palm springs night

From Dusk to Dawn

If you’re a desert dweller who likes being outside year-round, in 
summer you’re probably a night owl. Here’s how to take wing.

Michelle Roe Arts & Entertainment

palm springs night
When the sun goes down, the amount of evening activities increases during the summer.

The summer sun is intense, but Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley are open for all manner of nocturnal activities.

Find the Fairway

The Lights at Indio GC shine on every evening, and the only illuminated golf course in the Coachella Valley invites you to lose just as many balls after dark as you do at high noon. No need to use those gimmicky glow balls that look cool but compress about as well as sodden cement. Bright lights have been scattered from tee to green along the 18-hole, par 3 course.

Offering full amenities — driving range, golf shop, carts, chipping and putting green, refreshments, and lessons — the facility is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. Be aware: Sometimes golfers share the course with an emerging class of footgolfers, an activity that is sorta like soccer and sorta like golf and utterly goofy. 83040 Avenue 42, Indio. 760-391-4049;

Count Your Lucky Stars

Star-gazing is an art as well as a science. The universe is such a large canvas the celestial points of light are as infinite as space itself. The Astronomical Society of the Desert hosts a monthly Star Party where guests use high-powered telescopes and binoculars to stalk the stars with no risk of arrest. Summer is particularly busy for constellation-surfing, spying on shooting stars and comets, and witnessing any number of lunar events. The Perseid meteor shower is one of the Earth’s most impressive regular shows, appearing this year on the night and early morning of Aug. 11 and 12. It’s named for the constellation Perseus, from whose heavenly neighborhood it seems to emerge.

Bruce Gottlieb, president of the Astronomical Society of the Desert says, “It’s neat to look up in the sky and see what the public calls ‘shooting stars’ or ‘falling stars.’ It’s an exciting event — like seeing fireworks. Only the Perseid meteor shower is a natural fireworks display.”

The society meets at the Saw Mill Trailhead on Highway 74 at the Santa Rosa San Jacinto National Monument area; viewing is free. Star Parties this summer are planned for June 4, July 30, and Aug. 27. For additional information and scheduling updates: 760-771-4607;

Armed with a black light, hikers can see scorpions turn neon green.

Look for Prowlers

Friends of the Desert Mountains invite inquisitive hikers of all ages to commune with critters in a series of summer “Night Adventures.”

The journey to the dark side begins about 30 to 45 minutes after nightfall. The one-hour nature walks are conducted by well-informed volunteers traversing flat terrain of about half a mile. Armed with water and black lights (bring your own or share equipment belonging to the organization), groups meander in search of natives who use more than two legs. Or in some cases, none. You might see rattlesnakes, moths, owls, geckos, rabbits, and kangaroo rats, and you’ll be instructed how to avoid hazardous flora and fauna. Lucky hikers will spot the elusive scorpion, which turns neon green as it reacts to black lights. Get your photo quickly, as the predatory arachnids are not patient models, and will scurry away.

The hikes are free, and generally held on several Saturdays throughout the summer. For specific dates, times, and information, link here: For reservations and location, call the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor Center at 760-862-9984.

Get Some Rhythm

Join the jam session that celebrates a summer’s worth of full moons. At the Desert Rhythm Drum Circle no rehearsal is required. Or any rhythm. Music, dancing, and card-reading are all free and family-friendly. Circle ‘round this summer June 20, July 19, and Aug. 18 at the Ace Hotel’s Moroccan Patio at 7 p.m.
Ace Hotel & Swim Club, 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 760-325-9900;

Develop Some Horse Sense

The Crazy Horse Ranch stages educational and fun trail rides at sunset and sunrise throughout the summer. The tours are all privately arranged by reservation, and are subject to weather restrictions.
Crazy Horse Ranch 50440 Cheyenne Trail, Morongo Valley. 760-831-6450;