Borrego Palm Canyon Trail
There are desert flowers blooming near the trailhead — the ocotillo, with its green spines and red claw-like flowers; monkeyflowers; desert lavendar — but it's still very much a desert landscape. Rocky, sparsely vegetated, sandy.
Here are two views of the remarkable ocotillo.
The trail is easy and well-marked, and climbs slowly, and you would never know from looking around you that in less than an hour, you'd be in the shade of a large and leafy grove of California fan palms, with waterfalls gurgling nearby. Of course, the park booklet and the free trail brochure at the trailhead and the map give it away.
There are no clues at the start of the trail. It's been a wet winter in much of California, so apparently the wildflowers are more prolific than in most years. The trail crosses and then follows a dry wash for most of the way up, and there are markers corresponding to the trail brochure.
Soon a creek appears, flowing in the direction we've been walking. I'm used to creeks growing as they flow downhill, but here apparently the water seeps underground as it comes out of the canyon.
We climb slowly, following the creek. More wildflowers. Even some grass growing at the water's edge. The canyon narrows. The climb steepens. The creek tumbles over boulders.
And then, around a bend, there's a shady grove of tall palms above a small waterfall and pool.
Some teenagers are drying off on a rock after taking a dip. I climb a slick rock above the pools and my foot loses its grip and slides into the water. One wet shoe. One dry.
We enjoyed the shade and gurgling stream, then returned the way we came. There's alternate route back. We skipped it.
Here's Z and I by the little waterfall at the oasis.
It took us about two and a half hours to drive to the trailhead from Laguna Beach. The trail is near Borrego Springs, near the center of the park, right by the campground, and within a mile of the Visitor Center.