Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Finding Maidenhair Falls in Hellhole



When we were in Anza Borrego two years ago we hiked through Hellhole Canyon, one of the more popular hikes in the park just a couple miles from Borrego Springs. We never did find the waterfall despite some serious scrambling but this time we were bound and determined to locate it. And we did, although there was not much more than a trickle of water. This hike is not really about the waterfall, though, it’s in the fun of actually getting there.


The easy, sandy, gradual climb for the first mile or so soon turns into route-finding as you make your way deep into the canyon. This entails lots of rock scrambling and pushing on through thorny brush. The bonus is that there are several stands of palms and other vegetation that provide some shade along the way.



Now it starts getting interesting.




Taking a break among the palms, and trying to figure out which way to go next.




Suzanne, Jim, Chris and Mark checking out the views as we get higher into the canyon.




After the falls at around 2.5 miles we pushed on a little farther but finally came to a point where it became much more difficult to continue. Chris had enough and relaxed on a rock while waiting on us to come back. This is a really fun and challenging hike.


Gaelyn asked if there were any flowers blooming in Anza Borrego yet but so far there is not a lot of color. Guess we’re just a little too early.

Anza Borrego, 2016

Later that afternoon we were joined for happy hour by Steven and Linda (The Chouters and Scoopy). They’ve been fulltiming for about a year and a half, and If anyone remembers the blog Semi-True Tales of Our Life on the Road, they are the ones who purchased Odel and Laurie’s motorhome when they came off the road in 2013. We had a nice time chatting until the sun went down, when it quickly became way too cold to sit outside.

Gathering for a group selfie. Steven, Linda, Bobbie, Mark, Chris, Suzanne and Jim.


Almost time to go in when Mark and Bobbie needed blankets.


The following day we took a day of rest from hiking and hung around home doing some exterior cleaning and going through the rest of the storage bins we didn’t get to on our last cleaning spree. It’s a never ending battle.


  1. Well I can sure see how you missed the waterfall last time. What I don't see is how you found it this time. Doesn't look like a trail. Hope you had a map but what are you being warned about?? A truer statement was never made than your last one. I think things multiply in those bins. Can't figure out how I ever managed with an entire house.

  2. We missed that hike. We love that area but not sure if we will travel that far west again. Enjoy the gorgeous surroundings.

  3. Replies
    1. You would think Colorado people would be of hardy stock.

  4. Thanks for the flower report. Can't believe those Coloradans are cold in the desert.

  5. So glad you found it!! Second time must be the charm:) Thank goodness for the trickle of water we heard or we would never have found it.

  6. I've been to the waterfall but not beyond.It's a neat hike!

    I was wondering about the flowers too. I've read recently about flowers already blooming around Joshua Tree! We will be in that area in mid March for a few days I hope we'll see a few flowers!

  7. We did the "treasure hunt" for those falls several years ago. Fun hike, and yes, it was somewhat of a challenge to find the falls! Like Pam and John, we found our way following the sound of the water trickling over the rocks.