There’s no doubt that one of the best ways to experience Greater Palm Springs is to get outdoors and, well, experience it! With dozens of hiking trails sprinkled throughout the oasis, the perfect trail is just waiting to be discovered. Check out these top hikes for experiences ranging from romantic to scenic, and don’t forget to check out www.hikingingps.com for a full look at all the hiking trails Greater Palm Springs has to offer.
If you love being rewarded with a view once you’ve reached the peak of the trail, try the Homestead Trail (also known as “The Cross Hike”) in Palm Desert. This hike is worth timing around sunset: not only do you get to watch the sky turn pink against the mountains as you ascend, but you’ll also see the twinkling lights of Greater Palm Springs below once you make it to the peak.
One of the best perks to a desert hike is the spectacular view of the oasis—and these two hikes offer fantastic scenery for your journey. First up is the Andreas Canyon Trail, located at the base of the San Jacinto Mountains. Meticulously preserved by the Agua Caliente tribe, this trail transports hikers back to a time when the Cahuilla Indians made this area their home. See larger-than-life rock formations that once provided shelter for the tribe, discover streams and palm oases, and keep an eye out for local birds that call the area home.
A second option for scenic views is the McCallum Trail at the Coachella Valley Preserve in Thousand Palms. A flat hike accessible by most, this trail takes visitors under towering palm trees into a surprisingly lush area of greenery along well-maintained paths. Emerge from the jungle-like greens and find yourself in a sharp contrast of desert surroundings before coming to the gem at the end of the trail: a tranquil palm oasis. The pool is refreshed by water that springs up from the San Andreas Fault below, and make no mistake—the fault line creates incredible mountain backdrops for this hike.
A Romantic Experience
Looking for an escape into nature that sets the tone for your romantic stay in the oasis? Pack a picnic and head to the Tahquitz Canyon Trail, nestled at the base of the San Jacinto Mountains. Not only will you and your sweetie enjoy views of incredible rock formations and the sounds of trickling streams as you make your way into the canyon, but you’ll discover a romantic sight at the trail’s end: a 60-foot waterfall, the perfect backdrop for a picnic for two in the canyons.
Sure, hiking is fun—but it can also be a great workout for the serious hiker. If you’re looking to sweat outdoors, head to Palm Desert to get your heart rate up on the popular Bump & Grind Trail. Opt for the path on the right for an easier route up, or head to the left to really get your heart pumping on switchbacks and steep inclines.
If your pup shares your love for outdoor adventure, why not bring Fido along for a dog-friendly hike in Greater Palm Springs? A favorite among hikers and dogs alike, the Whitewater Canyon Loop Trail at Whitewater offers stunning views of the desert’s natural landscape. Located just outside Palm Springs, this not-too-challenging trail is known for its river views and abundance of springtime wildflowers.
A Long Trek
Love a challenge? Then grab your gear and embark on one of the longest hikes the oasis has to offer: the Skyline Trail. Also known as the Cactus to Clouds hike, this nearly 19-mile trek is the ultimate test of your hiking prowess. Start on the desert floor and climb more than 10,000 feet to the summit, where you’ll be rewarded with sweeping views of San Jacinto Peak and Greater Palm Springs below. The best part of finishing this Goliath of a hike? No need to climb down—simply hitch a ride on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway!