SOME OF THE BEST THINGS TO DO IN PALM DESERT AND THE GREATER PALM SPRINGS AREA
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Bump and Grind Trail
The Palm Desert Bump-n-Grind Trail is one of the most popular hiking trails in the Coachella Valley. Locals may also refer to the trail as the Patton Trail, Desert Drive Trail, Dog Poop Trail, and Desert Mirage Trail. The trail starts out narrow at the trailhead and widens as you go along. It is popular among those looking to get a workout and has an elevation gain of about 1,000 feet as it climbs to an overlook that offers nice views of Palm Desert. A number of endangered wildlife species inhabit the area and it may be possible to view them during your hike, especially bighorn sheep.
Cabot’s Pueblo Museum
Cabot’s Pueblo Museum is a historical house museum consisting of a large, Hopi-style pueblo home. The house is a stunning example of the Pueblo revival style and was built by Cabot Yerxa, an explorer and activist who constructed the home out of things he found in the desert. Every part of the house is manmade using sun-dried bricks and reclaimed wood from nearby cabins. The construction began in 1941 and Yerxa worked on the home until he died in 1965. All in all, the house is four stories tall and has 35 rooms. He and his wife opened the house to the public for touring during his life, and today it stands as a museum with artifacts, artwork, and items from the architect’s own personal life.
67616 Desert View Avenue, Desert Hot Springs, CA 92240, Phone: 760-329-7610
ANNENBERG ESTATE – SUNNYLAND CENTER & GARDENS
For more than 40 years, Ambassadors Walter and Leonore Annenberg welcomed political, business, educational, and entertainment leaders to Sunnylands, their 200-acre winter home in Rancho Mirage, California. In 2001, the couple established The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands to preserve the estate as a place where world leaders could meet to discuss issues of national and international importance.
Living Desert Zoo and Gardens
PALM DESERT AQUATIC CENTER
73751 Magnesia Falls Drive, Palm Desert, CA 92260, Phone: 760-565-7467
PALM SPRINGS/PALM DESERT ART MUSEUM
101 N. Museum Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92262, Phone: 760-322-4800
PALMS TO PINES SCENIC BYWAY
The Palms to Pines Scenic Byway is a scenic drive that follows Highways 74 and 243 from just south of Palm Desert on one end to Banning Pass on the other. The byway was designated as a scenic byway because of the great amount and variety of scenery that you can encounter on the drive. It travels from scenic forests through the California desert and up into snow-peaked mountains. This degree of contrast in environments is rare in such a short distance. There are few services along the road and it is quite windy, but the scenery is certainly worth it.
San Andreas Fault
The San Andreas Fault is one of the most famous fault lines in the world. It crosses approximately 1,200 km through the state of California, marking the boundary between the North American and Pacific tectonic plates. Many tourists who come to the state want to see the famous fault. Visiting the fault can be somewhat underwhelming as it is not the massive crack in the Earth that many people envision. In fact, due to the long time period since the last earthquake, it can be quite hard to make out. Many sections of the fault reside in public land and it’s possible to access much of it. If you’d like to visit with a geologist or naturalist, check with local nature centers and parks as many offer day trips.
Highway 74, South of Palm Desert
TALLGRASS HIKING AND TOURS
Tallgrass Hiking and Tours is a tour company operating tours in the Greater Palm Springs Area. The company has been leading hiking tours as well as custom mini-coach and luxury bus tours in the area for more than 15 years. Tour destinations range from the agricultural area in the east valley down to the Salton Sea as well as select destinations in Los Angeles, Riverside, the San Gorgonio Pass, and Redlands. Hiking destinations include the Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve, Joshua Tree National Park, the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve, and more. Each and every tour is led by a professional guide, who will guide you in an enjoyable and informative experience.
45300 Portola Avenue, Unit 1514, Palm Desert, CA 92260, Phone: 760-219-3000
Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve
The Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve is a nature preserve in the Coachella Valley. Popular activities here include hiking, picnicking, viewing wildlife, and more on over 20,000 acres of desert wilderness and hiking trails. There is a rustic visitors center called the Palm House, which offers basic services. Docent guides lead free guided hikes several times a week. The hikes depart from the visitors center, are typically short (around 2 miles), and usually have a specific focus. Some possible hikes include the Desert Bird Walk, the Explore the Ecology of a Fault Line Oasis Hike, the Tour of Two Oases, and more.
29200 Thousand Palms Canyon Road, Thousand Palms, CA 92276, Phone: 760-343-2733
WILMA & FRIEDA
DESERT WILLOW GOLF RESORT
Desert Willow Golf Resort is an award-winning golf resort in Palm Desert just minutes away from Palm Springs. It features two of the best golf courses in the Coachella Valley. The Firecliff Course is the more challenging of the two and offers plenty of natural hazards and water features along the way. Alternatively, if you are looking for a more relaxing round of golf, check out the Mountain View Course, which is significantly smoother. There is an on-site clubhouse, gorgeous al fresco dining venues, and plenty of event and meeting space. For those who are hoping to get better at golf, the resort also has a world-class golf academy right on site to help you perfect your game.
38-995 Desert Willow Drive, Palm Desert, CA 92260, Phone: 760-346-0015
FIX ON EL PASEO
73580 El Paseo, Palm Desert, CA 92260, Phone: 760-340-3040
73091 Country Club Drive, Palm Desert, CA 92260, Phone: 760-348-8170
AJ’S ON THE GREEN
AJ’s on the Green is more akin to an entertainment venue than a restaurant. The restaurant has won awards year after year as one of the best live entertainment venues in the Palm Springs area. They are open daily and feature some of the best food and shows around. The menu is varied and leans heavily into seafood and Italian-style dishes with plenty of New American cuisine appearing as well. Whether you go for garlic shrimp and pesto pasta or prime rib, make sure you don’t get too full as you will want to leave room for their creme brulee or salted caramel ice cream. Check out their website for current entertainment options and make sure to stop by for the Sunday jazz brunch, which is not to be missed.
36200 Date Palm Drive, Cathedral City, CA 92234, Phone: 760-202-1111
COACHELLA VALLEY BREWING COMPANY
30-640 Gunther Street, Thousand Palms, CA 92278, Phone: 760-343-5973
DESERT ADVENTURES RED JEEP TOURS & EVENTS
Desert Adventures Red Jeep Tours and Events is a tour company that leads guided adventure tours in the Greater Palm Springs area. They offer a range of tours that will suit almost anyone, regardless of your preferences. They have a private 800-acre ranch in the India Hills known as Metate Ranch, where they offer hiking, sightseeing tours aboard buses, jeep tours, wagon rides, and adventure programs for families and groups of young people. In addition to the range of activities offered at the ranch, the company also provides jeep tours through Painted Canyon and the nearby Mecca Hills Wilderness Area as well as tours of Palm Springs Indian Canyons and several other attractions.
74-794- Lennon Place, Suite B, Palm Desert, CA 92260, Phone: 760-324-5337
SANTA ROSA AND SAN JACINTO MOUNTAINS NATIONAL MONUMENT
Appearing abruptly in the middle of the desert, the mesmerizing Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument attracts hundreds of visitors from all over the US. Within the 280.000-acre monument you will find palm oases, hot springs, snow-capped mountains and fabulous wilderness areas, begging to be discovered. The Visitor Center is the logical place to start your exploration. Here you can find out all about the many recreational facilities and the center also offers direct access to the accessible Ed Hastey Garden Trail and the Randall Henderson Trail. The monument offers both primitive back-country camping as well as a developed campground at Pinyon Flat, also suitable for equestrians.
Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument, 51-500 Highway 74, Palm Desert, CA 92260, 760-862-9984
MCCALLUM THEATRE FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS
73000 Fred Waring Dr, Palm Desert, CA 92260, 760-340-2787
DESERT HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL
A moving a poignant reminder of Man’s inhumanity to his fellow Man, the Desert Holocaust Memorial remembers all those who lost their lives in the Holocaust, and the thousand of brave people who risked everything to hide and protect their Jewish friends and relatives. The highly symbolic monument includes a circle of trees, representing ‘normal’ life outside the constraints of the concentration camps. Inside you can see a chronology of the events of the holocaust and 7 larger-than-life bronze statues which represents different various aspects of the holocaust. A visit to the monument is perhaps a sobering experience but an important one for all ages – “lest they be forgotten”.
43-700 San Pascual Ave, Palm Desert, CA 92260, 760-324-4737
RANDALL HENDERSON LOOP TRAIL
Pulling on your hiking boots and setting off along the Randall Henderson Loop Trail is a wonderful way to discover the hidden gems of the Santa Anna and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument. The trail encompasses 3 loops, namely the Wash, Cholla and Canyon Loops, each of which will expose you to different elements of the low-elevation desert environment. You can download a brochure (or pick up a map at the Visitor’s Centre, to guide you along the way. You will find a fascination variety of desert vegetation, admire brilliant view of the mountains and stand the chance to spot some local wildlife including the endangered Bighorn Sheep. The 2.5 mile hike is rated “easy”.
51-500 Highway 74, Palm Desert, CA 92260, 760-862-9984
Art enthusiasts who are visiting Palm Desert are invited to spend a few uplifting hours feasting their eyes of the beautiful works of art in the CODA Gallery. For more than 30 years this gallery has been showcasing some of the best contemporary fine art from all over the state and beyond. Just about all genres of art are represented in the gallery and you can anticipate admiring a collection which includes paintings, glass-art, sculpture, photography and much more. Both emerging and established artists are represented and almost everything you see is available to buy. The gallery is open daily from 10am to 5pm.
CODA Gallery, 73400 El Paseo, Suite B1, Palm Desert, CA 92260, 760-346-4661