Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

• Hiking in Anza-Borrego Photos and Video CA SP Website Trail Map


Blair Valley area    
Morteros (P.O.I.) Easy 0.6 miles
Synopsis: A really good trail for kids and those who may not be in great shape. It's short, it's flat, and it's an interpretive walk with numbered points of interest. At the trailhead there is a signboard and pamphlets (though they were gone when we visited). This hike can be extended by continuing on the narrowing, and descending, trail, but it does get a bit more difficult.
Calcite mine area    
Calcite mine / slot canyon (dayhike) Moderate 4.3 miles
Synopsis: An interesting walk through typical Anza-Borrego rocky, sandy scenery with the added attraction of scrambling and hiking through some fun slot canyons. Be sure to get the local info on this trek if you're not completely sure of your orienteering ability, and expect high heat in the summer (though the slots do offer some shade). 
Carrizo Badlands area    
Bow Willow / Rockhouse Canyon Loop (dayhike)   Moderate-Difficult 8.5 miles
Synopsis: From the initial appearance of the Bow Willow area there appears not to be much variety in the landscape, but this hike will dispel that notion. There is a good bit of scrambling, though none of it really demanding, that is rewarded with wonderful views and amazing desert geology and botany. The latter part of the hike consists mostly of flat walking along a wash, which is beautiful in and of itself, and allow for making up time that was lost climbing through the hills at the beginning.
Canyon sin Nombre (dayhike)   Easy-Moderate 4.7 miles
Synopsis: This canyon hike is also a popular four-wheel drive track, and you may have to share with some motorized vehicles. Despite that, it can be a beautiful hike, especially the upper part of the canyon and some of the interesting side canyons that are accessible as you descend gently down to the canyon mouth.
 Southwest Grove (dayhike) Easy 1.5 miles
Synopsis: This is the southern portion of the Mountain Palm Springs loop, following South Fork trail up though Pygmy Grove to the larger Southwest Grove of palms. It's a pretty trail right out of the campground and it offers great views along the way of the expansive desert to the east.
Culp Valley area    
 Culp Valley Loop (dayhike)   Easy-Moderate 3.5 miles
Synopsis: Culp Valley Loop is a mild hike of a couple of miles to an active spring, and then to a spectacular spot overlooking Hellhole Canyon and the vast desert around Borrego Springs. If, like us, you wish to add a bit of challenge and distance to the hike, try climbing west toward the Wee benchmark (a conical peak) on the California Riding and Hiking Trail.
Split Mountain / Fish Creek area    
 Elephant Trees Nature Trail (P.O.I.) Easy 1 mile
Synopsis: The mile-long Elephant Trees loop is a botanical nature trail. There are pamphlets at the trailhead that offer insights into the plants and desert habitat you'll find along this quite level path. Though the number of specimens for which this trail is down to only one, that particular Elephant Tree is a spectacular individual, and worth the hike all by itself.
Tamarisk Grove area    
Narrows Earth Trail (P.O.I.) Easy 0.4 miles 
Synopsis: This is a quick and easy little nature trail, focusing on the geology of the area. At the beginning of the trail there is a pamphlet that explains the interpretive stops. There's very little elevation gain, and if you take the walk during the spring you'll have a good chance to see some excellent wildflowers.  
Visitor Center (Borrego Springs) area    
 Borrego Palm Canyon (dayhike) Easy 3.2 miles
Synopsis: Probably the most popular trail in the park (because of its proximity to the most popular campground), this is a fun and pretty hike to a palm oasis with typically impressive canyon views to the desert below. It's also an excellent spot for shade and wildflowers (in season of course).
 Campground Trail (P.O.I.) Easy  0.8 miles
Synopsis: This is one of the nicest interpretive trails we've walked. There is an excellent educational feature on the solar system, and very nice displays about common plants and animals in the area. The path is paved and gently graded.  
 Glorietta Canyon (dayhike) Easy 1.7 miles
Synopsis: There are times in Anza Borrego SP, mostly during wildflower season, when the more popular spots are lousy with people. But of course in a park this big, there are always locations that most visitors seldom frequent. Glorietta Canyon requires some off-road travel to reach the trailhead, the trail heads up into one of the area's less traveled canyons, and that's all music to your ears when you want some desert time away from the crowd.
 Little Surprise Canyon (P.O.I.) Easy 0.9 miles
Synopsis: This is a short and fun little hike up a side canyon. Try to hit it during wildflower season.
 Visitor Center Nature Trail (P.O.I.) Easy 0.3 miles
Synopsis: This is a quick and flat loop around and over the park's visitor center. It connects the Nature Trail with a little Bridge trail that crosses over the center's roof. The displays are quite nice and the roof walk has some great views of the desert.

All photos and video by Laura or Bob Camp unless otherwise indicated. Use without permission is not cool.