The Coachella Valley has plenty to offer both locals and visitors alike…golf, tennis, hot springs, museums, shopping, and of course, hiking. While most people probably don’t associate our local desert as a hiker’s paradise, there are actually dozens of unique trails to challenge those just beginning or those who have been avidly hiking for years. Now that the temperatures have dropped and the daytime highs are hovering in the 60s and 70s, it’s the ideal time to get out on a local trail and experience a new side of our beautiful desert!
The Bump & Grinds Trail – Located in nearby Palm Desert, the Bump & Grinds is a local favorite for a moderate hike that won’t take all day. The 3-mile loop is designated as a moderate hike and offers hikers a glimpse at beautiful wildflowers and panoramic views of Palm Desert and Rancho Mirage. The access is off Painters Path, behind Target in Palm Desert.
Ladder Canyon – Arguably one of the most unique hikes in the Valley is Ladder Canyon in Mecca. The trail includes slot canyons, ladders, and stunning desert views on a 6 ½ mile hike that gains over 100 feet of elevation. The hike begins at the end of a 4-mile long dirt road just past the Salton Sea. Take Highway 111 past the Salton Sea then head thru Mecca on 66th which turns into Box Canyon Road. Turn left onto the dirt road called Painted Canyon Road.
The Indian Canyons – The Indian Canyons are actually three different canyon hikes just outside of downtown Palm Springs. Palm Canyon is a 15-mile trail that winds through a combination of rugged desert landscape and beautiful flora and fauna. Andreas Canyon is an easy walk to an oasis of palms and the flowing creek, a perfect location for a picnic lunch! Murray Canyon offers hikers a moderate trail and the occasional glimpse of native Bighorn Sheep. For more information please visit the Indian Canyons website. (http://www.indian-canyons.com/indian_canyons)
San Jacinto Peak – For those seeking a true challenge the hike to San Jacinto Peak may be just what you’ve been looking for. You will have to take the Palm Springs Tram to from Palm Springs Valley floor to the Mountain station and begin your hike from there. The 10-mile hike will take you away from the crowds near the top of the tram nearly 2500 feet in elevation to the peak of Mount San Jacinto. The be sure to pack plenty of water as there is none available once you begin the hike!
Museum Trail – Another must for hikers of all levels is the Palm Springs Museum Trail Hike. The 2-mile round trip hike gains 850 feet of elevation directly above the Palm Springs Art Museum and offers hikers stunning views of the valley floor. If a longer hike is what you are craving the Museum Trail intersects with the North Lykken Trail which gains more elevation and occasionally offers a glimpse of Big Horn Sheep or the Skyline Trail which takes advanced, serious hikers on a 7 hour one way trip to the peak of Mount San Jacinto. Access to the Museum Trail is located behind the Palm Springs Art Museum at 101 North Museum Drive Palm Springs.