Indianhead Mountain Trail

Borrego Springs, California

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The north wall of Borrego Palm Canyon culminates in a spectacular, jagged promontory known as Indianhead. This is a conspicuous landmark seen and admired from Borrego Valley locales, and one of the few named summits in the San Ysidro Mountains. Mapmakers, it seems, haven’t bothered to measure or estimate its height—its elevation, which is 3990 feet, is not recorded on topographic maps. There are many ways to climb Indianhead, nearly all involving very steep ascents from the desert floor. My favorite route (detailed here) is somewhat longer, but safer. This can be a challenging daylong hike, or it could involve a night’s stay in Borrego Palm Canyon. With a base camp established well up in the canyon, you’ll have the opportunity to do the climb in the early morning, when the air is clearest and the temperature moderate.

Indianhead Mountain Trail Professional Review and Guide

"The north wall of Borrego Palm Canyon culminates in a spectacular, jagged promontory known as Indianhead. This is a conspicuous landmark seen and admired from Borrego Valley locales, and one of the few named summits in the San Ysidro Mountains. Mapmakers, it seems, haven’t bothered to measure or estimate its height—its elevation, which is 3990 feet, is not recorded on topographic maps. There are many ways to climb Indianhead, nearly all involving very steep ascents from the desert floor. My favorite route (detailed here) is somewhat longer, but safer. This can be a challenging daylong hike, or it could involve a night’s stay in Borrego Palm Canyon. With a base camp established well up in the canyon, you’ll have the opportunity to do the climb in the early morning, when the air is clearest and the temperature moderate."

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Borrego Springs
Distance: 7
Elevation Gain: 3,200 feet
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Difficult
Duration: 7 hours
Season: November through April
Local Contacts: Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
Local Maps: USGS Borrego Palm Canyon
Driving Directions: Directions to Indianhead Mountain Trail

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May 2018