Hiking Palm Canyon – New Year’s Day 2021

As I try to do in the first few days of every year, we hiked the Palm Canyon today.

I always visit the same spot every year and take the annual picture of the “New Palm Grove” I discovered in 2010. You can see some of the history here. The last time I went with Devin on January 1, 2019. Here is the post from that day. I was not there at the beginning of 2020, but I found out in a newspaper article that the grove had burned. Here is the summary from that. Since it was burned, I didn’t try to go last year, fully expecting that the trail would be closed.

But we went today, and I am so glad we did. As always in my pages, you can click to enlarge the pictures.

On the way there, from a lookout, I can never resist taking a picture here of the Anza Borrego desert, as far as the eye can see. In the background on the right, you can make out the Salton Sea as a blue stripe. The dark spot on the left center is the town of Borrego Springs. The picture is taken from over 2,000 feet above the desert floor.

Here is the trailhead. The trail starts here and goes up about a mile and a half.

Here I am at the start of the trail – with my trusty old desert hiking hat that has accompanied me on hikes for 40 years.

Santa brought Trisha a tripod and remote trigger – we’re testing that here. Banana for scale.



The terrain is very rough, and sometimes you get lucky and can spot bighorn sheep here in the mountains. Not today, though.

The only wildlife was us. Here is Trisha with a giant ocotillo plant. If there had been more rain this year, it would be green by now, but it’s been very dry and everything is still dormant.

The trail us rough and covered with boulders, which makes for exciting hiking.

Finally, here is the “new palm grove” that I take a picture of every time I come here. The tiny trees  that were no bigger than my hand in 2010 are now substantial palm trees.

Same picture, but this time with Trisha for scale. The creek, which had water at this time of year in most years, was completely dry today.

And here it is, the large oasis, in all its glory. All the trees are charred from the fire on 2020, but have come back. YES!

This was our endpoint. The trail ends here, and hiking further up the canyon is possible, but extremely rough. The grove itself is now blocked off so it can recover. But here you see the grove the way it looks today.


For comparison, here I am two years ago to the day, on January 1, 2019, when Devin was with me. You can see the same trees, but with age-old “skirts” of old palm fronds which serve as habitat for all kinds of wildlife. The skirts are now gone, the trunks are charred, but the trees have come back. Due to the additional light, the new undergrowth will come in thick in the next few years. And the circle of life has begun again after the blaze.

2 thoughts on “Hiking Palm Canyon – New Year’s Day 2021

  1. Jane Flaherty

    Great pictures and story. This is one of my favorite hikes, and I haven’t been back since the fire. So happy to hear that the grove is recovering! Thanks for sharing and best wishes for a safe, happy and healthy 2021!

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