Anza-Borrego Desert: Sombrero Peak - Bow willows

Rating *****
Length 8 mile (one way) - 6-8 hours (one way). Moderate/Hard.
Elevation 980 - 4200 feet
Access High clearance car shuttle, see below

The whole area is dotted with palms.
You find some at the end of the road and further up in the same wash.

At the end of the road, hike up the canyon, but only for a very short while, the canyon is filled with boulders.
Just head south, up the steep wall, it's sand with some rocks, not too bad a place to go up.

Once on the first peak, the terrain looks pleasant, more flat with plenty of sand to hike on.

Close to the saddle head to the West, head for the trees way up, following a wildlife trail / tiny wash, it's actually good almost a hiking trail.
This route stays well clear of the boulders.

Head South/West and later on North/West following the terrain, almost no boulders.

At a saddle you are right in front of the actual peak. As with most peaks around here, this is a pile of large boulders.

Take your time to find a route, it should be fairly easy, some scrubs may be in the way, but they are mostly harmless.

A bit tricky to find the actual peak, probably the pointy boulder.
Go down the same way you came.

At the saddle, make sure you aren't that far off the schedule shown below.
You should only try this if you are very experienced in navigation (large) boulders.
Don't go down unless you are still fit and have plenty of water.

It's rather steep looking back, but the sand makes the first part down even easier than the way we came up.
The first part that is, you get plenty of boulders after that, further towards the palms more and bigger boulders.

At the fork another oases and maybe a good deal of water.
This part demands that you know your way around boulders, large boulders that is.
The hiking gets trick as it's almost unavoidable to get your shoes wet when there is water flowing in the creek, this adds slippery to the hike.
It's best to check out the best route, the GPS will only guide you in the about direction, not the actual path to take.

Stay out of the actual wash and stay mostly on the right side of the canyon to avoid the scrubs and rocks.

Finally the last stretch is in an ever widening sandy wash.

Schedule in a fast pace:
Peak 1: 35 Minutes.
Saddle: 1 Hour 30 Minutes.
Peak: 2 Hours.
Fork: 4 Hour 30 Minutes.

Warning: This hike is ONLY for experienced cross country hikers, with no problem hiking in a large boulder canyon/wash.
The hike is about 8 mile long, but this doesn't include manoeuvring around boulders and avoiding other obstacles, so the actual travel distance will be longer.
If you aren't back at the saddle after 3 hours of hiking, go back and do not proceed.

How to get here:

On Hwy S2 close to Mile 46, exit Indian Gorge. Drive for 2.5 mile. Take the left fork and drive up to the end of the road. You need a bit of ground clearance and sometimes a 4x4.
It's a risk going in without a 4x4, you may make it, sometimes without any problems, but you can just as easily get stuck in the soft sand. The other exit is at mile 48.2 signed Bow Willow campground, generally a much better road, this is a fee area.

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).

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