Rock Tanks Loop
ElevationAscent: 1,246' 380 m
Descent: -1,201' -366 m
High: 2,011' 613 m
Low: 871' 265 m
GradeAvg Grade: 7% (4°)
Max Grade: 39% (21°)
Popular hikes nearby
Font's Point Route
11.8 mi 19.0 km • Loop • 925 ft Ascent 281.84 m Ascent
Palm Canyon Loop
3.0 mi 4.8 km • Point to Point • 488 ft Ascent 148.87 m Ascent
Split Mountain Loop
13.8 mi 22.2 km • Loop • 1,369 ft Ascent 417.25 m Ascent
4.2 mi 6.8 km • Loop • 533 ft Ascent 162.5 m Ascent
Stonewall Peak Loop
5.3 mi 8.5 km • Loop • 971 ft Ascent 296.08 m Ascent
5.4 mi 8.7 km • Out and Back • 1,559 ft Ascent 475.14 m Ascent
Navigate on-trail with our free app
“A partial loop that visits an unexpected water source.”— Matthew Kidd
Park at mile 32.9 along highway S-22 in a sandy parking area. Strike out across the desert northward across the braided Palo Verde wash. There is no trail in this section. Keep in mind that north is about forty five degrees clockwise of S-22. Avoiding straying into the smaller canyon to the northeast perpendicular to S-22, even though this feels natural. After about a mile, you'll come to Palo Verde Canyon proper, a clear cut in the mountains. The canyon gradually narrows.
At 33.314550, -116.179200, which is about 1.7 miles in (though it could be a shorter or longer depending on your route across the wash), look for a minor trail going straight up the rock on the right, marked by cairns. Follow the cairns for 1.3 miles over an old Indian trail, keeping above a small wash on your left. This will bring you to Smoke Tree Canyon.
The natural rock tanks begin at 33.319400, -116.162300, very close to the drop into Smoke Tree Canyon, the start of the northeastern spur on the loop. With tenacity, you can made it to the fifth rock tank after which it becomes challenging to proceed further. Head back and exit through Smoke Tree Canyon, a straightforward 3 miles to SR-22.
Similar to most Anza-Borrego hikes, November to April is best, but it is ideal to do this route in the spring after a period of rain.
Hiked this trail?
We need help with the following missing trail information:
Family Friendly, ADA Accessible, Need to Know, Dogs Allowed, Flora & Fauna, History & Background
Land Manager: California State Parks - Anza-Borrego Desert State Park