The top Palm Springs hiking trails offer spectacular mountain vistas, waterfalls, natural streams, rocky canyons and unusual rock formations. The pristine desert air mixed with giant palm trees and an alpine wilderness create the perfect setting of natural desert beauty.
Hike the world’s largest fan palm oasis in Palm Canyon, the tranquil and intimate Andreas Canyon or the secluded and wandering Murray Canyon. Tahquitz Canyon rewards hikers at the end of a moderate hike with a beautiful 40 ft. waterfall.
Much of this landscape is remote and challenging. You can’t always depend on a signpost or a ranger to get you out of a fix. Pack so that you could take care of yourself, if necessary, overnight. Hike with a friend or tell a friend where you will be hiking and when you expect to return.
Basic Rules Of Palm Springs Hiking Trails
1) Carry as much water as you can. You will need at least one quart of water for every hour of hiking. When half of your water is gone, turn around and head back.
2) Protect yourself from the sun. Use sunscreen. Dress in layers of clothing that breath. Wear a hat, sunglasses, protective clothing, and sturdy footwear. Remember, this is the desert.
3) Study a map of your trail before you go. Carry a map and pay attention to the terrain so you can find your way back.
4) Beware of rattlesnakes. Watch where you put your hands and feet, especially in warm weather when snakes are active. Beware of mountain lions. Though rare, if confronted raise your arms high above your head to make yourself look as large as possible to the animal.
5) Keep children and pets near you at all times. There are lots of coyotes.
6) Don’t be a wanderer. Stay on the trail. Cross-country travel and camping in Peninsular bighorn sheep habitat is prohibited from January 1 through September 30
Andreas Canyon Trail
2 mi., 50 ft. gain, 1 to 2 hrs, Admission Charge
Trailhead: in the Indian Canyons located on South Palm Canyon Drive. Information 760.323.6018. A leisurely hike along a quiet stream with ledges of rock used by Cahuilla women.
3.5 mi., 300 ft. gain, 2 to 3 hrs , Admission Charge
Trailhead is at the Tahquitz Visitor Center located on Mesquite Avenue. Information 760.416.7044. 8AM –5 PM, last guided hike at 2 PM. A guided nature hike to a spectacular 60-ft. waterfall on the Agua Caliente
6 mi., 800 ft. gain, 4 hrs, Free
Trailhead on Rimrock/Southridge Road off of Highway 111. This trail climbs above the Bob Hope Estate through spectacular scenery.
Palm Springs Art Museum Trail
2 mi., 900 ft. gain, 2 hrs, Free
Trailhead on Museum Drive at the back of the museum’s parking lot. Excellent workout hike with a steep ascent to picnic tables with a view of the whole valley
Murray Canyon Trail
6 mi., 500 ft. gain, 4 hrs, Admission Charge
Trailhead in the Indian Canyons located on South Palm Canyon Drive. Information 760.323.6018. Amble along a running stream having some rock crossings and enjoy the cool tree canopy.
North Lykken Trail
5 mi., 1,000 ft. gain, 4 hrs, Free
Two trailheads: South at the end of Ramon Road and north on Cielo Drive off Panorama Drive. Most people start from the south trailhead (western end of Ramon Road), ascending moderately to the picnic tables above the museum. Continue on, dropping down to the trail that winds below the ridge line behind the Las Palmas Dam. Rest at picnic tables towards the end before you drop down to Cielo Drive.
South Lykken Trail
5 mi., 1,000 ft. gain, 4 hrs, Free
Two trailheads: south on South Palm Canyon Road 250 feet after Canyon Heights Road, and north at the end of Mesquite. A great exercise hike climbing the hillside to picnic tables at each end with a panoramic vista.
Maynard Mine Trail
7 mi., 2,200 ft. gain, 5 hrs, Admission Charge
Trailhead in the Indian Canyons located on South Palm Canyon Drive. Information: 760.323.6018. Start out on the Murray Canyon trail, climbing steeply. You will soon see a rock pile marker indicating where to turn onto the Maynard Mine Trail. This trail is very steep and exposed, but the reward at the top is the adventure of exploring the old tungsten mine.
8 mi., 2,100 ft. gain, 6 hrs, Free
Trailhead off of Bogert Drive. Incredible views. After a steep climb you follow a ridge of rolling hills with views of both sides of the valley ending at attractive picnic tables perched atop Murray Hill.
10 mi., 8,000 ft. gain – 7 to 9 hrs (Free Hike Up / TRAM Down)
The Trailhead is located on Museum Drive at the of the Art Museum’s parking lot. A hike of extremes – most beautiful views, best workout, most varied vegetation (three life zones), NO water, and easiest downhill – you ride the tram! Extreme care is required in planning and preparation for this hike since spring and fall provide the only windows of opportunity to hike all the way. Winter can bring snow and frigid weather at the top and the summer is much too hot.
Note: People have died on this climb.
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