Palm Springs has been called the “golf capital of the United States”. It’s a hotspot for tourists seeking a laidback vacation, and there are plenty of golf courses, restaurants, and hotels. It attracts people of all ages (including many celebrities) and the sun is always shining.
But there is one part of Palm Springs that’s often overlooked, and that’s the hiking. As soon as you venture away from the pristine golf courses and luxury hotels, there is a world of natural beauty to explore on a host of fantastic hiking trails.
Is Palm Springs Good for Hiking?
Palm Springs is perfect for hiking.
You can hike here all year long and there are lots of trails to explore and beautiful sights to see. It’s a Californian wonderland that offers a little bit of everything both on and off the trail.
Of course, its popularity means that it’s usually packed with tourists and you may struggle to find parking and accommodation in the city, but that’s to be expected and there are quieter months where you can hike in peace.
What Mountains Are in Palm Springs, CA?
The city of Palm Springs is bordered by the San Bernardino Mountains, Little San Bernardino Mountains, Santa Rosa Mountains, and San Jacinto Mountains.
It’s surrounded by natural beautiful, and that’s what makes hiking in the Palm Springs area so memorable.
Can You Hike in Palm Springs In July?
You can hike in July, but it’s not recommended. Palm Springs is blisteringly hot in the summer and hiking requires a lot of sun protection and copious amounts of water. It’s okay for a short trek and for hikers used to the heat, but summer gets very hot and very busy in Palm Springs.
What is the Best Month to Go Hiking in Palm Springs?
The middle of spring and early fall are usually the best times to go hiking in Palm Springs. With a spring hike, you’ll see the desert in full bloom and won’t be punished by unbearable sunshine. With a fall hike, the temperatures will have cooled and you can enjoy some varied terrain and sights.
What State Has the Best Hiking?
California is often said to have some of the best hikes in the United States and the hikes in Palm Springs are a prime example of that.
However, if you run a Google search for “which state has the best hiking trails?” you’ll see a different answer on nearly every top-ten list, including Alaska, Colorado, and Washington. The truth is that there are many great hiking trails in the United States, and you don’t have to travel very far to see them.
What are the Best Hiking Trails in Palm Springs?
Here are just a few of the best hiking trails located in Palm Springs, including a quick summary of the length, elevation, and difficulty of each hike.
Bogert to Murray Peak Trail
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Length: 6.8 Miles
- Elevation: 1853 Feet
This trail begins at the end of the Bogert Trail in South Palm Springs. It runs for nearly 7 miles and takes you to an elevation of close to 2,000 feet, making for a fairly tough hike that beginning hikers should avoid.
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Length: 4.1 Miles
- Elevation: 400 to 1,200 Feet
The Araby trail starts above a residential area and offers some great views of the city. You can access this moderately strenuous hike at the start of the Southridge development, which is close to Bob Hope’s house.
Bob Hope’s former home sits on a plot that spans around 24,000 feet. It was designed by John Lautner and is a true marvel, just like the beautiful mountain terrain that surrounds it.
It will take you about an hour to cover this trail.
The Cactus to Cloud Trail
- Difficulty: Hard
- Length: 17.5 Miles
- Elevation: 10,500 Feet
This is a very tough hike that will take you all day to complete and requires a lot of stamina and some very high fitness levels.
It starts at the back of the Palm Springs Art Museum and will take you to nearly 11,000 feet in elevation to the top of Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.
Avoid this trail during the summer or in hot spring weather. It’s not for the faint of height and may be too dangerous in very hot and dry conditions.
Palm Springs Museum Trail
- Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
- Length: 0.6 Miles
- Elevation: 377 Feet
The museum trail is a very short hiking trail that’s a good option for beginners and families. You can access this well-marked trail from the back of the Palm Springs Art Museum.
Palm Canyon Trail
- Difficulty: Easy
- Length: 2 Miles
- Elevation: 295 Feet
Palm Canyon Trail starts from the Indian Canyons trade post and takes you over 2 miles of terrain for what is a very easy but enjoyable hike.
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Length: 3.2 Miles
- Elevation: 770 Feet
A dog friendly hike that is popular with runners and walkers. If you have a dog with you, be sure to keep it on a leash and take plenty of water with you, as you have a few miles of hiking ahead of you.
North Lykken Trail
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Length: 3 Miles
- Elevation: 1748 Feet
You can access the North Lykken Trail from the west of Ramon Road. Just follow the road until you see the trailhead. There is parking off on the side streets and you have about 3 miles of hiking there and back.
Other Hikes in Palm Springs
We said that the hikes above were just a few of the great trails in Palm Springs, and we weren’t lying. There are many more great hiking trails here, so if the ones above aren’t quite what you’re looking for, check out the following:
- Palm Springs Indian Canyons: This protected natural reserve sits on Native land and covers over 60 miles of hiking trails. You’ll need to pay an entrance fee, but if you’re looking for some exciting outdoor activities, it’s well worth it.
- Andreas Canyon: The Andreas Canyon Trail is a fairly easy hike that takes you to just a couple of hundred feet in elevation. It’s a short but incredible hike that showcases some of the region’s natural and cultural beauty.
- The South Lykken Trail: Located at the southern end of Palm Springs, this trail can be accessed close to the intersection between Palm Canyon Drive and Mesquite Road. Just head down Mesquite until you reach the Tahquitz Canyon Visitors Center. The trail spans about 2 miles and offers some fantastic scenic overlooks.
- Murray Canyon: Murray Canyon spans two trails: the Coffman Trail and the Murray Canyon Trail. You will see the beautiful Seven Sisters Waterfall and lots of natural wonders, making it one of the most beautiful hikes in Palm Springs.
- Mount San Jacinto State Park: You can access Mount San Jacinto State Park via the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. It is a vast wilderness area that spans over 50 miles of hiking trails across thousands of acres of wilderness.
- The Hahn Buena Vista Trail: This is a very tough hiking trail, but if you have the fitness levels, it’s worth it. It’s one of the most scenic trails in the Santa Rose Mountains and when you reach the peak you’ll be treated to panoramic views of Coachella Valley.
Summary: Hiking in Palm Springs
Hiking trails are probably not the first thing that spring to mind when you think of Palm Springs, but they should be.
If you’re a keen hiker and general outdoor adventurer, be sure to include this CA city on your bucket list.