• Activities:

    Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:

    Loop

  • RT Distance:

    3 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    350 Feet

Easy Parking
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Hike to an oasis in the middle of the Anza Borrego desert. Discover six fan palm groves, the only native palm tree to California. 

At first glance the Anza-Borrego desert appears lifeless, a wasteland of rocky plain peaks rising up from Carrizo Plains covered in Cholla cactus and Ocotillo. But one of the surprises is a mirage of California fan palm groves hidden in a series of canyons.

The Mountain Palm Springs oasis loop is really two separate hikes from the same trailhead that end at the extensive Palm Bowl Grove. The two legs can be combined into a loop.  If you hike counterclockwise head north and then west up a sandy wash as you can easily spot the green mirage of palm trees coming first to Surprise Canyon Grove. Head to the largest oasis Palm Bowl Grove, then retrace the trail back. When you are half-way look for a trail at the Surprise Canyon Grove that goes south and up over the ridge dropping down to the Pygmy Grove. You can find the Southwest Grove at the end of this canyon. You can discover Mary’s Grove and North Grove off the first leg of the trail. Be aware but sometimes the trail appears and disappears occasionally inside the canyons when it blends into the washes. The stretch of trail connecting the two canyons can be very rocky and occasionally gets a bit confusing. 

Pack List

  • Hiking boots
  • Camera
  • Sunscreen
  • Good topographical map
  • Plenty of water
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Matt Purciel Explorer

California native and outdoor enthusiast and who's always in search for the beauty of creation.

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