Anza-Borrego Desert: Indian head - Chief rain in the face
||9.9 mile - 8 hour (round trip). Moderate/Hard.
||870 - 3974 feet
||All cars at the Palm Canyon trailhead (Campground), See below.
A scenic hike up Chief rain in the face (Indian head).
Start at the Palm Canyon signed trail head and follow the trail up to the palm oasis.
Just above the oasis on the east the trail ends.
There are many ways to hike further into Palm canyon, the gps file is one of them.
Stay east of the oasis at the start, one obstacle is where the canyon narrows, going east over the slick rock is an option, but going left (west) over a boulder is easier, safer and quicker.
Generally there is water flowing in Palm canyon and more after rain. Water will make it a bit harder to find a route while keeping your feet dry, sometime this is impossible.
After about 2 hours reaching point "Go Up", start hiking up to the ridge to the north. This is the only loose rock part of the hike.
Or go a little bit further avoiding the loose rock and hike up at the end of the ridge.
Once on the ridge stay close to it, even if it's temping to leave it.
At point "Saddle" two ridges merge, just keep on going up.
About 400 feet further, go around the small peak on the ridge, keep right and watch out for the sudden steep drop on the east side.
The steep drop is only an issue when you go too far to the east, so stay safely on the west side.
Still going along the ridge, a bunch of huge boulders. There is a passage in between the huge boulders, take some time to find it.
Don't follow the temptation to go too far down, the route always stays within 200 feet of the ridge.
The last stretch up to the "peak" is almost level and easy.
Going down follows the same route, at the "saddle" take the left ridge.
Keep on going along the ridge as long as possible, going down on the left is an option, it's shorter but slippery.
How long it takes (without resting):
2 hours up the Palm canon up to the ridge.
2 hours up to the Indian head peak.
Fountain grass, Pennisetum setaceum makes the first and last 2 hours of the hike more troublesome. The good thing it makes a good visible hiking trail in parts of the canyon, the bad it hides rocks, holes and water.
Expect 8-10 hours of hiking, not counting any rest.
Bring in enough water for this long hike.
It's not wise to go up when it's warmer than 80 degrees.
Pack an extra pair of socks and or shoes, they may get wet.
How to get here:
Follow the sign (Palm Canyon) Campground, pay the parking fee and follow the trail sign.
Day use fee $10 (2019).
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