Anza-Borrego Desert: Beyond the Palm Canyon Oasis

Rating *****
length 8.1 Mile, 5 hour (Return trip). Moderate/Hard.
Elevation 770 - 1800 feet
Access Start at the visitor center. Or start at the campground, trail head parking (closer).

A beautiful hike beyond the palm oasis.

At the Visitor center start hiking on the nature trail to the left.
Also called the campground trail. This adds an extra 50 minutes (return) to the hike.
Closer to the campground, hike left (west) the trail is well marked and hard to miss.

Past the official trail head parking, continue on the Palm Canyon trail

Closer to the oasis, keep right and don't go to the actual oasis on the left.
This approach is a lot easier than going in the oasis itself.

The first part is probably the most difficult part of the entire hike.
A lot of large boulders, the most difficult part is finding the easy route.
Do not end up high on the canyon wall, try to keep closer to the stream.
Follow the GPS and the hike should be fairly easy, but be aware that the GPS may at times be off by at least 100 yards, so use your own conmen sense and don't follow it blindly.

At point "narrow" the canyon narrows so much, you have to go right or left out of the canyon.
Right seems easy, but with your hiking boots wet, it's very very slippery, I slipped back down, this is why we decided to opt for the left approach.
This is safer and easy, you may even be able to climb the narrow boulder passage.
If not, go up a bit more. Down is easy.

You see why this is called Palm Canyon, the canyon is filled with clusters of palm trees, all the way up.
We made it to a fork where you see palms in the right fork.

Going into the left fork (more or less straight on) there is another clusters 400 yard beyond the fork. (5 hours return if you start at the trail head parking)
Just before Palms 3 keep left in the canyon, this is the easiest way to get past the dense vegetation at Palms 3.

Warning: This is NOT suited for casual hikers. Bring in enough water and start out early.
At 8 am, on a weekday, we were not the first hikers to start at the trail head.
But few hikers go beyond the oasis.

Make sure:
To think before you start climbing, most of the time there is an easier way.
Put on some sturdy, waterproof shoes, there is always water running.

How to get here:

Start at the visitor center. (Used to be Free, but in the weekends, the fee is the same as at the Palm Canyon trailhead).
Start at the campground, Palm Canyon trail head parking (day use fee, $6 - 2012, $10 - 2017).
For the campground, follow the sign campground (turn right, before you reach the visitor centre parking. Next pay the parking fee and follow the trail sign.)

Disclaimer: Read this first before you start your hike. Contact: info/at/borregohiking/./com (leave out the /)
Hiking the Borrego Springs Area (Anza-Borrego Desert State Park) California, Hike with gps, gpx and kml (Google Earth).

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