Hellhole Canyon Trail

Ron Niebrugge Anza-Borrego, California, Photos, Travel 5 Comments

Maidenhair Falls, Hellhole Canyon Trail, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, California.

Maidenhair Falls, Hellhole Canyon Trail, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, California.

More water than this pours off our roof on a typical summer day in Alaska, but to see a little waterfall like this in this desert environment is really a treat!  It just seems so out of place, it is fascinating. 

This waterfall is found at the end of the Hellhole Canyon Trail.  This trail begins at a trailhead parking lot along s-22 at the base of the Montezuma Grade on your right if you are coming from Borrego Springs – you can’t miss the parking lot, there is a information sign along with a bathroom at the parking area.

The trail heads gradually up the aleuvial fan of Hellhole Canyon – at this point it is nice and wide and easy to follow.  Once the trail enters the canyon, the trail narrows a bit and involves a little bouldering and route finding, but it isn’t difficult.  It is near this point, you begin seeing some palm trees.  After about 2.5 miles from the start, you reach the Hellhole Canyon Grove – a beautiful oasis of about 20 palm trees. 

To reach Maidenhair Falls, you need to continue another .2 of a mile.  This last stretch is somewhat slower and more difficults as it involves a lot of climing over and around boulders, and through some vegatation.  As you reach a few more palms, keep your ears open, becuase the waterfall is a little hard to find.  It is only about 18 feet high, and tucked in amongst some boulders.  I turned on my GPS and grabbed the cordinates to make it easier for others to find.  They were N33 14.185  W116 26.578

The total round trip is just under 6 miles.  You may not realize it, but you actually climb almost 1,000 vertical feet, and it can be hot, so bring plenty of water and food and enjoy!

Comments 5

  1. Hi again, Ron! Have you been up Palm Canyon yet? I don’t know when the last time was for you, but you may know that it flooded massively in 2004 and ripped out half the palms. Long story short, with respect to water in the desert, Palm Canyon is currently CHUGGING! Go check it out!

  2. Post

    Hey Michael,

    Thanks a lot for the tip. I almost went up there today, I definitely will over the next day or two.

    We went up there last year at this time and found a bunch of sheep. I understand they aren’t as prevalent there this year – probably since there is more water around.

    Seeing all those palms destroyed really sucked.

  3. Post

    Hi Richard,

    If I had to pick, I would wait another week – the areas with blooms are still pretty limited. If you don’t have to pick – then that is even better yet; hit this areas a couple of weekends – I bet it will change a lot from week to week. Let me know if you do make it this way.


  4. Thanks for the update Ron, I’ll let you know when I’m around. The forecast calls for some showers but probably not enough to deter. I guess any little bit helps when it comes to that region.

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