Borrego Palm Canyon is a 2.9 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Borrego Springs, California that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is best used from October until May.

Length2.9 miElevation gain462 ftRoute typeLoop
Kid friendlyHikingViewsWaterfallWildflowersWildlifeRockyScrambleNo dogs
Description
Waypoints (5)
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Getting There

Borrego Palm Canyon is the most popular trail in California's largest state park. It leads to the third-largest palm oasis in California, which was the first site sought for a desert state park back in the 1920s. It's a beautiful, well-watered oasis, tucked away in a rocky V-shaped gorge. If you're lucky, you may glimpse a bighorn sheep, in a canyon vegetated by California's only native species of palm. The park receives many visitors due to its proximity to the metropolises of Southern California, and the trail is relatively easy to access and hike (three miles round trip with 600' elevation gain). The trail visits the first palm grove and a waterfall. A longer option takes you exploring farther up-canyon. During the spring wildflower season, this trail is not the place to "get away from it all." However, the hike is rewarding in may ways: kid-friendly, a multitude of waypoints through which to explore the natural history, and minimal effort for outstanding natural values.

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=638

Note that the map on this page includes both the main trail and the alternate route. Many hikers just stay on the main trail the whole time. Do not hike the trail without water adequate for several hours. Although the climate may be mild in winter and spring, you are hiking through an unshaded, sunny, and very dry environment. In summer, you'll have the oasis all to yourself; in fact, the State Park designates it as an October-May hike.

The trail begins at Borrego Palm Canyon Campground, located one mile north of park headquarters. Trailhead parking is available at the west end of the campground near the campfire circle.

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Reviews (812)
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Activities (799)
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Ivana Maratas
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 3, 2021
HikingGreat!Rocky

This was such a fun trail!! Loved experiencing a palm oasis in the desert. I do recommend going before 9am before it gets hot and to avoid the overcrowding. It’s very rocky on the ground - don’t wear sandals. You’ll have to do a lot of rock stepping and climbing. There are a lot of bushes and shady areas so beware of rattle snakes. Apparently hikers warned us on our way back to the trail head. There is some low water stream from the palm trees. The trees were on fire on Jan 2020 per a park ranger. You’ll notice that the trunks are burnt but the palm leaves are still green and thriving. Definitely recommend !!

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Raj Singh
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Hiking

Beautiful trail out and back. Highly recommend the loop (alternate route)

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Sanjay Kamodia
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Hiking

Good for a cooler morning

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Mit Bour
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Hiking

It was 92F on 4/25 when we finished the hike at noon. I would recommend hiking early in the morning, bring lots of water and sunscreen. The trail was very gradual and easy to follow. The area along the river and under the palm trees is closed for restoration but you can hike all the way to the oasis and view the palm trees from across the river.

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Tokiko Crawford
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Hiking

Good! Especially spring.

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Karen Nelson
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Hiking

Always a great hike! I hadn't been out here since the fire, but they have established a great trail that gets you within a stones throw of the palms.

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Yen Soup
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 18, 2021
HikingNo shadeRocky

Really enjoyed the palm oasis at the end. Don’t underestimate the heat, it was projected sunny high 80s today, got started a little before 11am (worst time to start i know), finished all 2.5L of water a little after heading back from the oasis, took about 2 hrs with lots of breaks.

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Nicky Chokran
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Hiking

Gradual uphill walk to a burnt Palm tree forest. Saw many desert lizards and a yellow bullocks bird.

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Anna G
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HikingGreat!

Great easy trail, what makes it moderate is the heat. Started around 9am and it was too hot already. Please make sure to bring lots of water and sturdy shoes - not sandals, watch out for rattlers on the path and cacti. The alternate route on the way back had only a few people and was a great choice. Would not recommend doing this trail between 11am-3pm because of the scorching heat.

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Daniel Shanahan
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HikingFee

No dogs right now. There are baby sheep and the dogs disrupt them. Easy trail - 3 mi loop. The oasis is just surreal in the middle of the desert. Make sure to grab one of the pamphlets at the trail head. The markers are interesting to learn about on the way up. Take the alternate trail on the way back down.

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Steven Vonderfecht
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Hiking

Nice hike rated as moderate, which is a good fit. Some parts of trail not well marked so it was useful to have map downloaded from All Trails to get us back on course on two occasions. Didn’t see any Bighorn Sheep but enjoyed the varied vegetation and desert environment. Trail was a bit busy today (April 12) but not too bad.

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Tabitha Reefer
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HikingFeeGreat!
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Leah Mesler
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Hiking

THIS HIKE IS NOT DOG FRIENDLY. We pulled up and were unfortunately were turned away because dogs apparently scare away the goats. Just beware cuz this website says it’s dog friendly.

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Jonathan Swanson
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Hiking

Nice fun hike. Beautiful scenery. Took main trail up and alternate trail back. Def recommend alternate trail for at least one of the legs.

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Bryan Santos
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HikingGreat!Scramble

This was a great hike for my wife and two young kids (6 & 7). It was well maintained and we even saw some volunteers working to keep it clean and tidy. There are little number posts and arrows to help guide the way, so we only got a bit off the trail once. We went on 3/31/21 and it was very sunny but not too hot. We took a lot of breaks and tried to make the most of the few shady spots on the trail. The creek full of palm trees at the end was a perfect place for lunch and a little play in the water. Unfortunately, we didn't make it to the oasis at the very end of the trail as the creek flow was a bit too heavy and caused the oasis to be inaccessible for my kids as you had to scramble up some rocks. It wasn't too crowded either, but only about 50-60% of folks we passed had the courtesy to cover their faces. Overall, we had a good time and made some fun memories.

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Lindsay Wesner
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HikingGreat!
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Andrea Simpson
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Hiking

Pretty easy hike. Not sure if the big payoff for the hike was the many wild sheep we saw or getting in the cold water at the oasis. Great hike and planning on doing it again!

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Tina Keller
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Hiking

Alternative route was tougher.

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Slow Poke
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 28, 2021
HikingFloodedRockyScramble

Went early, and it was crowded. Beautiful Ocotillos everywhere, and rock formations. You can relax on boulders at oasis, and waterfall was flowing well. Trail is very rocky on the loop on way back.

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Lisa Born
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 22, 2021
Hiking

This is a cool trail, especially during the spring bloom but the flowers really aren’t out yet. It’s best to get out here in the morning. Bring lots of water, they recommend at least a gallon.

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Karina Browning
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Hiking

The Oasis at the end is well worth the trip. Some places where you need to climb rocks but still not to hard.

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Kathy Marchant
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Hiking

Awesome! Lots of water.

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Anthony Kruse
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Hiking

bring water and cant go past the oasis as rangers are there

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Brandt Lovell
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 21, 2021
Hiking

Great trail. Second set of oasis/palms a mile further than the first oasis. Hiking over boulders will get you there while crossing little cascading falls.

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