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Hiking Las Vegas Blog
Palm Springs has long been a sought-after vacation destination for the rich and famous. It’s no wonder that hiking may not initially come to mind when imagining an escape to this city in the Sonoran desert. However, within a 60-mile radius of Palm Springs, CA., area, you can find an abundance of scenic desert hikes, which is why it's fast becoming a favorite hiking destination. In fact, hikers come from around the world to take advantage of the luxurious Palm Springs vacation rentals while testing their fitness on some of the country’s greatest hikes. The following are six hikes that will encourage you to start planning your next trip to Palm Springs.
1. Lost Palms Oasis Trail
This 7.2-mile-long trail is of a moderate difficulty and will take roughly four hours for the average hiker to complete. Located on the southern boundary of Joshua Tree National Park, which is roughly one-hour from the heart of Palm Springs, this trail cuts through low mountains and offers spectacular views of wildflower, unique desert shrubs, and the famous palm trees for which the trail is named. It also travels along several fault lines, and you'll notice water seeping to the surface in some spots.
At some of the viewing points along the journey you'll be able to see the region’s surrounding mountains, such as the San Jacinto Mountains located to the west. This hike is best in the cooler spring, fall, and winter months, as the heat can be oppressive in summertime. No matter the season, it’s essential to bring enough water for the entire journey. It’s also important to note that pets are not allowed on this trail.
Photo credit: oliver.dodd
2. Willis Palms Trail
There are more than 25 miles of hiking trails in the Coachella Valley Preserve, and the Willis Palms Trail is a must-try. It's a 4.5-mile loop and is great for beginner to intermediate-level hikers. The Willis Palms Trail is one of several oases that can be found by venturing along the San Andreas Fault. Take your time to spot some of the 183 bird species and rare lizards, and you can complete this hike in just a few hours.
3. Palm Springs Museum Trail
If you're visiting the Palm Springs Art Museum, you may want to give yourself a little extra time to complete the Palm Springs Museum Trail. It's located behind the north parking lot of the museum and is a free hike that's just two scenic miles in length. However, with a 900-foot gain in elevation, you'll want to make sure you have proper hiking shoes and plenty of water. Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy spectacular views of the city and valley from the top. This is the ultimate hike for a day you don’t feel like venturing too far from the heart of Palm Springs.
Photo credit: Tips for Travellers
4. Palm Canyon Trail
This trail takes hikers through the jungle-like river bottom of Palm Canyon, but it ends in the backcountry High Desert plateaus. The 6-mile hike offers a range of natural settings in a single journey. As you travel up to the plateau, you'll experience postcard-worthy views of the desert and the city of Palm Springs behind. A variety of waterfalls and exotic pools fed by small streams pass through rock gorges, creating an oasis type setting in an area known for desert sun and heat. The trading post at the start of the trail is a great place to have lunch upon your return.
5. Spitler Peak Trail
The Spitler Peak Trail is a strenuous hike for adventurers who are well prepared and experienced on more difficult treks. You’ll hike more than 2,000 feet in elevation and a 12.3-mile out and back journey. For less experienced hikers, it's recommended to complete three miles and then turn back along the same route. However, this difficult hike, which intersects the Pacific Crest Trail, is well worth the effort for those who are ready.
The trail explores the San Jacinto Mountains to the west and east along Thomas Mountain and Garner Valley. The scenic journey makes for a great mountain experience and is available to hike year-round. Of course, the cooler months are best for this physically demanding hike.
Photo credit: https://pixabay.com/en/palm-springs-california-mountains-198917/
6. Big Split Rock Slot Canyon Walkabout
This six-mile hike takes about three hours to complete, but it's an easy hike and is great for hikers of all ability levels. The Mecca Hills, created by the convergence of fault lines, are located in the northeast corner of the Coachella Valley.
Hikers will notice contorted, compressed land with vibrant colors due to the high mineral content of the soil. The hike involves passing through a slot canyon and you'll get to see a San Andreas Fault fracture close-up. Get an early start when you choose this hike as it can get hot during midday.
Whether you're an experienced hiker or are just getting started, the Palm Springs area offers a variety of hikes to fill your vacation with adventure. Choose a simple walking trail to get started or try one of the more challenging hikes to take in the picture-perfect views from mountain vistas. Be sure to plan ahead and carry plenty of water, snacks, and supplies, and you’ll have an unforgettable time on any of these trails and the countless others in the area.
We look forward to seeing you out there!
Branch Whitney is the author of Hiking Las Vegas and creator of the 52 Peak Club where members hike to the best 52 Peaks around Las Vegas, NV