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Borrego Palm Canyon Nature Trail

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Native California Fan Palm trees and Oasis, Fault Geology, Desert Bighorn Sheep
Near:Borrego Springs, CA
Distance:3 miles round trip
Elevation Gain:800 ft
Hike Time:2 hours
Trail Condition:OK, but a few difficult spots
HikeType:Out and Back

Summary: A hike along the Borrego Palm Canyon Trail will reveal many features which render it the most traveled trail within the magnificent Anza-Borrego State Desert Park. Beavertail and catclaw cactus, desert willow, brittlebush, rock formations, ocotillo, chuparosa, hummingbirds, and sometimes even bighorn sheep greet one as he or she ascends the the trail's generally upward slope and eventually crosses into a delightfully shady desert oasis complete with California fan palms and a waterfall. A printed brochure describing the flora and fauna at the numbered signposts is usually available at the trailhead. Be sure to carry plenty of water-there is little shade until one arrives at the oasis (after about 1.25 mi.). To travel to the end of the oasis requires a bit of rock scrambling, and lugsoles should be worn as there are slippery and rocky surfaces throughout the entire trail. Crowds are least evident in the fall (before Thanksgiving) and in the spring after Easter.
Trailhead: From the city of Julian, travel east on Highway 78 for approximately nineteen miles until reaching Highway S3 (Yaqui Pass Road). Continue for twelve miles to the city of Borrego Springs. Turn left (north) on Highway S22 (Palm Canyon Drive) and travel one mile-look for the signed junction just prior to reaching the Anza-Borrego State Desert Park Visitor Center. Turn right at the sign and continue for about one mile to the Borrego Palm Canyon Campground (signed). A separate parking area for the Borrego Palm Canyon Trail and a kiosk where water and information are available on a seasonal basis are located at the west end of the campground. (Lat:33.27021 Lon:-116.41777)
Trail Guides for Borrego Palm Canyon Nature Trail:
Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Winter,
User Groups: Hikers,
Ranger Contact: Anza-Borrego State Desert Park-(760) 767-5311. Visitor Center-(760) 767-4205
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Patricia Barnes, who has posted  23 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews  Page 2 of 2   Submit your own review
Reviewed by Nicky G. on 7/4/2007
It is a cool little hike. I went on 6/22/07. It was 2Pm and 110 degrees. The spring had minimal water and at least 20 big-horn sheep here near the palms as it was the only water in sight.The palms are an awesome sight, A friend and I hiked it quickly and it took somewhat of a toll on us and we are both in decent shape when it comes to hiking.

Reviewed by AJ on 3/18/2007
Hiked today 3/17/07. Very intersting. A nudist group hikes here once a month and we had the luck of catching up with them. The woman were young and in very good shape so my attention was not on the surrounding landscape. DO NOT hike with your girlfriend as the nudist females were single and friendly.

Reviewed by Dave on 10/26/2006
I concur with JC's review.I did this hike on 9/23/06, after doing Garnet Peak earlier in the day. Was visiting San Diego from Upstate New York. Great cool breezy weather. Unfortunately I had some trouble finding the trailhaed and didn't start until the sun was setting over the mountains. Brought headlamps though! In the failing light, the trail was very hard to follow. Went only about 30 minutes in before turning back. Great stars and coyote calls! Caught only a glimpse of the oasis. Next time, an earlier start!

Reviewed by JC on 9/24/2006
Hiked today, 24 Sept. 06. Was the only person on the trail and at the palm canyon, which surprised me, as the weather was only in the high 80's today. Haven't been on the hike in a while, and it's clear that flash flooding has done some damage. At certain points, it is impossible to tell where the trail continues, so you have to improvise a little, or a lot I guess. Watch out for overgrown mesquite. No wildlife seen today.

Reviewed by Tani on 6/16/2006
WE did this trail on May 20. It was crazy hot, and the stream was just a trickle, no more than three inches deep in most places. Carry the gallon of water they recommend, and have a pool nearby for afterwards - otherwise, you are going to be miserable.

Reviewed by Willa on 1/13/2006
We took this hike on 1/1/06. River was running quite good and the Big Horn Sheep were milling about. You can tell where previous flooding 03 and 04 have taken out palms, as the do litter the hike somewhat... however higher up this also aided in giving us places to rest. :) The views on the way up of both the valley were amazing and we saw quite a bit pf wildlife.

Reviewed by WM on 10/20/2003
Oct 03 Update note. A recent flash flood has taken out some of the trail. Old palm trunks used for a fence in the oasis have been leveled as well as the small bridge over the stream near the gauging station. Trail has been re-marked, although some sections require a bit more boulder scrambling. This season (Oct 03) is very hot -- temperature was 104 F in area on day we last took trail. There was water in the stream, but very murky from the mountain runoff. Take LOTS of water and a good quality filter pump if you want to refill from the stream. Be prepared for the heat if you hike in mid-day, or plan to stay in the cool of the oasis until the heat drops at the end of the day (4 pm or later). We hiked 9-11 am, and found it 90+ starting.

Reviewed by WM on 8/20/2003
This can be a hot & sunny hike even in the fall -- we found temperatures of mid 80's (in the shade) in late October. Take plenty of water. There's an alternative trail about 100-200 meters south of the usual trail that contours along the hillside instead of following the flatter bottom trail -- it comes in just before the gauging station. All in all a very nice trail, and the appearance of a wall of palms coming into view around a bend in the canyon, and the palm oasis there is quite spectacular.

Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
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