Borrego Palm Canyon

MODERATE 164 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 offers a number of activity options and is best used from October until May. Horses are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
2.9 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
462 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

kid friendly

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

trail running

walking

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

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: child-friendly, a multitude of waypoints through which to explore the natural history, and minimal effort for outstanding natural values.

hiking
3 days 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.

3 days 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
17 days 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
18 days ago

Beautiful hike to oasis.

hiking
19 days 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
19 days 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
21 days 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
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Fantastic oasis at the end

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful oasis!

hiking
2 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
4 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 .

6 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

6 months ago

Saw so many bighorn sheep!

hiking
6 months ago

My favorite hike in the entire county. Absolutely epic! I've also since read you can continue on past the oasis further up the creek to 2 more oases, making it a bit longer and more interesting. Complete with some bouldering and multiple stream crossings. The extremely fit and adventurous can continue from the 3rd oasis up to the summit of Indianhead Mountain. That peak is savage though, haven't attempted it but heard some gnarly things about it.

8 months ago

Trail is relatively easy until the end where you have to scramble over rocks. Wear shoes with good traction. You also have to cross the steam a couple of times. Trail is marked well until near the end where we were left wondering where we should be. We made a few oops and had to turn back. There is zero shade or places to rest so wear a wide brimmed hat and take plenty of water. The oasis is pretty. You go from desert and killer sun to palm trees and shade. I would go earlier in the day than we did to save yourself some of the heat. Glad I went once but not a trip I would do again. There is a $10 fee. There's a yellow ticket to put in your window. A ranger did drive through and check for them when were coming back to our car.

8 months ago

Great beautiful hike! Rocky in parts. Gorgeous palm oasis at the end! The alternate route back isn't easy to follow and isn't marked. I lost my way and had to climb through cactus and lots of rocks to get back to the main trail!

8 months ago

Beautiful trail and great if you want to keep going up the canyon to explore more and make the hike a little longer and harder. See how many waterfalls you can find!
Be sure to go as early as you can, hopefully before the sunrise to avoid the heat and the crowds!

hiking
9 months ago

We did this one 2/20/17. It was beautiful weather and not too hot. The trail is pretty easy and really no elevation gain. The waterfall at the top makes it worth the trip. Definitely want to make sure it is flowing before you make the trek. Lots of mountain goats at the bottom which was very exciting to see.

hiking
9 months ago

The trail takes you to an oasis. Bring water, sunblock & be aware of your footing.

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