Elephant Trees Trail

Ocotillo Wells, California

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This rewarding desert hike ascends alluvial fans toward the foot of the Vallecito Mountains, where a fascinating array of desert plants and magnificent, austere scenery awaits. Many persons view California’s deserts as a vast wasteland, an area to drive through as quickly as possible on the way to somewhere else. The deserts are vast indeed, but to those who have grown to love them, they are anything but wastelands. This short hike helps dispel that myth, for here on the eastern slopes of the Vallecito Mountains you’ll see a broad array of drought-tolerant vegetation, including many rare elephant trees, one of the most unusual plants in the California desert. This area is at its best in winter and spring, when many plants display brilliantly colorful flowers, providing a dramatic contrast to the stark desert landscape.

Elephant Trees Trail Professional Review and Guide

"This rewarding desert hike ascends alluvial fans toward the foot of the Vallecito Mountains, where a fascinating array of desert plants and magnificent, austere scenery awaits. Many persons view California’s deserts as a vast wasteland, an area to drive through as quickly as possible on the way to somewhere else. The deserts are vast indeed, but to those who have grown to love them, they are anything but wastelands. This short hike helps dispel that myth, for here on the eastern slopes of the Vallecito Mountains you’ll see a broad array of drought-tolerant vegetation, including many rare elephant trees, one of the most unusual plants in the California desert. This area is at its best in winter and spring, when many plants display brilliantly colorful flowers, providing a dramatic contrast to the stark desert landscape."

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Ocotillo Wells
Distance: 3.4
Elevation Gain: 220 feet
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Difficult
Duration: 45 minutes to 1.5 hours
Season: Best mid-October through early May
Trailhead Elevation: 230 feet
Top Elevation: 450 feet
Local Contacts: Anza - Borrego Desert State Park
Local Maps: USGS Harper Canyon, Borrego Mountain SE

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Jun 2018