Anza-Borrego Desert: Harper Dams

Rating *****
Length 7.2 mile (return) - 3 Hour (return trip). Easy/Moderate.
Elevation 2250 - 3450 feet
Access A higher clearance is needed, a 4x4 normally not, but at the end of 2014 I just made it with my 4x4, a lot of soft sand. At Hwy 78, mile 81, take the signed exit Pinyon Canyon. Keep east (left) at every fork.

At the parking, hike up the Pinyon wash, where there are two short parts with boulders.
Just following the footsteps will get you past them real quick and without too much effort.

When you reach Harper Flat, keep right (West) in the sandy wash.
Keep going South, head for the opening just ahead, still far away.

At the fence, find the hiker gate and turn (South/West) right along the road (Pinyon Mountain Rd).
The road turns left, out of the wash, we stay in it.

The canyon is rocky with some dry falls and capstones.
Two dams where build by the Harpers, but they filled up with sand real quick.

The first one is the most difficult to get on, try the rocks on the left side.

The barb wire up seems to be an antenna, at least that's what it looks like.

Close to the road a larger fall, but the angle is just right for hiking, a bit slippery, but with enough handholds.

At the road, turn left (South), did I say road, will take something more serious than our SUV.
The Pinyon Drop-Off/Heart Attack Hill, is scary, too steep and slippery to hike down, but the wash on the left is a lot better on foot.

Next take a small canyon to the left (South), it has some dry falls and ends below the first dam.
That's where the shack is, easy to miss on the way up.

Hike back towards the car.

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), Jacumba, Laguna Mountain, Warner Springs) California, Hike with gps, gpx and kml (Google Earth).

© 2013-2024