Anza Borrego Desert: Harper Canyon
||9.7 mile - 4 hour 20 minutes (Return trip). Moderate.
||880 - 2210 feet
||At HWY 78 mp 87.1 turn right (South). Warning: This is a 4x4 road, there may be some patched of deep sand. To the end the road gets rough, filled with rocks, you need more and more clearance.
A beautiful canyon hike.
At HWY 78 mile 87.1 turn south.
The road may be marked as Bute Pass Rd, next to to the dirt road there is a 4x4 recommended sign.
The road is fenced off on both sides and sandy at first.
Because of the sometimes (deep) sand an AWD is recommended and at least a higher clearance car is needed.
Drive about 1.6 mile until the road ends. Turn right on Kane Springs Road and after 300 Yards turn left on the road signed Harper Canyon.
Drive as far as you can, normally we park close to point "Park 1", sometimes a bit further, but "Park 2" is the actual parking.
Only go past point "Park 1" when you can easily make it past the rocks.
The road deteriorates further on, more and bigger rocks on the road.
When you are mid February till the end of March, you may want to hike from "Park 1" and look for the blooming Cacti.
This is after all "Cactus garden" (signed.
Plenty of Cacti and some may start to bloom as early as mid February.
Hike along the road up into Harper Canyon.
This is the place to see Ironwood in the park, a real Ironwood forest.
The canyon is sandy with rocks. About half way into the canyon, you have to pass larger boulders.
Close to the end the canyon narrows and you have to climb a couple of small falls, easy to pass.
Harper Flat is rather uneventful, flat and sandy.
You have to camp to explore it further, from this direction.
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