Blog created in partnership with the Meet the Mentor Program. Zoë Woodbury visited Greater Palm Springs in October and shared her experiences below.
For the outdoor lover who enjoys exploring nature and wants to immerse themselves as much as possible during a vacation, Greater Palm Springs has many attractions that feature the unique landscape. From scenic valley hikes to hot mineral springs, Greater Palm Springs is perfect for those who prefer to spend their travels outside. Here are three ways to experience the SoCal terrains that make this place so special.
The world’s largest rotating aerial tramway is a must for your itinerary if you’re looking for beautiful views of Greater Palm Springs. During the journey up the cliffs of Chino Canyon, you’ll have full 360–degree views of the landscape below. The tramcar rotates, so no matter where you’re standing, you won’t miss anything on your way up. Each tram car will take passengers to Mountain Station, located 8,516 feet above sea level, which is close to 24 football fields stacked on top of each other. Each tramcar is spacious enough to fit strollers, and hand railings are available to maintain your balance. One special touch is that the tramcars play music, and you might catch a fun song that will have everyone in the car humming or singing along.
Once you arrive at Mountain Station, you can spend as much or as little time at the summit as you wish — as the tram ride back departs about every 10 minutes. You’ll have access to outdoor activities, dining options, and more than 50 miles of hiking trails. While on the observation decks, enjoy the views and find the best spot to capture the Instagram-worthy picture of your experience. Remember to wear comfortable, sturdy shoes such as sneakers to stay safe while exploring. Whichever activities you plan to enjoy, make sure to bring a warm layer for the peak of the mountain; the temperature at Mountain Station usually ranges 20 to 30 degrees cooler than the valley floor below.
If you’re opting to catch the views while indoors, there are options for you to grab a meal with the mountains all around you. Mountain Station includes Pines Café, Peaks Restaurant, and Lookout Lounge cocktail bar. Regardless of how you spend your time at the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, this experience is a great way to enjoy the natural scenery.
The Indian Canyons is a must-stop for visitors with a passion for the great outdoors. Indian Canyons include Palm Canyon, Andreas Canyon, and Murray Canyon, which are maintained and owned by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. Indian Canyons and Tahquitz Canyon are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and have been home to this tribe for thousands of years. You can embrace the beauty of the desert environment and wildlife with a hike in these canyons that each have unique attributes. In Palm Canyon, you can take in the towering California Fan Palms in the palm oasis, while in Murray Canyon you may spot Peninsular Bighorn Sheep or an endangered Least Bells Vireo bird. If you plan to visit Andreas Canyon you will come across artifacts like mortars dug into boulders by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians that were used to grind plants into food and medicine. These plants still grow in the Canyons today.
The Indian Canyons have an inspiring landscape with unique rock formations, desert sand, and water streams. Take in these features with a hike or horseback ride. Many people visit for a dip in the swimming holes, making the most of their time in the canyons. You can explore the canyons by yourself or have a ranger-lead walking tour. The Palm Canyon trading post allows you to learn more about the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians who once inhabited the canyons. The Indian Canyons are a versatile location for you to spend time outdoors however you’d like to.
For more hiking adventures, see this amazing list of trails in Greater Palm Springs.
Within Desert Hot Springs, the Azure Palm Hot Springs Resort and Day Spa is a great place to benefit from the mineral waters that make this destination so unique. The resort offers mineral hot spring tubs, pools, and relaxing spa treatments with mountain views. An Oasis Day Pass gets you a robe, slippers, and a locker so you don’t need to worry about bringing your own cover up or footwear. The outdoor hot spring tubs are shaded by palms, allowing you to enjoy your soak in a shaded area. These hot spring tubs are similar to classic hot tubs; the difference is that the water is mineral-enriched and pumps from the resort's filtration system. Azure Palm Hot Springs Resort is known to have the hottest mineral water in the region at 174 degrees. The hotter the water, the richer it is with minerals known for healing, restoration, and relaxation. At this resort, you can spend all morning or evening soaking up the sun with additional outdoor areas like the pool, authentic Finnish saunas, crackling fire pits, and a reflexology walk that stimulates the senses. Even the spa reception area is outside so you can enjoy the fresh air and sunlight before your treatment. Being outdoors doesn’t always have to be an adventure. Take some time for a little self-care before returning home in this soothing spa atmosphere, while enjoying the beauty of this SoCal oasis.
Greater Palm Springs has something to offer every nature lover. Whether you’re looking to hike, enjoy wildlife, or relax with a view, these three places are sure to help you appreciate Mother Nature