The Borrego Palm Canyon Trail is probably the most popular hiking trail in California’s Anza Borrego Desert State Park. And with good reason. The approximately three-mile round-trip journey is close to the park’s visitor center, very scenic and fairly easy.
Starting from the Borrego Palm Canyon Campground, the trail enters the canyon with ample opportunities to see the park’s famed (and rare) bighorn sheep climbing the ridges to the north. In fact, I saw a female near the top on this hike (hint: stay quiet to hear their footsteps on rocks as they are tough to see).
The canyon walls eventually close a bit tighter on the trail as you get closer to the oasis at the end. You’ll see increased vegetation and a stream flowing from the oasis. You’ll be able to see the oasis about a half mile before you reach it, and the grove of California date palms is a relaxing place to rest before heading back.
There is an alternate route back which is well-marked (you’ll likely see it on your way to the oasis). I recommend taking it back as it is less traveled and is at a higher elevation, giving you a wider perspective of the canyon. It ends at the opposite end of the campground’s parking lot, just a couple hundred feet from where you started.
Directions: From Christmas Circle in downtown Borrego Springs, travel west toward the Anza Borrego Desert State Park visitor center. Watch for the sign to the campground and turn right when you see it. Follow this road for about a mile until you reach the campground. There is an $8 per car day-use fee to enter. Then follow signs in the campground for trailhead’s parking lot.