Thinking of hiking in Palm Springs? With lovely weather and stunning views, Palm Springs is a hikers paradise. There are hundreds of trails all across the Coachella Valley to explore, depending whether you want to climb, or stay level, how much you want to exert yourself overall and how exposed to the sun you want to be. If you’re new to the area or just visiting, these trails are a great jumping off point to explore the beautiful Palm Springs area.
Hiking in Palm Springs: Indian Canyons
There are a number of easy hikes through Indian Canyons. You’ll pay a nominal admission fee to get into the park but the variety of scenery, terrain and trails is well worth it.
make sure to grab a free map when you pay your admission at the main gate.
If you want to start out easy, head directly for West Fork Falls via short trail. This hike is quite easy and the payoff is a beautiful waterfall crashing through the desert palms and boulders at the end. The water levels vary depending on the time of year.
A portion of Palm Canyon Trail is similarly simple, and will take you past the meadndering Palm Canyon Creek and its array of majestic palms clinging to the banks. Or hike the full route (more moderate) to see more riverside sights including the Stone Pools.
Hiking the Seven Sisters Waterfall trail or the Andreas Canyon Loop are also on the simple side.
There are trails of varying intensity in the park. A great place to get started is to pop in on the Trading Post and chat with a ranger to get some recommendations.
Hike in Palm Springs: Palm Springs Art Museum Trail
This trail gets its name from the trailhead being located in the north end of the Palm Spring Art Museum parking lot. This is a good uphill hike but the payoff is stunning views and a picnic area on the mountain where you can eat lunch and enjoy the vista. This hike is about two hours round trip.
This trail continues on and becomes part of the Cactus to Clouds hike which is an ultra advanced hike that only pros should attempt. People have died on that part of the trail, and it can take 7-10 hours so don’t attempt it unless you’re serious and well prepared.
For tips on when, if, or how to attempt it, read this article by noted hiking guide Matthew Jordan.
Hike in Palm Springs: Araby Trail past Bob Hope’s House
If you’ve ever seen the famous former home of comedian and showman Bob Hope in Palm Springs, you’ll know the giant domed building sitting atop a desert mountain is a sight to behold. While the property is private and definitely very off limits to the public, there is a way to get a closer look. Hiking the Araby Trail will give you decent views.
The hike starts near a residential area and a trailer park (access to the trail head is just off East Palm Canyon Drive) but then moves out into the desert. There’s no shade, so be prepared for intense sun and heat. While the trail is fairly rocky and sandy, the views are exquisite. Plus, if you’re keen to spot celebrity homes, peering over at Mr Hope’s former abode can’t be beat.
Hike in Palm Springs: stroll a local neighbourhood
Of course it’s worth noting you can put on your comfy shoes and stroll through any one of the beautiful neighbourhoods in Palm Springs to gaze at mid-century modern homes and beautiful yards. From the Movie Colony neighbourhood, to ritzy Vista Las Palmas or the Racquet Club Estates where you’ll find the rare Wexler Steel Houses, or to the iconic Kauffman House, there are plenty of streets to stroll and sights to admire, all while keeping exertion to a minimum. Most of the homes can be seen easily from the street, so be a good visitor and keep off private property.
For more hiking trail ideas and a guide for hiking in this area check out this article from VisitPalmsprings.com