Bring water for hydration, protein bars for energy, comfortable shoes and socks, and your favorite mobile device to stay in touch (in case of emergency), and also to snap photos of your picturesque trek, then post them, pin them, or share them. Familiarize yourself with these trails then head out for some of the best hiking the desert has to offer.
Bump & Grind Trail
Get down and dirty on the Bump & Grind Trail in Palm Desert. This popular local spot is also terrific for hikers with service dogs. Start at the bottom, where the trail is most narrow. Head up from the valley floor to a pristine view of Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage, and all of the Coachella Valley. This is a good trail to hike during the summer months because its terrain provides excellent visibility for hazards, as well.
Ladder Canyon Hike
This trail resembles portions of Moab, Utah (the terrain James Franco explored in the film, 127 Hours). Now, throw in some actual ladders, and there you have it. This hike in the Mecca Hills is one that requires special attention. Bring a GPS device to stay in contact with rescuers if you get lost. Walk the main canyon and factor in three to four hours to complete the full loop. Once you reach the top, take in memorable views of the Salton Sea.
Get there by following Highway 111 east to Mecca. Next, turn left at 66th Avenue. Follow it as it curves through Mecca. This street becomes Box Canyon Road. Drive about 4.5 miles through a heavily agricultural area until you cross the Coachella Canal. Drive until you see a sign for Painted Canyon Road on the left. Turn left and follow this dirt road for an additional four miles until it dead-ends at the parking area. This is an easy-to-moderate hike, so don’t be afraid to bring a friend — or a fireman — along with you.
Rise of the Lykken Trails
North Lykken Trail will lead you to cool rock formations and vegetation. Start at the south end of Ramon Road and ascend moderately to the picnic tables above the museum. Continue, until you drop down to the trail as it winds below the ridgeline behind the Las Palmas dam.
South Lykken Trail gives hikers a birds-eye view of Tahquitz Canyon’s waterfalls. Both trails are moderately difficult. Whether you are “Team North” or “Team South,” you’ll like hiking the Lykken Trails.
No, the Whitewater Preserve is not a scandal involving Hillary Clinton or her projected presidential run. The only disgrace here is that you have yet to hike this trail. The preserve boasts five trails ranging from easy to difficult and possesses a wide array of birds, reptiles, amphibians, and plant life. Throw in waterfalls, cliffs, and a spot to picnic and you have everything you need for a great date or a family outing. The longest trail in the preserve is the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail, which runs 2,650 miles from Mexico to Canada.
9160 Whitewater Canyon Rd., White Water.
Pounding too many taquitos? Blast away those carbs with a trip to Tahquitz Canyon. Hikers gain 350 feet in elevation and will need to allow two hours to complete this two-mile loop trail. The waterfall is the main attraction here, but there is plenty of magic en route as well. Soak your feet in the waterfall’s pond to rejuvenate them after your trek.
500 W. Mesquite Ave., Palm Springs.
Thousand Palms Oasis
Take a guided hike across the Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve. This trail has a pleasing vista of towering palm trees that greet each hiker. A boardwalk navigates you through its majesty. A sandy path on the property leads to an actual desert oasis — locals begrudge that term, but visitors celebrate it — and rightfully so. This hike makes a great first-date option. Hikers will also revel in the various flora and fauna located throughout the preserve.
29200 Thousand Palms Canyon Rd., Thousand Palms.
One little, two little … six little hiking trails. Hiking enthusiasts, Indian Canyons has you covered. Take a leisurely stroll through Andreas Canyon Loop, then enjoy some cultural expansion along Palm Canyon. Surpass your physical limits as you walk through Murray Canyon. There is so much to explore along this terrain, you’ll need to make a couple trips in order to gain a deeper understanding its indigenous people, the Agua Caliente Cahuilla Indians.
Take to these trails, then follow-up with us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter (#PSLife) with details about your journey.