Hellhole Canyon

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California, United States, North America
Spring, Fall, Winter
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Hellhole Canyon
Created On: Sep 20, 2009
Last Edited On: Oct 12, 2009


Approximately two hours east of San Diego Hellhole canyon is located in Anza Borrego State Park. It is probably the 2nd most popular trail next Palm Canyon Trail. Because this is in a "Desert State Park" it is best hiked in Late Fall, Winter and Early Spring

Hellhole Canyon

The trail starts out as a flat dry desert floor hike that was formerly a dirt road. In the spring the desert floor is adorn with beautiful wildflowers.
Hellhole Canyon
Hellhole Canyon
Hellhole Canyon

Hellhole Canyon

About 1.2 miles the canyon slowly starts to envelop you. Rocks turn into boulders after awhile one is actually scrambling over these large boulders and some fallen trees.

Hellhole Canyon

One will be amazed of the large shady palms, sycamores, and cottonwoods that grow in this desert wonderland. As the canyon squeezes in even tighter one will stumble into the first of two waterfalls in this desert oasis.

Hellhole Canyon

Hellhole Canyon

The first waterfall is very beautiful in the spring time but is not the final destination. Scurry up the steep boulder strewn canyon (Tends to be slightly challenging with a large pack) and you will come to a flattened area with a small clearing. A nice place to set up camp if one is spending the night.
Hellhole Canyon

Hellhole Canyon

Hellhole Canyon

From there only about 100 yards up is Maidenhair Falls. Tucked in amongst a lush grotto is a twenty foot waterfall. The falls are adorn with maidenhair fern and moss. For most travelers this is the turn around spot to end this 4.8 mile roundtrip trek into the beautiful oasis. For those who want more rock climbing/bouldering the canyon continues up several more miles over very rough terrain.

Getting There

From Borrego Springs, follow Palm Canyon Drive (Highway S22) west to Montezuma Highway and turn left to remain on S22. Roughly 0.7 miles ahead is the large trailhead parking area on the right hand side.

Red Tape

Parking for this trailhead is free. There are three campground areas in the State Park that do charge a day use fee. There have been Mountain Lions that frequent the area. If one encounters a mountain lion be sure to act "Large", yell and shout and don't run from it (They will catch you).


There are three campground areas in Anza Borrego State Park. Backcountry camping is also allowed within the park. Also, fires must be contained in metal containers. Firewood must be hauled in and ashes hauled out.

Other Info

Remember, even though this place is very beautiful it is still the Desert. Bring plenty of water because dehydration can occur very quickly here even when it is cool. Pay attention to flash flood warnings. Flash floods have swept through several of the canyons in years past.

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tarol - Jun 4, 2011 7:08 am - Voted 9/10

Need to attach to AB page

This needs to be attached to the Anza-Borrego page



gfaulkner - Jan 12, 2015 3:14 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Need to attach to AB page

Thanks have added it to the the Anza page.

Viewing: 1-2 of 2

Hellhole Canyon

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