One of the most popular hikes in Anza Borrego is Borrego Palm Canyon. But just a short drive south of this canyon is Hellhole Canyon. Hellhole has a similar Palm Oasis, a seasonal waterfall with ferns, and a lot of fun rock scrambling.

This was our second visit to Anza Borrego and although our original visit is a distant memory, we wanted to do something different. On our first visit we checked out Borrego Palm Canyon, so this time it was Hellhole. Actually, our original goal for the day was Indianhead Peak, but time and weather (wind) kept us from the summit.

I ended up keeping my camera put away for the exciting stuff since it was a full-on scramble, both hands needed. But I still managed to get a few shots along the way!


Out and Back


5.5 miles round trip

Elevation Gain:

+/- 1200 ft

Trailhead and Permit Notes:

Pay State Park entrance fees before parking at the trailhead near the visitor center. Roads to the trailhead are paved, though the parking lot itself is dirt.

Useful Guides and Gear:

Rebecca Sowards-Emmerd

Mountain sports addict. Dog Mom. Craft beer drinker. Tech nerd. The best days are those spent above 10k ft. Meet me on Twitter, Facebook, or Google +


Peter Spiller · January 10, 2009 at 9:48 am

Both Borrego Palm Canyon, and Hellhole Canyon are great hikes. Maidenhair falls is spectacular when the water is flowing in the spring. These two hikes are two of the most popular because they are close to Borrego Springs, and offer pretty accessible trail heads. Anza-Borego Stae park is gigantic, and after many years and hundreds of trips to it, I am still finding new amazing places within its borders.

Scott B · January 10, 2009 at 2:43 pm

Hellhole Canyon in Anza Borrego was one of the first hikes I did after I moved to California. I think it was back in early 1998. I still remember how refreshing it was to get to that oasis about 1/4 mile or so before the falls. So lush and green and dark compared to the many miles traveled to get there. There were a number of folks sitting on rocks there, making sketches of the flora.

loopmob · December 3, 2009 at 7:26 am

you just got yourself a place in my bookmarks

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