Hiking in Palm Springs
Easy & fun trails in the city
With gorgeous weather and unparalleled views, Palm Springs is a hikers paradise. There are literally hundreds of trails all across the Coachella Valley to explore. We’ll keep this article focused on trails in the immediate Palm Springs city area for simplicity, lest this short article tune into an encyclopedia.
There are a number of easy hikes through Indian Canyons. You’ll be required to pay an admission fee to enter the park but the vast array of scenery, terrain and trails is well worth it.
Pick up a free map when you pay your fee at the main gate. If you want to start out easy, head directly for West Fork Falls via short downward trail. This hike is very short and 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 lazy Palm Canyon Creek and its array of majestic palms clinging to the banks, then back up to the parking lot. Or hike the full route (more moderate) to see more riverside sights including the Stone Pools.
Hikes on Seven Sisters Waterfall trail or the Andreas Canyon Loop are also on the easy side. There are dozens of trails of varying intensity in the park. Drop in on the Trading Post and chat with a ranger to get some recommendations.
Palm Springs Art Museum Trail
This trail gets its name from the trailhead being located in the north end of the 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 sights. 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 Palm Springs hiking guide Matthew Jordan.
Araby Trail past Bob Hope’s House
If you've ever seen the famous former home of entertainer Bob Hope in Palm Springs, you'll know the giant domed structure sitting atop a hill 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 to speak of, so be prepared for blazing sun and heat.
While the trail scenery is fairly rocky and sandy, the views are stunning. Plus, if you’re keen to spot celebrity homes, peering over at Mr Hope’s former abode can’t be beat.
City stepping - stroll a Palm Springs neighborhood
Of course it’s worth noting you can put on your comfy shoes and stroll through any one of the beautiful neighborhoods in Palm Springs to gaze at mid-century modern homes and beautiful yards. From the Movie Colony neighborhood, to ritzy Vista Las Palmas or the Racquet Club Estates where you’ll find the rare Wexler Steel Houses, there are plenty of streets to stroll and sights to admire, all while keeping exertion to a minimum.
For more hiking trail ideas and a guide for hiking in this area check out this article from VisitPalmsprings.com .