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.
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).
Annie K H.
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.
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!