Whale Peak

HARD 16 reviews

Whale Peak is a 9 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Borrego Springs, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is best used from October until May.

9.0 miles
2122 feet
Out & Back



wild flowers



over grown



no dogs

9 days ago

Did this hike yesterday. Wouldn't suggest any first timer to do it without a downloaded map. That's what we did and we lost 2 hours searching for the entrance to the canyon that leads to the peak. If you still do, then the entrance is by the sign which says "only foot traffic after this point". You go through a canyon and once you get out of it look for the tallest peak opposite to you and start walking towards it through the field of cacti. Just go straight... don't bother to look for tracks or a trail cause there's none (at least we didn't find one). When you get to the base of the mountain go all way to the end (which is to your right). That's where you'll find entrance to the second canyon which will lead you to the peak. Good luck! And don't forget long pants and long sleeves otherwise you'll end up with millions of scratches and spikes in your skin, as cacti growth is really dense and cholla is everywhere!

15 days ago

Amazing hike. Trail is well marked with cairns. Suggest long pants and sleeves as trail is rife with cacti and other shrubs. Very cold and windy at the top but worth it for the stunning views. Saw one other group on the trail, very peaceful.

29 days ago

Great Hike! If you have a jeep or high clearance 4WD drive 5.7miles down Pinyon Mountain Road and turn right and drive .2 to end and beginning of hiking trail. From here it is a 5 mile out and back with 1,562 elevation gain. Yesterday the trail was very well marked with cairns. I was glad to have downloaded the All Trails map as back up. Amazing views and varied terrain. Might be my favorite hike in Anza Borrego.

2 months ago

My buddy and I (age 72 & 65) made a trip to Anza Borrego to take an advertised 4 mile out and back hike only to discover that our trek took almost 20,000 steps and five hours to complete(3 hours out and 2 hours back). So the 9 miles seems more realistic. If you enjoy bouldering there are many opportunities. The mix of steep and strenuous to flat and mild is 70/30. However, the views when you reach the summit are spectacular. There is a variety of desert plant life and many lizards. In the late spring and summer there will be snakes on the path. The trail was virtually deserted as we only came upon two other hikers. The trail is well marked with cairn stacks. Although I would not recommend this hike if it is wet or approaching darkness as the trail is steepest at the beginning and at the summit and again at the end.

3 months ago

You can cut this hike in half if you drive further down Pinyon Mountain Road and turn right where the map shows the trail turning South. It's not as steep as I thought it would be. A previous post says this trail starts at the squeeze, this is not true. The Squeeze and Pinyon Drop-off are further down the road. If you reach the squeeze you've gone too far.

4 months ago

Directions were not accurate. Once you get to the Old Overland Stagecoach route, go exactly 4.3 miles to the “Welcome to Anza Borrego State Park” sign. The the dirt road for as many miles as you can depending on your vehicle. The trail marker has you start right at the “squeeze” which is basically as far as you can go in a non-4wd vehicle. The dirt road is really soft sand so make sure you plan appropriately. From the Squeeze it’s total 9 miles round trip. If you have a 4wd Jeep then you can start where the first boulders begin. Cuts out 4 miles (round trip). The boulders in the first steep part are fun and you really don’t need trail markers. When you reach the top you’ll be crossing desert and yes more bouldering. But be careful to keep your eye on the “ducks” or cairns marking the trail. Especially on the return trip when descending.

This hike is fun, a bit technical and well worth the trip.

Friday, February 10, 2017

This is a really awesome hike! Definitely recommend using a GPS or map, and the difficulty level is moderate-advanced (rocky trail, scrambling up a wash, etc). I did an overnight there two days ago, and there is a BEAUTIFUL spot right after a steep rocky climb and before you reach the first flat. It's directly off trail so you'll see it if you are looking for it (: Gorgeous views, great workout, and good practice with hard-to-follow trails. You'll need a 4WD vehicle or something with high clearance to go all the way to the "trailhead", but you can park at the Squeeze and walk and easy 2.5 miles without too much hassle. Be aware that the beginning part of this hike is hard to follow and requires to you quite literally scramble up rocks. I had a 30lb pack on (I'm training for a longer hike), and found poles to be very useful. ALSO, if you are following driving directions here, they will take you to the pictograph trail. If you want to access just the Whale Peak trail, you'll need to turn before at a dirt round that is marked with a sign for Pinyon Canyon (or something like that).

Monday, January 11, 2016

I'm not sure why this is considered the Whale Peak Trail. The Maps only show the dirt road and the 1 mile trail to the pictographs. The dirt road can be bypassed by driving directly to the Pictograph trailhead and starting the hike from that point. There is a sign at the trailhead saying no dogs allowed, I think they are fine for the dirt road, but once you get to the pictograph trailhead you'll have to turn around. There really is no trail once you pass the pictographs, you kinda just follow the wash, so print a map and bring a GPS. There was a lot of rock scrambling and trying to figure out routes passed cacti. Its a super fun hike and there was absolutely no one else on the trail. I did not see a trail once I got out of the wash to head to the peak, there was a fair amount of snow, so it may have been covered (a little bushwacking was required to get to the peak). My GPS shut off for some reason in the middle of the the hike, but I would also estimate this to be about 9 miles. If you start from highway, you're gonna tack on about 8 more miles total.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Whew! Left Arizona at 6 a.m. to make it to the Smugglers trailhead by 9:30 a.m. Went with my local hiking group and had a blast. Some tips: After the petroglyphs watch for the trail (it's slight) veering left and up. Follow that to the inside of the canyon. Follow cairns to the top. There are lots of boulders so watch your step! Bring a hat as black flies can be plentiful. Make sure to sign the log book hidden under the giant boulder at the top.Our GPS rated this in total as about a 9 mile round trip hike. Nice burn!

4 months ago

4 months ago

recorded Whale Peak

Monday, January 16, 2017

Monday, February 15, 2016

paddle sports
Friday, December 25, 2015

recorded Whale Peak

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Sunday, November 02, 2014