Palm Canyon Hike at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
The most important fact is that we saw bighorn sheep! There was a group of about eight with two rams. We were a respectful distance away, but had a great view through binoculars. The trailhead to the Palm Canyon is a short drive from the State Park headquarters and near a campsite. It was an easy walk along a well marked trail to the oasis. It is a little rocky with some boulder scrambling at the end and no shade for the first 1/2 mile. It is about a 1-1/2 mile to the palm trees, which are a startling sight, given how dry and scrubby the terrain is.
There was water running and many small waterfalls in the back of the canyon. It was a charming and refreshing sight.
We took the "alternate" path back. It is at a slightly higher elevation and skirts some foothills near the walls of the canyon. This is where we saw the sheep. This trail is not marked and is much rockier than the main trail. It was worth it. There were some people much closer to the sheep and the sheep didn't seem to mind at all.
The round-trip is 3 miles and taking the alternate adds about a half mile. It is of moderate difficulty and could be a challenge on a very hot day.
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