Anza-Borrego Desert: Pinyon Harper Nolina loop
||7 Mile - 4 hour 15 minutes (Loop), Moderate (boulders).
||2250 - 3520 feet
||4x4 preferred, see below.
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.
At "Fork 2" take the right fork, up some small boulders, if you came this far, the rest is easier.
At "Saddle 1" go down again until the next fork "Fork 3" now hike up more steeply to "Saddle 2".
Now the route is easy to follow, some boulders and nice stretches of sand.
One more drop, easy to bypass on the right.
One of the tricky parts is where this fork meets the main Pinyon wash. A couple of huge boulders, take your time finding the best route.
This is a dangerous part of the hike, when you make the wrong choice. So again be careful there is always an easy route around a boulder.
How to get here:
At Hwy 78, mile 81, take the signed exit Pinyon Canyon. Keep east (left) at every fork. The dirt road is about 5 miles long.
A higher clearance is needed, sometimes you definitely need a 4x4, because of deep sand.
If you are alone do not enter without a 4x4.
The scrubs along the road, come real (too) close, so it will be a miracle to return without a scratch.
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