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HIKING & ROCK CLIMBING IN GREATER PALM SPRINGS

There are many trails to hike in the Indian Canyons. Along the way, you’ll find stunning views of jagged cliffs and waterfalls and feast your eyes on the largest oasis of Washingtonia filifera palm trees in the world. Be sure to look out for the hidden hot springs, which are often only 2 or 3 feet wide and easily mistaken for large puddles. (The faint smell of sulfur gives them away.)

At Whitewater Preserve there are more than 2,800 acres to explore and a year-round flow of the Whitewater River. You’ll also encounter part of the Pacific Crest Trail, the famous trek that runs from Mexico to Canada.

In the mood for a great workout? The Bump and Grind Trail is a 3-mile hike that begins behind the Desert Crossing shopping center in Palm Desert. You’ll gain almost 1,000 feet in elevation (hence the name), but you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the valley.

For experts only: The extremely challenging Skyline Trail, also known as the Cactus to Clouds hike, begins on the desert floor and takes you more than 10,000 feet (and 19 miles) to the summit, with zero shade.

Just outside the Coachella Valley lies an otherworldly park featuring striking rock formations and twisted tree trunks sculpted by wind, water, and the dry heat of the high desert. Joshua Tree National Park, a 1,250-square-mile expanse of wilderness, provides plenty of opportunities for hiking, rock climbing, and camping, not to mention some of the best stargazing you’ll ever see.

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