Greater Palm Springs has some of the best hiking in the world. From backcountry trails to easily accessible routes, all of them have something uniquely beautiful to offer. We found four of the best family- friendly hikes in our Oasis of natural beauty, all of which are easy treks and four miles or less.
Hike #1: Bear Creek Trail, La Quinta
The Bear Creek Trail is actually a more “urban” walk along the western edge of the City of La Quinta. With pavement under foot, the Bear Creek Trail is perfect for the whole family; four-legged members are also welcome. It’s three miles in one direction, and you can hit the trailhead from multiple spots along the route and get the same breathtaking views. This popular trail is bordered by the Fred Wolff Nature Preserve, where desert plants like creosote and Palo Verde are marked for a learning experience along the way.
Hike #2: Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve
The Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve has some less demanding hikes, yet offers a real desert Oasis experience. Find yourself in a wonderland of towering palms and bubbling creeks. The San Andreas Fault has caused a fracture which forces water up through the cracks to feed the palm trees. There are four large palm groves to experience here, all surrounded by desert canyons, hills, washes and mesas. You can get the full desert experience in an hour or two.
Hike #3: Big Morongo Canyon Preserve
The Big Morongo Canyon Preserve, just a 15-minute drive from Palm Springs, is a unique hiking experience. The 29,000 protected acres are lush with vegetation, from cottonwoods to red willows and huge cattails that sprout from the ponds. The preserve is home to more than 250 bird species. Stop off for a rest along the three-mile loop at one of the many perfectly perched benches and bring along a picnic.
Hike #4: Whitewater Canyon Preserve
Whitewater Canyon Preserve is an amazing canyon and riverbed experience. The 2,000-acre preserve is an important wildlife corridor, and vertical cliffs and canyons provide a rich habitat for endangered bird species, Bighorn sheep, deer and even bears. Choose a shorter path and spend the day relaxing by the calm waters or feeding the fish at the trout-filled pond. Just ask the ranger for a cup of fish food.