Borrego Palm Canyon

MODERATE 216 reviews

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

DISTANCE
2.9 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
462 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

kid friendly

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

no dogs

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.

1 month ago

Wonderful trail! Have seen bighorn sheep many times. Hot this time of year; drink water!
Horses are not allowed.

1 month ago

The Palms at the end of the canyon are such a beautiful surprise. I recommend taking the alternate route back. It provided a bit more variety and elevation change. Plus it was less crowded. (Though no shade). Kids loved this hike.

hiking
2 months ago

We did this hike Saturday afternoon. We were lucky that the weather was beautiful - not too hot! There were six of us (3 adults, 3 kids in good shape (9-11 years old). There were areas to get a break from the sun from boulder shadows. I would not recommend if you have difficulty getting around as some areas require a little boulder scrambling. We caught two catci in bloom and a few other desert plants but not that much in bloom. The oasis was great and we stopped and had a picnic snack. Tip: park at the camper area - free with paid admission. Parking at the visitor's center will add 3 miles RT to your hike in the sun.

hiking
2 months ago

A very fun and scenic hike. The wife and kids loved it. Enjoyed climbing over rocks, crossing streams and the oasis is breathtaking. Didn’t see any sheep but we made it to end by 8am. We where the only ones on trail then but did get crowded by 9am. I can’t wait to go back and hopefully witness the big horns.

2 months ago

We did this hike years ago & loved it...went again yesterday with friends visiting from Vancouver...great hike & we were lucky to get to see some big horn sheep grazing by the streams edge. Weather was perfect! Disappointed that the Oasis pool is now barricaded off from getting in the water but still an enjoyable experience :)

hiking
2 months ago

This is a wonderful hike, especially if you are looking for that Oasis out in the desert spot to enjoy! We hiked it in February and the weather was perfect! Starts in sand, rock and cactus and ends with palms, shade and water! We found it a very enjoyable hike!

3 months ago

Very nice hike. Not one to speed through. Take the time to just stop & view the varied scenery & vistas. Alternative trail down is rocky & has enough uphill to make it interesting.

hiking
3 months ago

Big Horn Sheep family
What a treat!

hiking
3 months ago

Love this little hike, I’ve done it a few times now. This last visit the bighorn rams were literally on the trail. It was great!

hiking
3 months ago

Although this hike is short and fairly easy, the landscape is stunning. The weather was perfect this afternoon, sunny and warm with a comfortable breeze. Water was also flowing in the creek. Unfortunately, I didn’t see any sheep, but I also didn’t go in the morning. I felt a huge sense of peace on this hike and would definitely recommend it. Just don’t go at peak times! I heard this hike gets very busy. Pros: Ample parking, clean bathrooms. Cons included a $10 entry fee (seemed steep to me), and human feces toward the end of the trail. It was so gross.

3 months ago

Loved the water

hiking
3 months ago

This was an awesome hike! Not to much and a beautiful scenery! Unfortunately we didn't see any big horn, maybe next time though

hiking
3 months ago

This was an awesome hike! Not to much and a beautiful scenery! Unfortunately we didn't see any big horn, maybe next time though

hiking
3 months ago

This was an awesome hike! Not to much and a beautiful scenery! Unfortunately we didn't see any big horn, maybe next time though

hiking
3 months ago

Easy hike, no difficulty whatsoever. Very tame compared to just about every other Anza trail, both in terms of difficulty and structural layout. National park quality maintenance, highly impressed, impossible to go off route. On the hike back there is an option to take an alternate route. Do not take this as it leads up the canyon, there is no scenery there. If you want to view sheep, best come early during morning hours. Good hike, strong running water and stunning visuals. The palm grove is the best Anza has to offer as far as green sanctuaries are concerned.

3 months ago

I really enjoyed this hike. Saw four large bighorn rams munching away, and many females and juveniles up on the hill. I think moderate is a fair description, as there are some sections you need to do a bit of climbing, but the giant palm groves are well worth it. I'll come back again.

4 months ago

Nice short hike. Beautiful oasis and lots of rocks to climb.

hiking
4 months ago

Great trail for beginners or with small kids. It’s about a 3 mile round trip with an alternate route back which is great. A bit crowded during the weekend when the weather is nice and cool.

4 months ago

It’s easy, and most of the time the goats come close to the trails. Don’t drink the water, the rangers have said that is definitely not clean!

hiking
4 months ago

Busy trail. The palm oasis almost seems strange and is a stark contrast to the desert canyon in which it sits. The path beyond the oasis is barricaded off within the palm grove, but there are alternative routes to continue beyond the palms. Beyond the palms it is a scramble with no defined path to the upper pools.

hiking
4 months ago

Beautiful hike to oasis.

hiking
4 months ago

Great trail- I suggest packing a bit extra water and keep going up into the canyon- amazing pools of water and more interesting rocks

hiking
4 months ago

Nice but heavily trafficked hike. If you get lucky, you'll see the sheep (but not guaranteed). Bring plenty of water, hat, and sunscreen -- the trail is mostly exposed. I don't recommend the alternate trail. $10 to park -- and please don't complain about it. Those fees are the reason this place gets maintained and remains open to the public.

hiking
4 months ago

I had done this once before and seen not a glimpse of the famously hidden big horn sheep. But this time, with expectations low, we'd barely left the car when, not more than 80 or so yards off the trailhead, there he was, not up in the jagged cliffs, but down below moseying around in the wash. Quite a sight given their rarity. Aside from the sheep the trail remains way up the list for iconic California Desert hikes. The oasis is just that; an actual oasis, something one might find in a movie about an exotic locale in another part of the world. Maybe King Kong will be spotted parting some of the big palm trees to investigate our presence. Lots of rock scrambling and not for summer months. Beware the "alternative route"; no signage and trail can be tough to follow.

hiking
5 months ago

hiking
6 months ago

Fantastic oasis at the end

hiking
6 months ago

Beautiful oasis!

hiking
6 months ago

Great hike with oasis at the end of the trail. On the way out saw five big horn sheep on a mountainside.

walking
9 months ago

We did this trail at the worst time of day . We started at 11 am and the heat started to get intense . My mom and my 14 y/o had to stay under a palm tree while I finished my way to the oasis . I get there and it's totally dry . We head back and we ddnt have enough water . Make sure you have enough water for this hike .

10 months ago

Really enjoyed the walk. Left before sunrise to avoid the heat. We were unable though to go all the way to the oasis as we encountered LOTS of bees towards the end

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