Borrego Palm Canyon Trail

Borrego Palm Canyon Trail

Nearest Metro Area: Borrego Springs
California
UNITED STATES
Trail Map

anza-borrego, wildflowers, palm

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.

c38f7cbd-1b4b-47eb-9bf1-2a23a00125b7 - Sierra Club Trails

c38f7cbd-1b4b-47eb-9bf1-2a23a00125b7 - Sierra Club Trails

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.

c38f7cbd-1b4b-47eb-9bf1-2a23a00125b7 - Sierra Club Trails

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.

c38f7cbd-1b4b-47eb-9bf1-2a23a00125b7 - Sierra Club Trails

And then, around a bend, there's a shady grove of tall palms above a small waterfall and pool.

c38f7cbd-1b4b-47eb-9bf1-2a23a00125b7 - Sierra Club Trails

c38f7cbd-1b4b-47eb-9bf1-2a23a00125b7 - Sierra Club Trails

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.

c38f7cbd-1b4b-47eb-9bf1-2a23a00125b7 - Sierra Club Trails

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.
Created: Saturday, 01 May 2010 21:48
Original Creator: John Byrne Barry
John Byrne Barry

Find a Trail
Trail At-A-Glance
Distance: 3 miles

Click on any icons or links below to find similar trails.

Features:


Difficulty:
Easy

Latest Blog Postings
5.13.14
Don’t miss out on these six ideal places for beholding blossoms....
4.8.14
Here are three of Darren Bush's favorite canoe journeys.....
4.4.14
Have an action-packed vacation by visiting these action film locations....
Sierra Club Outings
Join a Sierra Club Outing in one of 22 countries. Visit an isolated eco-retreat in Costa Rica, take in Turkey's magnificent Mediterranean coast, or check out our other international trips. You'll find a full list of outings with space available here. Join us!