Hiking Palm Springs, California

Beyond the Pools and Golf Courses

Palm Springs offers more than just pools, golfing and mid-century architecture. It’s also a great place for outdoor activities like hiking. When I first visited Palm Springs from Oregon, I went to the visitor’s center to get some hiking information. They suggested I go to the admission only Indian Canyons and avoid private property around Palm Springs. That’s a shame because there are a ton of free spots around here. Late Fall, Winter and early Spring weather is usually perfect for hiking. Here are some of my favorites hikes:

South Lykken Trail

This trail can be accessed from the north and south. I like the South Trailhead. This is a good climb with almost a thousand feet of elevation gain in 1.5 miles. At the top, there are picnic tables, great views of Palm Springs and Tahquitz Canyon. If you think this trail is steep, the $12.50 per person admission to hike Tahquitz might seem even steeper.

North Lykken/Museum Trail

The North Lykken can be accessed from the end of Ramon Road or by hiking up the Museum Trail from behind the Palm Springs Art Museum. The Museum Trail is very steep but has some great views of downtown. These Trails will also lead to the Cactus to Clouds Trail that goes all the way to the top of Mt. San Jacinto. Hikers often require rescue on the Cactus to Clouds Trail as they may be unprepared for the almost 10,000 feet vertical gain and changing weather conditions.

Araby Trail

This hike takes you up to Bob Hope’s massive mushroom shaped house. The neighborhood also includes a house where Steve McQueen lived and the Elrod House featured in the James Bond film “Diamonds are Forever”. It’s a fairly easy hike up to Bob’s house but really climbs after you pass the house.

Earl Henderson/Shannon Trail

This is a short but sweet trail close to the Araby and Garstin. Parking area is in the wash off of Araby street.

The snow covered mountain peaks after a winter storm.

Murray Hill

Murray Hill is the highest point in the surrounding trail system. You can access it from Earl Henderson/Shannon Trail or anyone of the others in the area. It's about 9 miles round-trip and a healthy 2,100 vertical feet gain.

Desert Hiking Tips

  1. Carry plenty of water even in Winter.
  2. Pack extra layers as the weather can change rapidly. Once the sun goes down the temperature will drop. I keep a space blanket in my pack just in case.
  3. A wide brim hat can help keep you cool.
  4. Include tweezers with your first aid kit in case you get too close to cactus.
  5. Check weather conditions before setting out. Summers are extremely hot.
Published: December 3, 2017

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Scott Sichler


Full-time traveler out exploring in our RV.