Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians
38500 South Palm Canyon Drive
Palm Springs, CA 92264
Jeep & Hiking Tour of the Indian Canyons!
Centuries ago, ancestors of the Agua Caliente Cahuilla (pronounced Kaw-we-ah) Indians settled in the Palm Springs area and developed extensive and complex communities in Palm, Murray, Andreas, Tahquitz and Chino Canyons. Abundant water and hundreds of plants and animals found throughout the area ensured stable living conditions. Crops of melons, squash, beans and corn were grown, animals were hunted, and plants and seeds were gathered for food, medicines, basketweaving etc. Many traces of these communities exist in the canyons today, including rock art, house pits and foundations, irrigation ditches, dams, reservoirs, trails, and food processing areas.
The Agua Caliente Indians were industrious and creative with a reputation for independence, integrity and peace.
Fifteen miles long, Palm Canyon is one of the great beauty spots in Western North America. Its indigenous flora and fauna, which the Cahuilla peoples so expertly used, and its abundant Washingtonia filifera (California Fan palm trees), are breathtaking contrasts to the stark, rocky gorges and barren desert lands beyond. A moderately graded, paved foot path winds down into the canyon for picnicking near the stream, meditating, exploring, hiking or horseback riding. While in Palm Canyon, visit the Trading Post for hiking maps, refreshments, Indian art and artifacts, books, jewelry, pottery, baskets, weavings and conversational cultural lore.
Tahquitz Canyon is home to a spectacular 60 foot waterfall (seasonal), rock art, ancient irrigation systems and artifacts, along with cultural and educational exhibits. Self-guided hikes or Ranger-led hikes are available. Located at the entrance to the canyon, the Tahquitz Canyon Visitor Center, at 500 W. Mesquite, just west of Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs, offers exhibits, an observation deck, and a theatre room for viewing a video that narrates the legend of Tahquitz Canyon. For more information or to reserve a ranger-led interpretive hike, call the Visitors’ Center at: 760.416.7044. Admission to Tahquitz Canyon is: Adults $12.50, Children $6.00 (12 and under).
Oct. 1 – July 4 – 7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily (Last hiker on trail at 3:30 p.m.).
July 5- Sept. 30 – 7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. open only Fri, Sat & Sun (Last hiker on trail at 3:30 p.m.)
Murray Canyon is an easy hike south from Andreas Canyon. Foot and equestrian trails lead to beautiful recreational spots among the many palm trees. Peninsular Big Horn Sheep (an endangered species), mule deer and other wild animals still roam the high ground above the canyon and can be seen by the lucky visitor. Being less visited, Murray Canyon has its own secluded beauty; and at least one known endangered species of bird, the Least Bells Vireo, is known to nest here.
The contrasting greens of magnificent fan palms and more than 150 species of plants within a half-mile radius beckon the desert-weary traveler to this lush oasis. A favorite scenic foot trail leads through the canyon, passing groves of stately skirted palms, unusual rock formations and the perennial Andreas Creek, where one can still see the bedrock mortars and metates used centuries ago for preparing food. This tranquil setting is excellent for photography, bird-watching or a picnic at one of the tables along the trail.
The Agua Caliente people enjoyed a rich and varied ceremonial life, with the sacred and medically beneficial hot springs often serving as a focal point for these activities. The site of the present day Palm Springs Spa Hotel and Mineral Springs ls located on a Cahuilla Indian hot spring. There was first a rough-planked structure in this location, followed years later by a building containing private bathing cubicles. Today’s spa and hotel is noted throughout the world.
The canyons and associated resources noted above are especially sacred to the Indians today and are historically important to scientists and lovers of nature. Please enjoy the free gift of serene beauty that you may take with you. Appreciate and respect.
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