Anza-Borrego Desert: Collins valley - Box Canyon Dry lake
||5.9 mile - 4 hour 5 minutes (Return trip). Moderate.
||1160 - 2400 feet
||You need a higher clearance car and sometimes a 4x4 to get to the gate / trailhead. There is a small parking just before the gate and some more just before third crossing.
A hike up to a small dry lake / playa on top of a hill between Box canyon and Collins valley.
This hike is for adventurous hikers, as you will encounter steep terrain and some boulders.
Keep right (North) in the canyon hiking along lowers willows, depending on recent flooding, there may be a trail.
Head right (North) up the sandy Box canyon wash and follow it up to a fork, where the main canyon heads right, keep left (North/West) in a smaller fork.
Some small boulders and scrubs, it's possible to hike up the left wall (South) at any point, but it's still steep, wait a bit longer and don't follow our trail as the slope will get less steep.
The point we went up was still sightly slippery, head for the tiny dry lake, what some may call a playa.
All of a sudden you will see the dry lake, that has a drainage on the left (East), but will only drain, when it's filled with a couple of meters of water.
The way back is by the main drainage, not too bad at all, it's rather steep with boulders, but luckily not slippery or dangerous. The only obstacles, two dry falls, that are easy to bypass.
You will end up just above lower willows, turn left (East) and head back to the car following the lower Willows trail.
In recent years (2019) the Lower Willows trail, the return route on this hike is poorly maintained if at all.
2020 the Lower Willows trail was almost impossible to find and navigate.
Where to park:
Just before the summer closure gate, or drive up to third crossing and park just before the crossing. The road up to third crossing varies from very good to very bad.
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