Guide to the Best Hiking Trails Near & In Palm Springs, CA
Palm Springs California - Go Hiking - Enjoy the Trails! - Things to do in Palm Springs
Local Guide for Some of the Most Popular Hiking Trails
in the Palm Springs California Area
Palm Springs has an abundance beautiful hiking trails, home to some of the best in Southern California and the United States, offering a full range of outdoor vistas for enjoying the Palm Springs desert area's scenic outdoors and natural beauty.Since the early 1890's the greater Palm Springs area has been described as a recreation oasis. Enjoy easy hiking trails for quick recreational hikes, as well as more challenging trails for experienced hikers. Here you will find detailed information about the most popular Palm Springs hikes, ranging from 30 minutes to several hours. Remember to hike safely, with a companion, use sunscreen and bring plenty of water with you! Also make sure that the weather and outdoor temperatures are appropriate for your hike.
Indian Canyon Trails
Directions to get to the Indian Canyons hiking trails in Palm Springs, take South Palm Canyon from Highway 111 and drive about two miles to the Indian Canyons tollgate. There are signs posted to help you find your way. Indian Canyon in Palm Springs offers six hiking trails:
Murray Canyon Trail
Gorgeous Snowcapped Murray Canyon, Palm Springs, Ca., in the Winter Months
Length: 2 to 6 miles
After entering the Indian Canyons, take the road to the right up to the parking area. After parking, follow the signs to the trailhead.
The Murray Canyon trail is a moderately difficult hike that gives the hiker more of a challenge than Andreas Canyon. It will take you further and higher into the San Jacinto mountains than the Andreas Canyon Trail, and it is abundant in California fan palms and other desert vegetation. This makes it a nice change from so many of the other Palm Springs area hikes. Lucky visitors may catch a glimpse of the endangered Peninsular Big Horn Sheep, mule deer or other wild animals roaming the grounds above the canyons.
The trail wanders through the canyon and along the stream for a lot of the journey, so be extra careful when ever there is strong or high runoff as the rocks can be very slippery.
Andreas Canyon Trail
Length: About 2 miles
After entering the Indian Canyons, take the road to the right up to the parking area. After parking, follow the signs to the trailhead.
The Andreas Canyon Trail is an easy trail that takes the hiker up the right side of the canyon, following a stream that wanders through groves of California fan palms.
During warm weather the stream is a welcome sight to hikers and provides some relief from the desert heat.
The canyon is a stark contrast to the usual desert hiking trail due to the abundant vegetation that grows along the stream. One almost feels like they are in a "jungle" environment, instead of desert.
If you look closely, you will also see many different birds and other animals, along with countless insects. The contrasting greens of the magnificent fan palms and more than 150 species of plants within a half-mile radius beckon the desert-weary traveler to this lush oasis. After hiking about one mile, the hiker comes to a wire fence that signals the end of the trail. At this point you can cross the stream and return via the other side of the canyon, or you can return the way you came.
The left side of the canyon gives the hiker a view of the canyon from above it a little, and is very much worth the effort.
Palm Canyon Trail
Length: 1/2 mile to 15 miles long, depending on how far you want to hike.
After entering the Indian Canyons, continue on the main road for about 2 miles to the Trading Post. Park in the spaces provided and follow the signs down the canyon to the trailhead.
After walking down the paved trail that leads from the Trading Post, continue to the right up into the canyon. You will be treated to abundant groves of Palm Trees and other desert vegetation, as well as many different types of fascinating desert wildlife. Continue hiking upstream for about 1/2 mile where you will cross over the streambed and head up the left side of the canyon. After about another half of a mile, you will come to an intersection. To continue further up the Palm Canyon Trail turn right and cross over the creek. Here you will begin to climb above the oasis. If you are prepared and willing, you can continue up this trail for 15 miles where it intersects Highway 74 south of Pinon Pines. However, don't try this unless you are in extremely good shape and have proper provisions. If you are not into hiking the full 15 miles to Pinon Pines, Palm Canyon offers many other trails that will give the hiker beautiful views of the oasis, waterfalls, and the beautiful rugged San Jacinto mountains with the Santa Rosa mountains in the distance. Some of the favorite destinations in Palm Canyon include "Lost Paradise ", and "Bullseye Rock".
Be sure to visit the trading post for hiking maps, refreshments, Indian artifacts, books, jewelry, pottery, baskets, hiking sticks and conversation.
Maynard Mine Trail
Length: Approximately 6 miles
Go to the Indian Canyons, and take the road that leads to Andreas Canyon. After parking, cross the bridge to the left and follow the signs to the Maynard Mine Trail.
The Maynard Mine trail is a rugged uphill climb that leads to the remains of an old tungsten mine that was worked during WWII by Jim Maynard. From the beginning, this trail climbs up the mountain without stopping. At times the trail is a little hard to follow, but you should be able to keep on it if you are careful. After about three miles of uphill climbing you will reach a ridge that overlooks the canyon to the right. At that point you will have gained about 2,200 feet in elevation. To continue on, descend about half of a mile into the canyon, where you will find what remains of the mine. When ready, return by the same trail. By the time you reach your car you will be tired, but you will have been treated to many wonderful views of the canyons, the Coachella Valley, and the mountain peaks beyond.
Fern Canyon Trail
Length: 10 miles, though actual length of Fern Canyon is 4 miles, but you have to hike on either the Palm Canyon Trail or the Wild Horse Trail to reach it.
To reach this trail, follow the directions for the Garstin Trail (or you can reach it from the Palm Canyon Trail). Once on the Garstin, proceed for about 2 miles and follow the sign for the Wild Horse, Berns, and Shannon trails. Shortly you will come to a Y in the trail, keep right until you reach the trailhead sign for the Fern Canyon, Vandeventer, Hahn, Buena Vista, and Palm Canyon trails. Just keep following the Trailhead signs until you reach the Fern Canyon Trail.
The trail will lead you to a beautiful plateau, which is noted for beautiful wildflowers in the spring time. Follow the trail towards Palm Canyon, and you will be rewarded with a lush palm oasis at the foot of a giant boulder, covered with dripping water and gorgeous ferns. From here you can either backtrack the way you came, or continue into Palm Canyon and the Indian trading post.
Length: 3 miles roundtrip. Actual length of the Victor Trail is about 1 mile, but you have to hike on the Palm Canyon Trail to reach it.
To get to the trailhead, use the directions to the Indian Canyons, then continue along the main road until reaching its end at two large parking lots near the Palm Canyon Indian Trading Post. To reach the trailhead, walk east from the Trading Post to end of the "overflow" parking lot, continue north where the trail is evident, cross the stream, and continue to the confluence of washes. The Victor Trail sign is located just south and up the slope.
This trail loop combination (Victor Trail/Palm Canyon Trail) offers some fantastic views of the Indian Canyons. You will see a lot of rough steep canyons, cactus, lush-green palm-treed oases, and the ever beautiful San Jacinto Mountains as you make your way along the trail. The trail is very rugged along the way, (especially the Victor Trail), and it has the usual loose rocky feel of the trails in the area.
for Palm Springs Indian Canyons:
- Adults: $9.00
- Seniors (62+): $7.00
- Children (6-12): $5.00
- Students: $7.00
- Military: Free
- Equestrian: $11.00
Ranger led hikes are available for an additional charge of $3 for Adults and $2 for Children. Register at Palm Canyon. Tours are Approximately 1.5 hours and are 1 mile in length.
Daily 10:00 AM Palm Canyon
1:00 PM Andreas Canyon
Season Passes & Group Rates available in all categories.
Free Ranger talks: Monday - Thursday 10:00 a.m, and 1:00 p.m
Open Daily: October 1 - July 4
Fall/Winter: 8:00am to 5:00pm
Prices and hours subject to change.
Weekends Only: July 5 - September 20
8:00am to 5:00pm
Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians
For More Information about the Palm Springs Indian Canyons - Phone (760)323-6018
Desert Adventures Eco Tours & Events
The famous Red Jeep tour company is proud to be the longest running and most respected tour company in the Greater Palm Springs Area. That's because their quality and service are unmatched. When you book a tour with Desert Adventures, you are guaranteed to visit the most scenic viewpoints, best points of interest, and have one of the most memorable, entertaining and involving experiences of your life!
Why Desert Adventures is #1:
- Most Experienced: They've been in business over 25 years. That's longer than any other tour company. They are the most respected operator in the area.
- Best Guides: They have the most highly trained and knowledgeable guides. Most guides have been with them 15+ years. Their guides constantly update their information to make sure it is accurate and relevant.
- Most in-depth tours: You will spend quality time at your destination on your tour. You will visit the most amazing points of interest while your expert guide explains secrets and little know facts.
- All-inclusive pricing: Their tours includes park entrance fees and meal packages are available. There are never any hidden costs or fees.
- Eco-friendly touring: They practice responsible eco-tourism, including a "Take Only Memories, Leave Only Footprints" philosophy. Select tours use eco-friendly CNG-powered, climate-controlled vehicles.
- Many tours are available including Indian Canyons, San Andreas Fault, Joshua Tree National Park and more!
Address: 74-794 Lennon Place, Suite B,
Palm Desert, CA 92260
Toll free: 1-888-440-5337
The Araby Trail Palm Springs
Length: About 6 miles
The Araby trail can be accessed either at the entrance to the Rimcrest/Southridge resdential development, or via the Berns, Henderson, and Garstin Trails. If starting from the Rimcrest/Southridge Road, the trail can be found on the left (east) side of the road, before you get to the guard gate on Southridge Road. Park in the dirt on the right side of the road immediately after turning onto the Rimcrest-Southridge road from E. Palm Canyon.
This trail gives the hiker great views of the Coachella Valley, and you get to hike right past Bob Hope's house! It is a fairly easy hike from the start at the Rimcrest/Southridge gate to Bob Hope's house. You can forget about buying one of those postcards of Bob Hope's house, instead send your friends one that you took while hiking right next to it! After you hike up the Araby past Bob Hope's house, you can continue up the trail for access to the Berns, Garstin, and Henderson Trails. There are no picnic tables, but there are plenty of rocks to sit on and enjoy the view of the Coachella Valley while you take a well-deserved lunch break.
The Garstin Trail
Length: 2 miles (4 miles round trip)
To get to the Garstin Trail, take Palm Canyon Drive South to Bogert Trail. Turn left on Bogert Trail and follow it to the bridge that crosses the wash. Park on the little street to the left, just after the bridge. The trailhead is located at the end of that short street.
The Garstin Trail immediately goes uphill, and winds up Smoke Tree Mountain with a series of switch backs. It rises to a plateau connecting with the Shannon, Berns, Wild Horse, and Eagle Canyon Trails. It offers magnificent panoramic views of the Canyon Country Club area, the San Jacinto and Little San Bernardino Mountains, Palm Canyon, and Palm Springs. Once at the top you are also rewarded with great views of Cathedral City, and the eastern Coachella Valley.
At the top of the Garstin Trail, there is a trail junction that can connect you with the trails mentioned above, as well with the Wild Horse Trail which can be used to climb Murray Hill (elevation 2,210 feet), the highest peak in the immediate area.
The Murray Hill hike is strenuous, but well worth it. To get to Murray Hill, follow the Garstin to the junction of the Wild Horse Trail.
The junction is shortly after you reach the plateau of Smoke Tree Mountain at the top of the Garstin. Take the Wild Horse Trail and follow the trailheads that lead you to the Clara Burgess Trail. Keep to the left when you reach the junction of the Wild Horse and the Fern Canyon Trail, and follow that trail up to the top of Murray Hill.
This is a hard hike, but well worth it, as you are rewarded with fantastic views of the Coachella Valley from the top of Murray Hill.
The Berns Trail
Length: 2 miles
To get to the Berns trail, use the directions for either the Araby Trail, or the Garstin Trail depending on which direction you wish to hike. The Berns Trail acts as a connector between the Garstin, Araby, Shannon and Eagle Canyon.
The Berns trail starts at the top of the Garstin Trail and winds northeasterly over the top of Smoketree Mountain until it intersects the Araby Trail. Of course, if you start hiking at the beginning of the Araby Trail, then you can use the Berns Trail to connect with the Garstin.
Enjoy the solitude of the Berns trail as you descend into the canyon that separates the top of the Garstin and the top of the Araby trail. You will be rewarded with views of desert wildlife, and some very interesting rock formations. Construction of the Berns Trail was sponsored by friends of Charlie Berns, and opened in 1972.
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The Palm Springs Museum Trail
Length: 1 1/2 miles
Address: 101 N Museum Dr., Palm Springs, CA 92262
To reach this trail, go to the corner of the Palm Springs Art Museum's north parking lot.
The Palm Springs Museum Hiking Trail rises above the city of Palm Springs, and offers spectacular views of Palm Springs mountains, downtown, and of the beautiful desert of the Coachella Valley. From the west section of parking lot at the Museum, the trail is marked showing the entrance. To the top of the trail is a good, hard, uphill hike. When you finally reach the picnic tables at the top you will be ready for a rest.
The Palm Springs museum trail intersects with the North Lykken trail, and you can hike down into Chino Canyon, or you can take the North Lykken to Ramon Road and walk back to the Palm Springs Art Museum from there (or you can use two cars and have one waiting at the bottom on Ramon Road).
Many hikers take their dogs on the Palm Springs Museum hiking trail, also known as the Golf Course trail because this hiking trail is adjacent to and overlooks the historic and beautiful O'Donnell Golf Club in Downtown Palm Springs.
The Clara Burgess Trail
Length: 3.5 miles
The trail can be reached by equestrians and hikers via the Wildhorse Trail or from the top of the Eagle Canyon Trail. To reach the Wildhorse Trail you can follow the directions for the Garstin Trail and follow the fork to the right down into the valley seen from the top of the Garstin. From there just follow the Trailhead signs that lead you to the Wildhorse, and then the Clara Burgess Trail.
This trail takes you to the top of Murray Hill with a spectacular 360 degree view of the Coachella Valley and Little San Bernardino Mountains. This is one very rewarding hike as you will have a beautiful view of the Coachella Valley from the top of Murray hill. This is a very strenuous hike if you plan on going all the way to the top of Murray Hill. Take plenty of water with you on this hike, as well as some food for energy. There are picnic tables at the top of Murray Hill which are a great place to have lunch and enjoy the view and solitude before heading back down.
The North Lykken Trail
Length: 1 1/2 miles
The North Lykken Trail can be accessed from the west end of Ramon Road. Follow Ramon Road till it ends at the mountain, and you will see the trailhead off to the right. Park on the side street off Ramon Road.
The trail will lead you about a mile and a half where you will find the picnic tables that are also accessible from the Museum Trail that leads from the Palm Springs Museum.
It is a moderately strenuous hike, but the views of Palm Springs and Tahquitz Canyon make it worthwhile. If you are really feeling good you can continue on the Lykken by heading around the corner of the mountain past the picnic tables. From there the trail will take you down into Chino Canyon. The trail will wander through the wash and take you up the other side to another set of picnic tables. There you can either turn around and go back (climbing back up the other side is rough after all this hiking), or you can leave a second car on Cielo Road and you can just take a short walk down from the picnic tables to your car. The trail is a little steep here, and the footing is loose, so be careful. Cielo Road can be reached by following Vista Chino Road to Via Norte. Turn right on Via Norte then left on Chino Canyon Road. Veer left onto Panorama Road, then left again on Cielo. Once you turn off Via Norte, the streets are rather narrow, so drive carefully. Park at the end of Cielo road. If you decide to start your hike from the North end of the Lykken on Cielo Road, be advised the trail is steep and the footing is a little loose, so be careful.
The South Lykken Trail
Length: 3.5 miles
The north end of this trail starts at the end of Mesquite Road. You will have to park down by Palm Canyon and walk to the trailhead. There is a Tahquitz Canyon visitors at the end of the road, but you cannot park there if you are hiking the South Lykken Trail. As you walk up Mesquite you will pass a mobile home park on the left, and a big house on the right. Continue up the road, and the trailhead is right where the road turns right toward the Visitors Center. The south end of this trail is accessed by going up South Palm Canyon Drive about 1½ miles south of Highway 111. You know you are there when you pass the last of the condos and houses on the right just before the open fields. Park along the curb and proceed up the right-hand side of the dyke to the trailhead; there is a sign pointing the direction. There are picnic tables at both north and south end of this trail.
This is a moderate hike, and will take you about 40-45 minutes at a medium pace. From there, you can turn around and go back, or continue on to the south end of the trail. If you do this, you may want to leave a shuttle car at the south end of the trail. If you choose to do this the trail is mostly downhill from the picnic tables if you are going from the north end to the south end, and the hike will take about two hours. When you hike the north end of this trail, you will be rewarded with fantastic views of Palm Springs, the Coachella Valley, and down into Tahquitz Canyon.
Important Note: All Palm Springs Hiking information listed here is provided as a courtesy. Information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Hiking is at your own risk.