(Thousand Palms Canyon)
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Distance: 3 miles (roundtrip)
Approximate Time: 2 hours (roundtrip from the trailhead)
This often overlooked tributary of the Coyote Canyon Creek drainage allows fro a fairly easy walk to the reward of a beautiful California Desert Fan Palm grove perched inside the steep walls of this a quiet canyon. The walk begins where the road ends. At first you are hiking up open, sandy wash, scrambling over and around some minor boulders and dry falls. But within a little over a mile you are in the folds of the canyon, and before long you will be drawn into the cooling shade of the palm grove.
There is often a small amount of water in the canyon bottom. The native California Fan Palms (Washingtonia filifera) survive there because of a spring running along a fault which created Coyote Canyon. Exploring the entire palm grove can be a little precarious, as the walls of the canyon are now very sheer and crumbly, but nothing is impossible for the truly determined! Moreover this is a good place for a picnic, or a book or to simply enjoy the hidden wonders of this desert.
The difficult part about this hike is getting there. Salvador Canyon skirts the Collins Valley area of Coyote Canyon. A 4-wheel drive vehicle is required to get over the bypass road from the Lower Willows area. If you choose to hike from the bottom of the bypass road to this destination, you would add another 10 miles (roundtrip) to your hike. Always check the Visitor Center for road conditions before heading into Coyote Canyon or any other destination in the park. To get to Salvador Canyon from Borrego Springs, go east on Palm Canyon Drive, around the Christmas Circle and then turn left on Di Giorgio Road (there is a gas station on that corner).
Follow the road until it becomes dirt and you will soon see the Coyote Canyon entrance signs. From there it is 6 miles to second crossing where you drive across Coyote Creek. It is another mile to third crossing and the bottom of the Lower Willows bypass road. Once over the bypass road and past Santa Catarina Spring, you will be entering Collins Valley. Stay to the right and follow the road towards Middle Willow. In another mile you should see the turnoff to the left that directs you into Salvador Canyon. Follow that to the road end to begin your walk.
Source: Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
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