Hiking in Palm Desert (The Best Hikes, Guides, and Trail Maps)

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Palm Desert offers a variety of trails for hiking enthusiasts, those who love the outdoors, and those who want to engage with the rich history of the area. The trails of Palm Desert offer dramatic mountain vistas, waterfalls, natural streams, rugged gorges, and unusual rock formations.

Rather you’re hiking the tranquil and intimate Andreas Canyon, the secluded and drifting Murray Canyon, or approaching the forty foot waterfall of Tahquitz Canyon, hikers are recommended to take the following steps of caution.

  • Pack so that you can take care of yourself, if required, overnight.
  • Hike with a buddy. At the very least, tell a friend when you leave and return.
  • Carry as much water as your can. (The recommended guideline is to carry at least one liter of water per hour of hiking. It is also recommended that when your water is finished, you turn around and head back.)
  • Protect yourself from the sunlight by dressing in layers, a hat, and/or sunglasses. Use sunscreen.
  • Use a waterproof shell on longer hikes because the weather can change quickly.
  • Understand your trail. Carry a map and pay attention to the terrain.
  • Watch where you place your hands and feet, especially when snakes are active.
  • Keep children near you.
  • Remain on the trail.

Some of Palm Desert’s most beloved trails include:

Andreas Canyon Trail

Located at the base of the San Jacinto Mountains, this trail transports hikers back to a time when the Cabuilla Indians made this area their home. The trail features larger-than-life rock formations, streams, palm oases, and serves as a sanctuary for local birds.

Bump & Grind Trail

If you’re looking to sweat outdoors, head to Palm Desert to get your heart rate up on this popular trail. While the path on the right offers an easier route, hikers who choose the path to the left will get their hearts pumping on switchbacks and steep inclines.

Herb Jeffries Trail

Committed on April 2,2005 to Herb Jeffries, the infamous “Bronze Buckaroo” who was one of the early African American cowboy heroes and a former Palm Desert residentHomestead Trail

This hike is worth timing around the sunset. Not only do you get to watch the sky turn pink against the mountains as you ascend, once you make it to the peak you can also watch the twinkling lights of Greater Palm Springs below.

Hopalong Cassidy Trail

The Trail was committed on January 31,2004 in memory of Bill Boyd, who played Hopalong Cassidy.  Boyd’s widow, Grace Bradley Boyd, mentioned that "Hoppy and Topper might have adored the path and encouraged everyone to enjoy it and practice path safety."

McCallum Trail
 Located 
at the Coachella Valley Preserve in Thousand Palms, this trail takes visitors under towering palm trees into a surprisingly lush area of greenery along well-maintained paths. After emerging from the jungle-like greens, hikers find themselves in 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.

Randall Henderson Trail

The Trail was dedicated on Feb 5, 2005, by the family of Randall Henderson, who was instrumental in the development of Pam Wasteland.

Skyline Trail

This nearly 19-mile trek is the ultimate test of your hiking prowess. Starting on the desert floor and climbing more than 10,000 feet than the summit, the trail rewards hikers with sweeping views of San Jacinto Peak and Greater Palm Springs. At the end of the trail, hikers can hitch a ride on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.             

Tahquitz Canyon Trail

Nestled at the base of the San Jacinto Mountains, this romantic trail offers views of incredible rock formations and the sound of running water. At the end of the trail is a romantic, sixty foot waterfall, which can act as the perfect backdrop for a picnic.

Whitewater Canyon Loop Trail

Located directly outside of Palm Spring, this dog-friendly trail offers stunning views of the desert’s natural landscape in addition to river views and seasonal springtime wildflowers.

For those seeking simple hikes with short distances in the area, we recommend:

  • Andreas Canyon
  • Tahquitz Canyon

For those seeking moderate hikes in the area, we recommend:

  • Araby Trail, which climbs above the Bob Hope Estate.
  • Murray Canyon Trail, which features a running stream and a cool tree canopy.
  • North Lykken Trail, a winding trail that drops down to Cielo Drive.
  • Palm Springs Art Museum Trail, a great workout with a steep incline and scenic view.
  • South Lykken Trail, a fantastic hike that ends with a panoramic vista.

For those seeking strenuous hikes in the area, we recommend:

  • Araby Trail, which climbs above the Bob Hope Estate.
  • Maynard Mine Trail, which features an old tungsten mine.
  • Murray Hill, which includes views of both sites of the valley.
  • Skyline Trail.

Other popular trails in the area include Art Smith, Connector, Dunn Road, Eisenhower Mountain, Gabby Hayes, Mike Schuler.

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