My botany is not very good, but the promise of a colorful display of wildflowers in Anza-Borrego State Park seemed like a good reason to explore the trails. Nancy met me at my place around 8ish on Sunday morning and from there we drove through Poway and Ramona on our way to Borrego Springs. We didn’t want to do anything strenuous or long, so I suggested the Hellhole Canyon to Maidenhair Falls hike I had done with the Sierra Club in October of 2008. Well, there was very little water back then, but with the amount of rain we received this year, I anticipated a huge flow of water. And I think a lot of other people did too because when we arrived at the trailhead the parking lot was almost full! The weather was perfect with temperatures in the mid 80s. We started our hike through the sandy wash and stopped to take pictures of the ocotillos, and cholla cactus.
We gradually made our way up the wash and after about 1.25 miles we started encountering boulders. Nancy said that she would rather not scramble over huge boulders, especially on the way back down. So, when we reached the first grove of palms, Nancy decided to wait while I continued on to the falls. From here, it’s a free for all as there are many different routes. One could take the trail along the south side of the stream, which means a steeper climb over boulders, or one could take the trail along the north side of the stream which is less steep.
The further I got into the canyon the louder the sound of the stream became and I knew that the falls would be spectacular. I continued my way beneath the palms and hopped over the boulders until I finally reached a large group of people standing in front of Maidenhair Falls. I attempted to take a few pictures, but the crowd was large. Nevertheless, I managed to get a shot or two of the falls. What I enjoyed most about the hike was the boulder scrambling, more so than the abundance of water and blooming wildflowers. I met Nancy at the first palm grove and we returned to the trailhead admiring the view of the desert valley.
The hike is about 5-6 miles with about 900’ elevation gain and lots of boulder scrambling!