Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, CA: Whale Peak

Climb to a 5,349-foot summit in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park on this 8.2-mile out-and-back.
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Climb to a 5,349-foot summit in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park on this 8.2-mile out-and-back.

California's largest state park is a favorite getaway for local hikers. For bird's-eye views of sprawling desert and neighboring ranges, tackle the 4.1-mile (one-way) route that gains 1,500 feet of elevation and tops out on Whale Peak’s rocky, 5,349-foot summit. On cloud-free days, views extend to the Salton Sea and across the Laguna Mountains.
Note: This route travels off-trail. Route-finding skills and map and compass skills are required.
Info: Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 13.2

Waypoints

WHA001

Location: 33.019603, -116.359726

From the parking area, hike east.

WHA002

Location: 33.017287, -116.348063

Turn left and hike north to Smuggler Canyon.

WHA003

Location: 33.020242, -116.347715

Turn left in the wash and head north-northwest.

WHA004

Location: 33.023121, -116.349978

Keep right, heading north.

WHA005

Location: 33.02532, -116.34971

Bear right, heading northeast.

WHA006

Location: 33.028852, -116.344323

Pick the best route up the canyon.

WHA007

Location: 33.035561, -116.328864

Turn right and leave the wash.

WHA008

Location: 33.03557, -116.327707

The route winds southeast up the slopes of Whale Peak.

WHA009

Location: 33.029426, -116.319187

Crest the ridge just west of the summit. Climb east to reach the peak.

WHA010

Location: 33.029318, -116.316204

Whale Peak (5,349 ft.): On cloud-free days, views extend to the Salton Sea and across the Laguna Mountains. Retrace your route to the parking area.