||Bow Willow/Rockhouse Canyon Loop
See Area D-1:, Trip 4, In-Ko-Pah Mts., in Schad's book (c '99, p.332, map on p. 327) for hike details. *** degree of difficulty out of a possible *****. 7.5 miles roundtrip hike. Elevation gain/loss is about 1100'. Hiking boots are recommended for traversing some of the steeper rocky trails.
This hike is located in the SE part of the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. (Check the Maps page of this website for more directions and a map to print out.) We'll plan to meet there at 11:00 am and start hiking about 11:30.
The parking area for the hike is on the east side of Highway S-2, at Mile 48.4, across from the turnoff in Bow Willow Campground. (There is day parking in the campground, but only room for about 4 vehicles. So, we'll shuttle hikers into the campground from the highway pulloff.) This is about 11.6 miles north of Ocotillo where Highway S-2 meets Interstate 8. This area is about 4 miles north of the Canyon Sin Nombre/Carrizo Badlands Overlook. The large pullout on the east side is almost directly across from the mile-long dirt road into Bow Willow Campground.
This hike takes us on a longer, but fairly easy walk through a steep desert canyon, passing a historic cattleman's cabin along the way. We will leave from the day-use parking within Bow Willow Campground, at mile 48.4 on Highway S2, in southern Anza-Borrego. The hike begins by following Bow Willow Wash to the west. The canyon is known for its dense stands of desert willow. Palm trees also cluster higher in the canyon. About 2.5 miles up Bow Willow Wash we will turn south and cross a low pass in the hills leading into Rockhouse Canyon. Our lunch spot will be the 1930s cattlemen's line shack built against a huge boulder. The shack remains from the years when the large McCain family ranged cattle through the desert canyons during the winter months. Our return to the campground will be a cross-country route that leads between the hills and drops down a short canyon just above where the hike began.