Borrego Palm Canyon Trail: Anza Borrego SP

Want to visit a real desert oasis? Borrego Palm Canyon trail in Anza Borrego  will take you on a hike from wide and exposed trail to a desert oasis with stream, tall palm trees, and cool rock formation.

The oasis at Borrego Palm Canyon

How To Get There

The trail starts off right from the Borrego Palm Campground, which is really easy to find. Enter the campground, make sure to pay at the self paying station, and proceed into the campground. Try to keep to your right, and you really should see a sign for borrego palm canyon trail. The parking is wide and there’s a restroom and a water fountain at the trail head. This is pretty moderate hike and could be considered easy for some. It has very little elevation gain, but it also requires a little bit of squeezing through boulders and big steps over rocks.

About the Trail

3 miles round trip with 600 feet of elevation

The trail starts off pretty open and expose to the sun. You will follow a well marked trail in the beginning with markers along the way. Sky at Anza Borrego is incredibly clear. The most fascinating thing about this park is definitely the bright blue sky that almost looks fake for those of us from the city. As the mountain on your left and right begin to grow taller and taller, you’re getting closer to the actual oasis.

There will be some parts where it is difficult to follow. Just make sure to stop once you feel like you’ve lost the trail, look around, back track a little bit, and you should be able to find the trail fairly easy again. The trail shouldn’t really require you to climb any rocks. If you feel like the trail begins to get too difficult, meaning you have to climb up big rocks, then you’re probably not following the main trail.

At a mile out, you will start to see the oasis, so just keep on heading toward that direction. Once you reach the oasis, the trail looks like it splits into two; one will require you to walk through tall grass and a stream, sometimes completely dry, and one will take you up and around the oasis where you’ll actually enter it from the right side. Although the second way is the actual trail, many people, including me, just walk through the stream to reach the oasis.

Now it is really smart to pack lunch to eat here. Whatever the temperature is that day, which can range from 60 degrees to 120, it will feel 20 degrees cooler in the oasis. The tall palm trees will completely block out the sun, making it the perfect location to sit and chill after a the hike. If your lucky and there’s no one there, it is a really great place to take a nap or read a book.


Anza Borrego can be as hot as 120 degrees during the summer and it is warm most of the time unless it is winter. You should bring at least two 32 oz water bottles on this hike. You will be drinking a lot more than expected especially if you choose to do this hike on a hot day. Although the oasis provides a good resting place with shade, majority of the hike you will be exposed to the beaming sun.


This is by far one of my favorite hikes I’ve done in Southern California. It is so cool to walk through a vast and open desert land into an enclose canyon with an oasis. When I was there with a friend, we were also lucky enough to get to see a few rare Borrego Desert Goats. There are only about two hundreds of them left in the entire park.

This is a manageable hike for most people. I’ve seen both young children and older folks at the oasis. It’s fairly short distant and close approximate to conveniences such as a water source and a restroom makes this hike really suitable for both beginners and more experienced hikers. This is a great introduction to hiking in the desert.


  1. Hi Rex,I love this painting too. A long time ago when I was still doing areoocalhgy, I worked in this general area (near Moose Mountain), and this painting really evoked that place for me when I saw it. I can almost smell the unusual tamarack and black spruce bogs I worked near when I look at it. The free and loose approach really suits this wild environment. Maybe it’s just my background, but this painting has a sense of the ancient as well. I think you’ve really captured the sensibility of plein air painting in a studio piece.(and, by the way, did you know that one of Alberta’s oldest archaeological sites was found near the Sibbald Creek?).

What do you think about this cool place?

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