Best Easy Day Hikes: Anza-Borrego
by Bill Cunningham & Polly Burke (Falcon Guides)
© Bill Cunningham & Polly Burke/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.
We hiked this with a 3 and 5 year old and they had little problem. The trail meanders and there are multiple ways but they all go to the same spot and what a spot it is. The palm oasis is stunning and the small waterfall just before it allows for a nice cool swim, if you are so inclined. The day we went was windy with a lot of blowing sand to sting the bottom of the legs but otherwise the weather was great. There are also three Earthcaches along the trail which we enjoy a lot and add even more education to the journey. Overall, a great hike to a beautiful end.
Even though this 2004 spring's rains washed some debris across this trail, it is still a lovely hike up and back to the palm tree oasis. The first mile is very dry, but the desert floor has lots of small white, purple, and yellow flowers. The octillo is blooming and there are some flowers on the barrel cacti. The stream you'll cross (until it dries up soon) is cool and refreshing to splash in, as are the pools at the palm oasis. I saw everyone from 4th grade Girl Scouts to senior citizens hiking this trail, but it does have some hazards that could lead to twisting your ankle or falling. Stop first at the park's information center to look at the cactus displays, pick up brochures, and cool off before heading out. Hike either early morning or late afternoon for best weather; midday is too hot. The roundtrip 3.5 miles can be done in 2 hours, but it took 3 hours with my older mother. Bring plenty of water. Trail is well marked and there's parking at the trailhead for a $3-$5 state park fee (discount for seniors, disabled, etc.).
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