Palm Springs and the surrounding area is a premier location to explore for any lover of the outdoors. There’s nothing more beautiful than the serene elegance of a desert landscape.  Joshua trees sprout where least expected. Windmills churn in the horizon.

Indian Canyons is an ancient canyon oasis with year-round streams lined with California Fan palms, the only palm native to the Western U.S. Over 100 miles of hiking trails can be found in the Indian Canyons. Located on Agua Caliente tribal land, the canyons are a must-see. Undisturbed natural beauty is combined with remarkably easy access – all within just minutes from downtown Palm Springs. 

            [Tip: Visitors can schedule a ranger led hike in Indian Canyons]

Surrounding Palm Springs is the 272,000 acres Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument. This wilderness area encompasses everything from the low arid desert to the pine-filled summit of San Jacinto at 10,834 feet. Luckily, this summit is easily accessible for non-hikers via the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, which has the largest rotating tramcars in the world.

The San Andreas Fault, the longest and most famous fault in the world, runs approximately 810 miles through California. The southern end of the fault line, called the Mojave segment, runs not far from Palm Springs.  The fault allows water to come to the surface, where you will find an oasis.  For an adventure, visitors can take a
jeep tour of the San Andreas.     

Joshua Tree National Park  is 794,000 acres and located about one hour from Palm Springs, where the Mojave and Lower Colorado deserts join to form the park and is open all year. The park's premier attractions are forests of giant branching yuccas known as joshua trees, massive rock formations, and seasonal gardens of cholla and ocotillo.  Spring is the best time to see the desert in bloom, although periods vary according to winter precipitation . Blooming usually commences in February and peaks in March and April.

[Tip: Schedule an evening tour of Joshua Tree National Park where visitors will look into a rarely seen world - the desert at night! Since a substantial number of species in the desert are nocturnal, dusk is an excellent time for viewing many kinds of desert wildlife. Night vision equipment, SkyScout, and revolutionary Scorpion Hunter Blacklights provided.]

Birders will appreciate the migrating spring flocks at the Salton Sea, south of Palm Springs. Here at the Sonny Bono National Wildlife Refuge, over 826 acres of wetlands host hundreds of bird species, including egrets, ibis, cranes, ducks, and the endangered Yuma 

As visitors leave the downtown area, you will begin to discover that Palm Springs, and the surrounding desert cities, make up the outdoor recreational playground of Southern California.clapper rail.

Beyond jeeps and feet, there are all kinds of other guided desert tours – be it mountain biking, horseback riding, or rock climbing. 

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is the largest state park in California and the largest desert state park the U.S.  The park entry is about a 1.5 hour drive south of Palm Springs. Five-hundred miles of dirt roads, 12 wilderness areas and miles of hiking trails provide visitors with an unparalleled opportunity to experience the wonders of the California Desert. The park is named after Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza and the Spanish name borrego, or bighorn sheep. The park features washes, wildflowers, palm groves, cacti and sweeping vistas. Visitors may also have the chance to see roadrunner, golden eagles, kit foxes, mule deer and bighorn sheep as well as iguanas, chuckwallas and the red diamond rattlesnake. Listening devices for the hearing impaired are available in the visitor center.

Choose Module to Read:  Intro | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | Quiz Yourself