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Hellhole Canyon Trail to Maidenhair Falls

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

Western Sonoran + Colorado Desert, California

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Hellhole Canyon Trail to Maidenhair Falls

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  • The Hellhole Canyon Trail in an average year.- Hellhole Canyon Trail to Maidenhair Falls
  • The Hellhole Canyon Trail in an average year.- Hellhole Canyon Trail to Maidenhair Falls
  • The Hellhole Canyon Trail in a super bloom year.- Hellhole Canyon Trail to Maidenhair Falls
  • Brittlebush and laxflowers, with blooming ocotillo in the background.- Hellhole Canyon Trail to Maidenhair Falls
  • Flowering barrel cactus along the Hellhole Canyon Trail.- Hellhole Canyon Trail to Maidenhair Falls
  • Beavertail cactus along the Hellhole Canyon Trail.- Hellhole Canyon Trail to Maidenhair Falls
  • Ocotillo cactus along the Hellhole Canyon Trail.- Hellhole Canyon Trail to Maidenhair Falls
  • Some parts of the Hellhole Canyon Trail are easy to follow.- Hellhole Canyon Trail to Maidenhair Falls
  • Sand verbena during a super bloom in Hellhole Canyon.- Hellhole Canyon Trail to Maidenhair Falls
  • Wild heliotrope during a super bloom in Hellhole Canyon.- Hellhole Canyon Trail to Maidenhair Falls
  • Blooming barrel cactus during a super bloom in Hellhole Canyon.- Hellhole Canyon Trail to Maidenhair Falls
  • View to the northeast from the Hellhole Canyon Trail.- Hellhole Canyon Trail to Maidenhair Falls
  • Blooming brittlebush during a super bloom in Hellhole Canyon.- Hellhole Canyon Trail to Maidenhair Falls
  • Desert rock pea flowers during a super bloom in Hellhole Canyon.- Hellhole Canyon Trail to Maidenhair Falls
  • Desert dandelions during a super bloom in Hellhole Canyon.- Hellhole Canyon Trail to Maidenhair Falls
  • Looking down Hellhole Canyon.- Hellhole Canyon Trail to Maidenhair Falls
  • The trail scrambles over some large boulders.- Hellhole Canyon Trail to Maidenhair Falls
  • The large fan palm grove before Maidenhair Falls.- Hellhole Canyon Trail to Maidenhair Falls
  • California fan palm along the Hellhole Canyon Trail.- Hellhole Canyon Trail to Maidenhair Falls
  • Maidenhair Falls.- Hellhole Canyon Trail to Maidenhair Falls
  • Maidenhair Falls.- Hellhole Canyon Trail to Maidenhair Falls
  • View to the east from Hellhole Canyon.- Hellhole Canyon Trail to Maidenhair Falls
  • Native American grinding stone near the trail.- Hellhole Canyon Trail to Maidenhair Falls
  • A wide variety of flowers appear during a super bloom.- Hellhole Canyon Trail to Maidenhair Falls
  • Desert chicory during a super bloom in Hellhole Canyon.- Hellhole Canyon Trail to Maidenhair Falls
  • Chuparosa during a super bloom in Hellhole Canyon.- Hellhole Canyon Trail to Maidenhair Falls
  • Chuparosa during a super bloom in Hellhole Canyon.- Hellhole Canyon Trail to Maidenhair Falls
  • Orion at night from a campsite in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.- Hellhole Canyon Trail to Maidenhair Falls
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Wildflowers. Waterfall. Rare wild fan palms.
Cons: 
Can be hot. Big crowds if it is a good year for wildflowers.
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Region:
Western Sonoran + Colorado Desert, CA
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
No
Net Elevation Gain: 
1,000.00 ft (304.80 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring
Total Distance: 
5.10 mi (8.21 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
880.00 ft (268.22 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Contributor

It is always somewhat miraculous to find water in the desert, and even more so to find a crisp clear creek with several waterfalls. This is a moderate 5.1-mile out-and-back hike in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park that leads up a canyon to a series of waterfalls. With about 1,000 feet of elevation gain over 2.5 miles, the trail rises gently from the floor of the desert up the canyon to the falls, where there is a distinct change in flora and fauna. The trail starts with ocotillo, yucca, and creosote bushes and leads up to groves of rare wild California fan palms, sycamore trees, and even ferns by the waterfall. The trail splits and rejoins multiple times toward the end, but all forks lead to the same destination. Some rock scrambling is required. Mammals can be a rare sight here, but big horn sheep and coyotes are sometimes spotted; scorpions and western fence lizards are more common. A small 5-foot waterfall sits about half a mile past Maidenhair Falls, and it has a pool that is large enough for wading if you have the time and energy to go a bit further.

Camping is allowed anywhere in the park that is that at least 100 feet from a water source and at least 20 feet from a trail or road. Fires must be contained in a metal container, and dogs are not allowed on trails.

Crowds can vary from nonexistent in most years to more robust levels when super blooms are in effect. Crowds are the rare exception here, and usually there is no shortage of solitude in this park.

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Nearby Camping + Lodging

(3 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(18 within a 30 mile radius)

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