Many Californians and out-of-staters flock to Palm Springs to enjoy the laid-back atmosphere and quick access to nature. With the rocky, rolling landscape that feeds into dramatic mountain peaks nearby, there’s no shortage of ways to explore the beauty of the Greater Palm Springs area.
You can hike, bike, ride horseback, or even hover above in a hot air balloon to get incredible views of the dynamic landscape of the Coachella Valley. For locals and visitors alike, hiking is a popular way to get active and enjoy the great outdoors while you’re at it.
Beyond hiking being just plain fun, it’s also a powerful way to improve your mental and physical health. Hiking with your friends and family can lead to lower stress levels, improved mood, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and overall enhanced mental wellbeing.
One of the best parts about the many trails near the Greater Palm Springs areas is the diversity. There are hikes for explorers of every experience level, so you can decide which trail best suits your mood.
Strap on those hiking boots and don’t forget your water and sunscreen: From easy to more challenging, here are 5 of the best day hikes in the Palm Springs Area.
Easy Palm Springs Day Hikes
The laid-back, one-mile loop is perfect for hikers looking to get out of the city for a leisurely and scenic stroll. Set amongst the traditional tribal grounds of Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, this trail is flanked by bountiful vegetation thanks to a nearby stream. And depending on the time of year, you can look forward to a cascading waterfall as the crescendo of your hike.
Looking to escape the crowds and try your hand at some off-trail navigation? Take a day trip over to Thousand Palms and embark on the Willis Palms and West Mesa Trail.
This lightly-trafficked loop is also lightly-marked, so it may take some flexibility and off-trail adventuring. But for those who don’t mind meandering, this trail is known for its abundance of breathtaking wildflowers. Bring a camera!
Moderate Palm Springs Day Hikes
Palm Springs Museum Trail to North Lykken Trail
Although this trail is only a few miles long, hikers are challenged with a 900-foot elevation gain from the trailhead to the top. But this hike isn’t just a great glute workout — it also ends with an exceptional view of the Coachella Valley below.
The trailhead is located behind the Palm Springs Art Museum’s north parking lot. Pack up a picnic and celebrate with a lunch (or few glasses of champagne) at the picnic tables located at the scenic overlook.
The Canyon View Loop Trail will challenge everything you think about Palm Springs being a dry climate. The Whitewater River springs out of the San Bernedino Mountains, giving life to the fertile Coachella Valley below and coming to rest in the Salton Sea.
Day hikers of Canyon View Loop can venture up a stretch of the famous Pacific Crest Trail, reveling in panoramic views of the 2,851-acre preserve around them.
The loop crosses the Whitewater River and climbs a ridge to even more awe-inspiring views of the Whitewater Canyon, San Bernardino Mountains, and the San Jacinto Mountains.
Challenging Palm Springs Day Hike
Get your legs warmed up and your camera ready for this one. Hikers are hit with an almost 1800-foot elevation gain, taking them from an urban start to serene hills surrounded by dramatic mountain peaks.
You’ll be treated to beautiful views of the San Jacinto range nearby and the snow-dusted San Gorgonio range in the distance
On top of the natural beauty this challenging hike has to offer, a big attraction of this trail is walking past the famous Bob Hope House. This spaceship-like estate belonged to comedian Bob Hope, designed by renowned Modernist architect John Lautner and built in 1980.
After a long day on the trail, you can look forward to cooling off poolside at one of Palm Springs’ many water attractions, or stopping at one of the many famous ice cream parlors around the area. Adventure, recreation, relaxation…the Greater Palm Springs Area has it all.