Perched within the Coachella Valley of Colorado Desert, hiking in Palm Springs has been the top attraction of the region. Palm Springs is a beautiful desert resort city in California, United States. Located in the Sonoran Desert, Palm Springs is surrounded by mountains on all four sides.
To the north, it has San Bernardino Mountains, to the south Santa Rosa Mountains, the San Jacinto Mountains to the west, and Little San Bernardino Mountains to its east. With this, there’s no doubt regarding Palm Springs Area being flocked by tourists for adventure, recreation, or just laying low in the sun.
The hike in Palm Springs can be of a varied nature. In some Palm Springs hiking route, you’d have more challenges; some will provide magnificent sceneries, a few would take you along the palm trees, some will take you to a water body, canyons, and many others. Here are some spots for hiking in Palm Springs that range from easy to difficult. Check these out and know which would be best for you before planning a weekend here.
Pro Tip: If you’re going hiking in Palm Springs, do not forget to carry a minimum of 2 liters of water, food, and sunscreen. Palm Springs being a desert area, receives excessive heat during peak afternoon hours.
Note: Palm Springs region has officially put a prohibition on pet dogs. Only service dogs are allowed in Palm Springs hiking trails.
11 Best Hiking in Palm Springs Trails
1) Bump and Grind Trail
This is a loop trail of 6.4 kilometers. Located near the Palm Desert, it is heavily trafficked and is becoming one of the most popular trails. This is a moderately difficult trail with beautiful wildflowers sightings on the way.
The Bump and Grind Trail elevates 337 meters and is suitable for hiking, mountain biking, bird watching, wildlife, nature trips, and walking alongside nature. You can access this trail from Painters Path that is behind a Target store in Palm Desert. Older trailheads in the City of Rancho Mirage is restricted for use due to the residential area.
2) Araby Trail
Hiking in Palm Springs will take you through some beautiful rock formations that will make you think about the wonders of nature. Araby Trail is one such trail. This 6.6 kilometers out and back trail has an elevation gain of 428 meters.
This is an excellent hike if you’re short of time or want to have some exercise before starting the day. You can get a complete view of the Palm Springs area from the top. You’ll find some impressive architecture and Bob Hope’s old house along the way. Start early in the morning to avoid the peak hours of heat and have a good time.
3) The San Jacinto Peak Loop Trail
Rated as a hard trail, San Jacinto Peak Loop Trail is 29.8 kilometers with an elevation gain of about 1618 meters. This trail is heavily trafficked and is most famous for hiking, backpacking, and camping.
The trail starts from the Idyllwild town. If you wish to go for a single day hike, you can hike the trail out and back. You can even plan a two-day trek with overnight camping while hiking in Palm Springs.
There’s a Little Round Valley just below the summit, which can be used as a campsite. However, you will have to take a permit for the valley as the spot fills up fast. You can apply before 10-15 days and get your spot. You’d enjoy boulder climbing for the last hundred feet if you’re planning to go till the end.
4) Palm Springs Museum Trail
With an elevation gain of 529 meters and a length of 6 kilometers, Palm Springs Museum Trail is an out and back trail leading you to North Lykken Trail. This is a rocky trail with varied rock formations on the way. This is a quick hike and is perfect for a workout.
You’d get beautiful desert views, and if you’re hiking after the sun goes over the mountain, you will get a gorgeous view of the desert and sunset sky turning pink and blue. With the sun getting lower and lower, the lights in the Palm Oasis and valley springing on will give a great evening look.
5) Palm Canyon Trail
Among the Canyon Trails of hiking in Palm Springs, Palm Canyon is loved by all as it is appropriate for all skill levels. This is a 3.2-kilometer-long trail with an elevation gain of 90 meters. It is a kid-friendly trail that also features a river. It has a breathtaking oasis and also provides picnicking areas around the creek.
This trail is shaded by palm trees on both sides for a mile hike. There’s a must-see rock formation midway through the trail. The trail is known as one of the last remaining indigenous Palm Tree Grove of the California region. This trail is worth your time with lots of shade, water, views, and picnic spots.
6) Andreas Canyon
A kid-friendly, heavily trafficked loop trail, Andreas Canyon features a waterfall at the end of it and is suitable for all skill levels. It is just 1.6 kilometers with an elevation gain of 53 meters. This beautiful trail gives some picturesque views of deep brown cliff rocks merging well with lush green palm trees.
There are stunning rivers with watering holes on the way. Many little waterfalls emerge, making the landscape beautiful with palms, vibrant flowers, foliage, and wildlife like squirrels, whiptail lizards, chipmunks, western coachwhip, leopard lizards, rattlesnake, and more.
7) Skyline Trail
When hiking in Palm Springs, you’d come across the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. Even on specific hikes, you’d see people exploring the landscape through the tramway. This trail of 15.1 kilometers with an elevation gain of 2498 meters will take you to Aerial Tramway Top Station.
This is a point-to-point trail and is recommended only for experienced hikers and adventurers. You must be cautious about the time you’re selecting for this hike, for in the months of winter, the top area can be snowy or icy. You can start at the museum trail and hop on the skyline trail with the help of signs.
This trail might not be maintained well, and there are lots of switchbacks. The descent is more challenging than the ascent. So if you feel like hiking in Palm Springs Skyline trail but are wary of the return trip, just get on the tram once you reach the peak and have a fun time descending.
8) Joshua Tree Boy Scout Trail
Located near the Joshua Tree National Park, this is a 12.6 kilometers trail that gains an elevation of 53 meters. It is perfect for nature trips, scenic views, wildflowers, backpacking, and camping. The trail features a beautiful array of geology and plant life.
You can start this trail either at Keys West or at Indian Cove. The hike begins with a dry and sandy region but transforms to canyons further. Once you start inclining up the mountainous region, Joshua tree forests will give an ample amount of shade, and the city view just gets better.
In all, you can experience varied wonders of nature while hiking in Palm Springs’ Boy Scout Trail. From terrain to the sandy region to canyons, mountains, and traditional Joshua tree landscape.
9) Indian Canyon West Fork Trail
This out and back trail of 8.7 kilometers gains an elevation of 482 meters. This is a steady and uphill hike. You can start the trail at the Trading Post and loop up with the Palm Canyon or Victor trail. Get back on the West Fork Loop as this trail ends at a river with lush palms of Indian Canyons on the way.
You’d witness wildflowers everywhere on the way. You might come across a herd of mountain goats if you’re lucky. To get some Social Media flaunting pictures, get your hike boots on this trail, and capture the best views of the Indian Canyon Area.
10) Willow Creek Trail to Hidden Lake and Round Valley Loop
This moderately difficult loop trail of 8 kilometers features impressive wildflowers. With an elevation gain of 296 meters, the trail offers various activities from April to October. To access the trailhead, you must trip on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.
Round Valley Loop is perfect for a day hike that encompasses most of the valley region between Mount San Jacinto and the Aerial Tramway. You’re in for some mesmerizing views of San Jacinto Mountain and nearby peaks. The trail to San Jacinto Peak branches off from this loop. You can have a stop at hidden lake and take in the beauty.
You would have to get a special permit along with the backcountry permit for going to Hidden Lake. You can get these permits at the ranger station for free.
11) Tahquitz Canyon Loop Trail
This is a loop trail of 2.7 kilometers with an elevation gain of 93 meters. The trail features a waterfall and is suitable for all skill levels.
It is kid-friendly and perfect for nature trips, strolling, bird watching, running, and nature photography. By heading west on W. Mesquite Avenue, you’ll turn right at the mountains. From there, the trailhead begins.
You might come across wildlife like bighorn sheep. The waterfall is pristine beauty, and the pool below it is very cold, refreshing, and suitable for a dip. However, the waterfall can be dry in certain seasons. To dive in the beauty of roaring waterfalls, visit in the months of spring.
Hiking in Palm Springs
Hiking in Palm Springs is never-ending as the area has about 90 trails ranging in difficulty and length. You might just find a trailhead at every turn! Again do not forget to take an ample amount of water so that you can enjoy the hike well and not get exhausted.
Have you been hiking in Palm Springs? Share your experience and tips that the first time goers should keep in mind.