Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Cool Canyon / Rainbow Canyon - ABDSP

Two of the lesser known and least visited canyons in Anza Borrego Desert State Park are Cool Canyon and Rainbow Canyon. This last weekend I visited both. These canyons are semi slot canyons and reminded me a lot of canyons in Death Valley in that they narrow up and have lots of marbled, swirled types of rock. You can use Cool Canyon as a starting point to climb Granite Mountain, I made a last minute decision to try and get to the top but I stopped at Peak 4624, I just wasn't prepared to go another 1,000' that day.

Rainbow Canyon is another great little canyon that is only a mile or so long and great for a quick hike or family exploration opportunity. If you are camping in Blair Valley and have someone who can drop you off at the canyon mouth you can hike in and over to Blair Valley for about a 5 mile easy going but fun hike.

You can see all of the pictures from Cool Cool Canyon here and Rainbow Canyon here

Here is the entrance to Cool Canyon
Entrance to Cool Canyon

Morteros nearby indicate past Indian occupation in the area
Morteros in Cool Canyon
Morteros in Cool Canyon

Some quality scat entering the canyon
Probably bobcat scat, there was a lot of this type of scat in the canyon.

This appears to be a Hawk Massacre
Hawk massacre

One of many dry falls in the canyon
One of many dry falls in Cool Canyon

Another larger dry fall
Another dry fall further up in Cool Canyon

Some Honeycomb up in the rocks, this was a great find
Large Honeycomb up in the rocks. This was a great find.

My lunch on Peak 4624, you can see Whale Peak straight ahead in the distance
My lunch on peak 4624, Whale Peak is straight ahead in the far distance

Looking back at Peak 4624 as I descended
Looking back up towards peak 4642

After Cool Canyon I headed over to Rainbow Canyon for a quick couple of hours

Here is the entrance to Rainbow Canyon
Starting up Rainbow Canyon

You will almost immediately see the first dry fall, there are many and they are all fun to climb and easy to get over unless you decide to wear Stilettos on your desert hike...
The first dry fall in Rainbow Canyon

Lots of marbled rock in this canyon
The marbling is very cool on the rocks in Rainbow Canyon

Approaching another dry fall
Dry fall in Rainbow Canyon

Looking up thru a section of the canyon
About half way thru Rainbow Canyon

Kitty Kat scat
Kitty Kat Scat, there was a lot of cat scat in the canyon, probably Bobcat

Looking east towards Blair Valley at the saddle area
Looking east at the top of the saddle in Rainbow Canyon. Blair Valley is just on the other side

Here is a narrow section of the canyon
One of the narrow slot sections of Rainbow Canyon

This is looking down probably the largest dry fall, it is actually a "double" dry fall
Looking down one of the larger dry falls in Rainbow Canyon

Download a panorama of Earthquake Valley from Peak 4624 here
View of Earthquake Valley from Peak 4624 near Granite Mtn and Cool Canyon

Both of the canyons are great for a quick 2 mile hike and are family and kid friendly


  1. Nice trip! I've been catching up on all your reports here. You have some awesome hiking trips out in ABDSP. Keep up the good work!

  2. @Borrego Wrangler, Good to see you back! I noticed you dropped off for awhile on your blog

  3. Yeah, I guess having a baby puts everything else on the back burner. I did manage to recently update my blog with my latest trips. Hoping to head out a lot more in the coming months. Thanks.

  4. Hey, I was wondering if I could use your photo, "Panorama of Ocotillo from Sombrero Peak" for a calender submission on another site I'm on. I'll credit the picture to you of course.

  5. I think using the photo would be fine, use the Contact Me page on my blog and send me some more info about it.