Date: February 4, 2017
Distance: 2.3 miles
My next hike in the Anza-Borrego 5 for 50 Challenge was going to be hiking Mountain Palm Springs trail. This hike is out near Bow Willow Springs campground, a part of the park I had never explored, so I was looking forward to the day’s adventure. I hoped that I might be able to tack on the hike along the Pictograph Trail afterward.
I drove down the dirt road to the trailhead. I parked and began looking for the interpretive panel that marks the start of the trail. From here I could see some palm trees up the canyon. Unlike the well-marked path at Borrego Palm Canyon Nature Trail, this trail was not always as clear. I first passed the Pygmy Grove as I worked my way up the wash. After about 7/10ths of a mile, I found myself at the Southwest Grove. While it did not have the running stream like the other hike, the grove was impressive. This hike had an optional extension to continue up to the Torote Bowl.
I headed up the hillside, following the rocky trail. Once at the ‘bowl’, I took a break. Elephant trees were scattered around the area. I chatted with a couple that had hiked up from the nearby Bow Willow Campground.
I retrace my route and was back at the car in no time. With the fire in 2020 that damaged the grove in Palm Canyon, these are now the most accessible of the palm groves in the park. Three down, two to go!