Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
404.00 ft (123.14 m)
Trail type
3.00 mi (4.83 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

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!

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

General Day Use Fee


Wildflowers, swimming holes, chance to see bighorn sheep, easy parking/restrooms


Crowds, heat, stream crossings

Trailhead Elevation

834.00 ft (254.20 m)


Backcountry camping
Big Game Watching
Big Game Watching


Nearby Lodging + Camping


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