greater-palm-springs-attractions

Adventure: Amp up the Adrenaline

There’s plenty of excitement if you know where to look in Greater Palm Springs.

Emily Chavous Attractions, Current Digital

greater-palm-springs-attractions
Smoke Tree Ranch in Palm Springs.
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF GREATER PALM SPRINGS CVB

Take a walk on the intrepid side, venturing boldly into a vacation sure to bring even the most demanding thrill-seeker right up to the edge. It’s hot, sure, but don’t let that stop you. There’s plenty of excitement if you know where to look — from horseback riding to drifting in a Beemer to arriving at dinner 
by boat. Ready, set …

stay

Desert Oasis 
by Welk Resorts
Sited on Cathedral Canyon Golf Course, these timeshare-style villas provide access to tennis courts, a billiards and arcade room, a sprawling pool and spa, and an adults-only lap pool. Though we recommend leaving the hotel to tour town, it’ll be hard to resist the copious activities available to guests — from archery practice to cornhole tournaments to drone-flying classes to virtual-reality experiences.

welkresorts.com/palm-springs

Smoke Tree Ranch
Forty-nine cottages dot 375 acres of stunning natural landscape. The ranch was developed in the 1930s and has been a resort for more than 
60 years. Guests can ride horses, take tennis clinics, and wind down with wine tastings. Perfect for families, couples, or group retreats.

smoketreeranch.com

taste

Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace
Come for the mesquite barbecue, stay for the music, linger for the atmosphere. The fact that this legend of a restaurant, bar, and music venue is off the beaten path doesn’t stop music greats from playing here regularly. A short drive from Palm Springs up Highway 62, the venue brings hipsters, locals, biker dudes, and tourists together to take in the tunes of artists such as Sean Lennon, Caribou, Vampire Weekend, and Robert Plant. Paul McCartney even performed here once. Every night is different, and dinner almost always requires a reservation, so plan ahead — and expect a night to remember.

pappyandharriets.com

 pappyandharriets

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY PAPPY & HARRIET’S PIONEERTOWN PALACE

Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace

Mariscos El Capitán

This Mexican restaurant, with a focus on seafood, is known for its imaginative takes on traditional flavors. Pollo asado gets rolled up and sliced like a sushi roll. Chavelas are loaded with spice and garnished with a shoal of shrimp. And there is frequent live entertainment.

mariscoselcapitan.com

Mikado at JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa
Mikado is accessible by boat, which will depart from inside the JW Marriott lobby and transport you across the resort lake; upon arrival you’ll be seated with other guests around a teppan table manned by a chef with impressive hand-eye coordination and, typically, a keen sense of humor. Locals love the steak teppanyaki and sushi.

desertspringsresort.com

explore

Palm Springs 
Aerial Tramway

Who dares hang a rotating capsule the size of a small bus from a series of cables and cram it with people? The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, which has been thrilling visitors since 1963. Ascend 8,516 feet to Mount San Jacinto State Park for cooler temperatures, two restaurants with unrivaled views, a museum, two documentary theaters, and more than 50 miles of hiking trails. Hike on your own, or join a guided walk.

pstramway.com

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PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY PALM SPRINGS AERIAL TRAMWAY

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

BMWDrivingPerformanceCenter

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY GREATER PALM SPRINGS CVB

BMW Performance Center West
Race through the desert like a bat out of hell! In the heart of Thermal, minutes from Coachella and La Quinta, is a serpentine blacktop road course engineered to push any vehicle to the brink with flat straightaways and mettle-testing hairpin turns. Do it in a torqued-out BMW; at 320 horsepower you’ll go zero to 60 in 4.6 seconds. Fasten your seat belt, chum.

bmwperformancecenter.com

Palm Springs Air Museum

Get so close to beautifully sculpted aircraft that you can count the rivets and inhale the fumes of former aviation glory. History unfurls in the flying machines of yesteryear, such as the Douglas C-47 Skytrain and the Grumman Hellcat. Not just for sky buffs, the air museum also holds its share of naval relics and memorabilia.

psam.org

 palmspringsairmuseum

PHOTOGRAPH BY LISA CORSON

Palm Springs Air Museum

atvexperience

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY GREATER PALM SPRINGS CVB

ATV Experience
In 1968 all-terrain vehicles were mass-produced for the public. To mark the 50th, visit Chiriaco Summit, an unincorporated area just east of Indio. (Upon entering this desert void you know you are in ATV country.) Watch the sunrise or sunset as an expert drives you, or take control of your own vehicle and give the roadrunners a reason to .

atvexperience.com

Palm Springs Cyclery
Stocked floor-to-ceiling with bicycles in all shapes, colors, and sizes, this shop is for everyone from serious mountain pedalers to neighborhood cruisers. There are electric bikes too, plus riding apparel, accessories, shoes, and cycling-related literature. Rentals and bike repairs are available, and employees are well-versed in the best area routes to take a spin. Palm Springs Cyclery has a sister store in Palm Desert.

pscyclery.com

mountainbikingpalmsprings

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY SCOTT BAKER, GREATER PALM SPRINGS CVB

Palm Springs Cyclery

Q & A

Jim Karpiak

executive director of the Coachella Valley Mountains Conservancy

If you’re smart about it, you can enjoy the area’s hiking trails even in the heat of the summer. Karpiak explains how.

Best times to go?
Hiking as early as possible is critical — I often go out around 6 a.m., and I’m done by 9:30 a.m. at the latest. Look at the projected temperatures by hour and plan your route accordingly.

Is there such a thing as too hot for hiking?
While everyone may have a different limit, no one should be hiking in 100-plus heat, and in July and August, that number can be reached by 10 or 11 a.m.

What are the essentials for a summer hike?
Water, sunscreen, sunglasses, and good hiking shoes are imperative. Protein bars and nuts are good to carry for extra energy since they aren’t too heavy.

How much water should you really bring?
More is always better. Two liters or more per hour — particularly if there is not a water source at some point on the trail. My rule of thumb is this: When half my water is gone, I turn around.

cvmc.ca.gov

 jimkarpiak

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY JIM KARPIAK

Jim Karpiak