an option to take the main trail or the alternate trail to complete the loop.- Borrego Palm Canyon
  • The oasis is a vital watering area for bighorn sheep.- Borrego Palm Canyon
  • - Borrego Palm Canyon
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Wildflowers, swimming holes, chance to see bighorn sheep, easy parking/restrooms
Cons: 
Crowds, heat, stream crossings
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Region:
Western Sonoran + Colorado Desert, CA
Congestion: 
High
Pets allowed: 
No
Net Elevation Gain: 
404.00 ft (123.14 m)
Parking Pass: 
General Day Use Fee
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Fall
Total Distance: 
3.00 mi (4.83 km)
Trail type: 
Loop
Trailhead Elevation: 
834.00 ft (254.20 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

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Deep in the rocky desert of Anza Borrego, bordered by massive, rust-colored peaks, lays a hidden oasis full of palm trees, swimming holes, and wildflowers. The hike up Palm Canyon is one of the premiere hikes in Anza-Borrego State Park and is a great option for families or groups looking for a more relaxed stroll in the middle of stunning California scenery.

With water, parking, and restrooms right at the trailhead, it’s easy to see why this is one of the most popular trails in the area. Look closely, and you might even see a bighorn sheep! The watering holes along the stream are a vital part of this desert ecosystem, and wildlife sightings are common along the mountain ridges. If you are lucky enough to arrive in March and April when a super bloom is on, the trail absolutely pops with flourishes of color as you traverse through brittlebush, blooming barrel cactus, agave, octillo, cholla cactus, and more.

An easy 1.5-mile hike up the canyon takes you past Indianhead Peak, which towers above the trail as you ascend toward a large circle of palm trees. This is an excellent spot to stop for lunch or a snack before hiking back out. On the way down, why not take the alternate trail up the southwest ridge and marvel as the sun streaks though the mountaintops while you meander back to your vehicle?

There are no fees required to enter Anza Borrego, but a $10 day use fee does apply to park near the trailhead. Park a bit farther away and down the road if you wish to save a few bucks and add some mileage to your trek!

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Field Guide

Field Guide

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(3 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(17 within a 30 mile radius)

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