Carrizzo Canyon: Oct 2019

Updated: Jan 23

Hike distance: 3.8 miles


When Pam and Pat visited us in October 2019, we were lucky their trip coincided with the annual opening period of Carrizzo Canyon (Oct 1 through Jan 1). This canyon accesses an ecological preserve for the endangered Peninsular Bighorn Sheep. One of the steps that has been taken to protect this population is to close Carrizzo Canyon and several other area trails during both the spring lambing season and the summer season when it's critical the sheep have unencumbered access to their water sources.


The trail started in a sandy wash for a short distance before entering the mouth of the canyon.

Hiking Carrizzo Canyon wash in the Santa Rosa Mountains in Palm Desert CA

The canyon walls rose quickly and dramatically.

Carrizzo Canyon walls rising quickly in the Santa Rosa Mountains in Palm Desert CA

Hiking through Carrizzo was great because you can see the different rock layers piled one on top of another and twisted into odd patterns by the immense force of nature. Rocks bent and twisted as if they were malleable like dough.

Syncline fold in Carrizzo Canyon walls in the Santa Rosa Mountains in Palm Desert CA

It was worth just stopping and taking it all in.

Hiking Carrizzo Canyon in the Santa Rosa Mountains in Palm Desert CA

The canyon became more narrow and we had to scramble over boulders to continue. We reached a fork and headed right.... right into an almost vertical dry waterfall. After some careful consideration, we decided to climbing the rock face to the right of the fall. Pam and Dave were the first to try this route.

A view from the bottom of the dry fall as Pam reached the top. Quite the accomplishment for her first day hiking in CA.

Scaling 30 foot rock ledge in Carrizzo Canyon in the Santa Rosa Mountains in Palm Desert CA

I got an even better perspective and picture when Dave had to climb down at the end of the hike. Pam and Pat way down there looking up at Dave.

Scaling 30 foot rock ledge in Carrizzo Canyon in the Santa Rosa Mountains in Palm Desert CA

We continued hiking toward the canyon overlook for a view of the valley floor.

Hiking Carrizzo Canyon in the Santa Rosa Mountains in Palm Desert CA

For once it was nice to have a picture of Dave and I that didn't involve the camera being propped on a rock with a 10-second time delay.


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