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Palm Canyon - KOFA, AZ

no permit
166 36 1
Guide 36 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Southwest > Quartzsite S
3 of 5 by 18
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 0.85 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,100 feet
Elevation Gain 270 feet
Accumulated Gain 270 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 1 hour
Kokopelli Seeds 2.2
Backpack TBD
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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5  2018-01-28 DbleDutch
4  2017-03-03
KOFA sampler
8  2016-12-10 chumley
5  2016-12-10 Tortoise_Hiker
7  2016-12-10 johnlp
4  2015-01-03 desert_boonie
8  2015-01-03 sbkelley
23  2014-11-07 cdeperro
Page 1,  2,  3
Author joebartels
author avatar Guides 213
Routes 824
Photos 10,825
Trips 4,256 map ( 21,429 miles )
Age 49 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Associated Areas
list map done
Kofa National Wildlife Refuge USFWS
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Feb, Mar, Nov, Dec → 11 AM
Seasons   Late Autumn
Sun  6:21am - 6:40pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Surviving time
by joebartels

Did you know Arizona actually has a few native palm trees? Yes it's true. Palm Canyon is the only place in the entire state with real native live palm trees in their natural habitat!

The featured photo is a close up of the main attraction. The palms are in a narrow slot canyon on a very steep slope. Pick up a brochure and learn the history of the palms. Unfortunately my photography skills are weak at best. To get a nice picture of the palms you need to be here for that half hour the sun peeks into the narrow canyon. The hike is a breeze. I passed several groups of tourist along the way.

On the same day I drove to Palm Springs California to visit Palm Canyon California style. Okay I probably shouldn't say, but Palm Canyon California will blow your mind. Nevertheless this is a great experience. Not to mention it's free and pure enjoyable. In California you pay to peek and the Indian Reservation in charge has signs posted all over about get out by 5pm or you are in big trouble. I'd rather stay in Arizona! These palms have a true rustic look and the steep canyon adds to the experience. Please stay on the trail and leave the palms alone. Enjoy!

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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1998-02-26 joebartels
  • book
    area related
  • 100 Classic Hikes - 2007
    area related
    100 Classic Hikes - 2007
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

Most recent Triplog Reviews
Palm Canyon - KOFA
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Spent the night camped at/in Skull Rock down off Queen Canyon Rd with my daughter and decided to make Palm Canyon the first hike the following morning. Beautiful morning and really cool to see Arizona's only grove of native palms. This one had been on my HAS wish list for many years but was never willing to drive 2-3 hours out into Kofa just for this brief hike. In the end, I got to check this one off my list with the help of my 8-year old daughter (and favorite hiking companion) so it was that much better.
Palm Canyon - KOFA
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KOFA sampler
Started with an early morning ascent of excellent Castle Dome Peak on a very well-cairned and established route that's better than a lot of official trails I've been on, with some fun scrambling and 3rd class near the top. Then Palm Canyon, short and interesting. Then Signal Peak, another good climb to a big summit, also follows a well-established route.

Visited Castle Dome Mining Museum the previous day, its well worth the $10 and a couple of hours.
Palm Canyon - KOFA
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Last time I was here, I was totally drained after hitting the same two peaks we did today. BobP found the way up while I got caught on a climb that I was too tired to attempt comfortably. Today I knew to take the uphill canyon to avoid the climb and made it up to the palms with no problems at all. It's such a unique thing to see here, and I'm glad I made it up to the trees.

Apparently the USFWS Ranger is not a big fan of my driving. :oops:
Palm Canyon - KOFA
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After bagging Summit peak, we decided to relocate for the next day's adventures, and along the way stopped to visit Palm Canyon.

Nice area, but after three days of hiking peaks off-trail, I was a little tired, and ended up turning back at the second climb trying to get up to the Palms. I tried three different attempts, and actually ended up well above where I needed to be, but wasn't able to traverse over safely. My legs were totally spent. So I accepted defeat and headed back to the car.

On the way I looked back up to see Bob on his way back down. Though he made all the climbs on the way up, he informed me that there was a parallel canyon to access the palms without any climbing required.

It was getting dark and we had a camp to set up, so that'll have to wait until next time for me. Oh well.

For anybody who hasn't been here, my photos show the route.
Palm Canyon - KOFA
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The sun was setting on the Kofa Mountains as I was passing through the area, so i turned off of the highway for a first time visit to legendary Palm Canyon...

I moved up the canyon in the last bit of pinkish sunset light, and was struck by how much the Kofa facade resembled the Siphon Draw area in the Superstitions. Only the crunch of gravel beneath my shoes and the occasional chirp of a bat stirred the silent canyon.

The palms were hard to see in the growing darkness, and I climbed the wrong slot before locating the correct one. A well trodden rock slide and the rustle of palm fronds let me know I was on the right path, and fire scorched palm trunks were soon illuminated by my headlamp. Thoroughly enjoying this unique botanical niche, I scrambled higher into the palm grove, taking photos.

Reality set in, and I remembered the long drive awaiting. I scrambled back down to the trail far below in the darkness, and made a quick retreat to the deserted trailhead. Satisfied and thankful to have had the chance to visit this place, I sped off down the gravel road and into the night. It was a small and worthwhile adventure, in a part of Arizona that I had never been to before. :D
Palm Canyon - KOFA
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Kofa Queen Canyon Quartzite AZ
Queen Canyon is next to Palm Canyon located in the Kofa Wilderness area in the Kofa Mountains near Yuma, Arizona. While I didn't find the exact "trail" I'd read about in a guide book, I managed to stay in washes and on a "jeep trail" which allowed for some great scenic views and photo opportunities.
When you are approaching a pinnacle rock (long, upright) stay to the right of the wash. You will come across "Skull Rock"--literally a rock with two eyes and a mouth. Best part of the hike was going into the mouth and taking some pictures of the area from that view. Hiked another mile or so and then turned around and called it a day. All in all, a good 4 hour in and back day hike. I wish I would have found more of an actual trail--but I did find some animal teeth on the way out which was interesting. And such beautiful flora! No sheep today, but maybe next time!
To find this area from Yuma drive about 95 miles North and turn right on Queen Canyon Road. You will come to a parking lot where you turn left towards the canyon. A high clearance vehicle is needed at this point. After about 8 miles you can park your vehicle and begin your hike. A jeep road continues down in the wash if you have a 4WD.
Palm Canyon - KOFA
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Didn't make it to the palms, though I did try. Turned around at the second wall and then spent some time near the "palms" sign. I would have preferred sitting under the actual palms with their leaves rustling in the breeze, but whaterya' gonna' do.

While I do enjoy the scenery along I-10 from Buckeye to Quartzsite, along with the hike, it seems better suited for a side-trip when you're already in the area.
Palm Canyon - KOFA
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Really a cool hike. Took my wife, two daughters and one of their friends. A little brisk today. Wind kept the Temps down to the mid 50's. We were able to hit the Palms while they were still in the sun ( between 1-3 pm). There are so many caves and things to see. It is worth taking the time on this seeming short hike.
Palm Canyon - KOFA
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I decided to take my kids to do a southwest hike before the weather got too hot, we were not disappointed. Dragging kids out of bed to get on the road by a specified time is almost harder than a 5.0 difficulty hike! For some reason all the rpomises made the day before go out the window at 7:30AM on a Saturday morning. As stated in the directions on this site, it was 18 miles south on Highway 95 from I10 to the Palm Canyon turnoff. This sign only gives you about a 25 yard notice so go slowly when around the 18 mile distance. Once we were on the turnoff and drove toward the short little hike up into the canyon, all disparaging remarks ceased. I took several pictures and put some up on this site. We hiked a very short while, probably a half a mile to get to what appeared to be the end of the trail with a single sign in hte shape of an arrow stating "Palms". You could stand there and look way up onto the side of the cliff and look at them off in the distance, or you could hike up the cliff. My daughter stayed behind as my sons and I hiked up the narrow trail and into some steep tight spots but nothing impassible. Once we got up to the palms you could see a spectacular view looking down and out away from them and the sheer rock cliffs were awesome. The little cove where the native palms thrive is a beautiful little microcosm of an extreme eastern edge of California wilderness overflowed into Arizona, as if by nature just to prove man-made borders are artificial. My son ponted out while we rested by the palm sign after the hike down that there was a huge gouge in one of the eastern cliffs as if it had fallen out of the cliff during some geological event, but where the remnants of the cliff ended up was not visibly apparent. Maybe it rolled down into the valley or broke up and became part of the rocky ground leading up to the palm cove. During the hake back you can see the entire valley looking west and near in the distance you can see what appears to be an Egyptian pyramid with two little ones next to it. This intrigued me so I took several pictures looking out that way. On the drive back we decided to have lunch and found a small little Mexican place continuiing north a little bit off the throughfare through Quartzite name La Casa. It was a nice little place with a vary diverse menu, however we had to scrap to keep what little cash I had under the budget as they do not take credit cards so beware, nor do they have beer. However they did take personal checks so that allowed me to get a meal along with my kids. When back on the main throughfare getting back to I10, we found there was another place that would have suited our needs named Taco Mio, but we didn't stop in. The drive from Glendale took about 2 hours and most of it was freeway. The dirt road leading up to the trail head was in excellent condition. There were very few people on the trail, we only ran into 7 other people besides ourselves however there were more cars there than could be explained for the few people so I assumed there were people camping there. At the parking site next to the trail head there was a sign leading to trails indicating camping was near but I didn't follow the trail (which split into two) to the end. I should have because there may hae been trails leading to the weird looking hills to the north of the parking lot so maybe longer hiking trails are available, I don't know. This was definately worth the trip. The two complaining kids were all smiles after all was said and done and I was able to log a southwest hike. Now all that is left for me to do to complete the compass wheel is a northwest hike, but I have all summer to do one now since the weather north will be more tolerable during the summer.

Permit $$

Map Drive
FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

To hike
From Quartzite follow Highway 95 18 miles South to the signed turnoff for Palm Canyon. Follow this fine dirt road 9 miles to the parking area.
3 pack - loud whistle
safety first
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