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Hike into a box canyon by way of Anza-Borrego's Palo Verde Wash.

With midday temperatures declining into the 80s this month and next, the vast spaces of the Anza-Borrego Desert are again becoming attractive places to explore. For the following hike up Palo Verde Canyon in the southern reaches of the Santa Rosa Mountains, wear hiking boots to keep cactus spines at bay, and carry two quarts of water (on a warm day) to quench your thirst. Even though the sun has retreated quite far south by now, sun-shielding clothing is still a good idea.

This hike originates along County Highway S-22 (Borrego-Salton Seaway), approximately 18 miles east of Borrego Springs. Park where you can well off of the pavement at mile 32.9 (according to the green mile-markers spaced each mile along the highway). Remember that you'll need a state park permit ($5 per day, or $50 yearly) for parking here and anywhere else within Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Permits are available at park headquarters and at the Anza-Borrego Visitors' Center in Borrego Springs and at widely scattered, clearly marked roadside spots throughout the park.

At mile 32.9, there's a dip where the highway crosses a dry riverbed. This is Palo Verde Wash, named for the palo verde trees that dot its course. On foot, follow this wash generally north (gradually uphill) toward a prominent cut in the mountains ahead -- Palo Verde Canyon. The wash is "braided," consisting of multiple channels cut during past flash floods. Keep close to the middle of the drainage to stay on course.

After 1.3 miles, the canyon walls begin to close in on both sides and travel slows a bit as you're forced to step over more and bigger rocks. (In another 0.2 mile you may spot an obscure trail going up the steep slope to the right. A side trip on this -- an old miner's trail -- would lead you to an old mine tunnel sunk deeply into a prominent vein.)

Progress up Palo Verde Canyon ends after a total of three miles, at which point you'll find yourself in the bottom of a bowl flanked on three sides by sheer walls soaring over 400 feet high. Infrequent flash floods tear through here, probably creating for a brief interval of time a terrific waterfall.

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With midday temperatures declining into the 80s this month and next, the vast spaces of the Anza-Borrego Desert are again becoming attractive places to explore. For the following hike up Palo Verde Canyon in the southern reaches of the Santa Rosa Mountains, wear hiking boots to keep cactus spines at bay, and carry two quarts of water (on a warm day) to quench your thirst. Even though the sun has retreated quite far south by now, sun-shielding clothing is still a good idea.

This hike originates along County Highway S-22 (Borrego-Salton Seaway), approximately 18 miles east of Borrego Springs. Park where you can well off of the pavement at mile 32.9 (according to the green mile-markers spaced each mile along the highway). Remember that you'll need a state park permit ($5 per day, or $50 yearly) for parking here and anywhere else within Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Permits are available at park headquarters and at the Anza-Borrego Visitors' Center in Borrego Springs and at widely scattered, clearly marked roadside spots throughout the park.

At mile 32.9, there's a dip where the highway crosses a dry riverbed. This is Palo Verde Wash, named for the palo verde trees that dot its course. On foot, follow this wash generally north (gradually uphill) toward a prominent cut in the mountains ahead -- Palo Verde Canyon. The wash is "braided," consisting of multiple channels cut during past flash floods. Keep close to the middle of the drainage to stay on course.

After 1.3 miles, the canyon walls begin to close in on both sides and travel slows a bit as you're forced to step over more and bigger rocks. (In another 0.2 mile you may spot an obscure trail going up the steep slope to the right. A side trip on this -- an old miner's trail -- would lead you to an old mine tunnel sunk deeply into a prominent vein.)

Progress up Palo Verde Canyon ends after a total of three miles, at which point you'll find yourself in the bottom of a bowl flanked on three sides by sheer walls soaring over 400 feet high. Infrequent flash floods tear through here, probably creating for a brief interval of time a terrific waterfall.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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