Anza-Borrego Desert: Pinyon Canyon Loop

Rating *****
length 5.2 mile (the loop) - 3 hour, 10 minutes (the loop). Moderate (some boulders)
Elevation 1840 - 2900 feet
Access At Hwy 78, mile 81, take the signed exit Pinyon Canyon. AWD recommended

A nice loop in the pinyon canyon forks.

Hike up the small canyon south.
Keep left in every fork.
The wash is sandy at first, but is filled with some small boulders further on.
As the canyon levels of and the wash is very faint, the canyon seems to widen and it looks like a T junction.
But it is actually a bend to the right.
keep on going until you see a lot of large boulders in front of you.
At this point, the hill to the left should be almost gone.
Hike cross country, to the left over the small hill (east).
You could call this a saddle.

On the other side it's almost flat.
Keep on going down, a bit to the right (south/east).
In front of you is a deeper canyon, that is easy to hike in further on to the right (south).
In the canyon wash, head left (north).
Some larger boulders that are easy to hike down on the right. (a bit out of the wash).

Looking back at the huge boulders, it's hard to imagine that the hike down was that easy.
As the fork meets the main pinyon canyon wash below, the wash is filled again, with huge boulders.
Keep right, for a relatively easy descend. Coming down has the advantage that you can slide down the boulders.

Right is Harpers Flats (really close by), left is the car.
So keep left (north).

Just before the road ends (park 2) another boulder group, that is also easy from this direction.

This is also the end of the road.
Hike back to the car, following the road and the wash.

Warning: This is a hike with a couple of boulder passages. Think before you hike, try to go around them.

How to get here:

At Hwy 78, mile 81, take the signed exit Pinyon Canyon.
This a good dirt road, should be possible to drive by a higher clearance car, most of the time.
At the fork, after 1.7 mile, keep left as the Nolina (signed) road turns right.
Keep on going and at mile 3.8, from Hwy 78, park at the canyon entrance to the right.

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 SP, Cuyamaca Rancho SP, Imperial Sand Dunes (Algodones Dunes), Laguna Mountain, Warner Springs) California, Hike with gps, gpx and kml (Google Earth).

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