Panoramic Overlook Trail
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Distance: 1.5 miles
Approximate Time: 1 hour (roundtrip) from trailhead
The Panoramic Overlook Trail offers the Borrego Springs visitor a great view of Borrego Valley and good exercise. The difficulty of this hike is relative; for one person it is a quick 15-minute jaunt to the top, for another person it may be a strenuous 20-minute climb.
The trail begins on the south edge of Borrego Palm Canyon Campground, where it branches of from the Visitor Center to Borrego Palm Canyon trail. A sign, indicating "Overlook Trail," located at the group of 3 fan palms and drinking fountain near campsite #74, directs the hiker westerly toward the mountain.
The first 1/4 mile of trail traverses a sandy plain, dominated by Indigo Bush, creosote bush, and Ocotillo. Then a second sign is reached at the base of the mountain. Now the trail is steep and rocky as it switch-backs up the slope of metamorphic and heavily varnished rock, past a small promontory to the "summit."
The ubiquitous Creosote Bush is still here, but the other shrubs of the plain have given way to Brittlebush. During a good flowering season, the colors can be beautiful. A side trip either to the left or the right along the base of the mountain may yield a number of desert annual flower species, including the much sought-after Ghost Flower (Mohavea confertiflora).
The view is panoramic. To your back lies the steep ridge ascending to 6147 foot San Ysidro Mountain. A sweeping gaze from north through east to south gives one much to contemplate. The mouth of Borrego Palm Canyon (no palms visible) starts it off, and the jutting Indian Head peak towers above the campground. Borrego Palm Canyon Creek exits the mountain as a long, green (in season) thread into the valley.
The ridge line of the Santa Rosa Mountains backdrops Coyote Mountain, which displays its "angel of the rock," a whitish limestone figure that tradition says pointed the way for early explorer Juan Bautista de Anza in 1774. Font's Point, Borrego Mountain and Sunset Mountain complete the distant background, while immediately before you lies much of the town of Borrego Springs, with the park Visitor Center to your right.
The Panoramic Overlook Trail is best hiked early or late in the day, unless it is not warm. There is no shade, and it is steep! Wear sturdy shoes, carry water and do not get caught on it in the darkness without a flashlight.
Source: Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
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