Lower Hellhole Canyon Trail

Borrego Springs, California

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In the midst of what is regarded as one of the hottest and driest deserts in the U.S., it seems a bit surprising to find a place where mosses, ferns, sycamores, cottonwoods, and palms flourish around a sparkling waterfall. Maidenhair Falls is such a place, and it lies only 3 miles from Anza-Borrego’s visitor center and the town of Borrego Springs. From the trailhead, head west-southwest on a wide, well-beaten path (formerly a dirt road) across the upper (south) margin of Hellhole Canyon’s broad alluvial fan. After 1.2 miles, the walls of the canyon begin to close in. You thread your way up the narrowing gorge, generally avoiding the vegetation-choked canyon bottom. On ahead you’ll have to scramble over or around large boulders and fallen trees. Try to avoid encounters with the rosebush-like thorns of the cat-claw bushes.
Afoot & Afield: San Diego County

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Afoot & Afield: San Diego County

by Jerry Schad (Wilderness Press)

In the midst of what is regarded as one of the hottest and driest deserts in the U.S., it seems a bit surprising to find a place where mosses, ferns, sycamores, cottonwoods, and palms flourish around a sparkling waterfall. Maidenhair Falls is such a place, and it lies only 3 miles from Anza-Borrego’s visitor center and the town of Borrego Springs. From the trailhead, head west-southwest on a wide, well-beaten path (formerly a dirt road) across the upper (south) margin of Hellhole Canyon’s broad alluvial fan. After 1.2 miles, the walls of the canyon begin to close in. You thread your way up the narrowing gorge, generally avoiding the vegetation-choked canyon bottom. On ahead you’ll have to scramble over or around large boulders and fallen trees. Try to avoid encounters with the rosebush-like thorns of the cat-claw bushes.

©  Jerry Schad/Wilderness Press. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Borrego Springs
Distance: 4.8
Elevation Gain: 900 feet
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Moderate
Duration: 3 hours
Season: December through April
Accessibility: Kid-friendly
Local Contacts: Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
Local Maps: USGS Tubb Canyon
Driving Directions: Directions to Lower Hellhole Canyon Trail

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May 2018