murray canyon palm springs

Secluded Splendor of the Seven Sisters

A morning walk through Murray Canyon captures the beauty and enchantment of an oasis in full bloom.

Kate Anderson Attractions, Current Digital, Hiking

murray canyon palm springs
PHOTOGRAPHS BY KATE ANDERSON

A few times each decade, when the weather conditions are just right — cool winter days and even cooler nights combined with substantial rain showers — the desert blooms into a Technicolor masterpiece. Yellow brittlebush blankets the ground, purple verbena sprinkles the mountainside, and the occasional beavertail cactus protrudes from a rocky crevice, its fuchsia flower petals popping against the blue sky.

wild heliotrope

Wild heliotrope, whose distinct flowers bloom in a scorpion tail arrangement.

san jacinto mountains

A Washingtonia filifera palm tree grove blooming with brittlebush.

The superbloom that swept across California this past spring, the reward of record-breaking rain and mountain snowfall, bestowed visitors to the Indian Canyons in Palm Springs with a bounty of wildflowers — some never before seen in these parts. One of the most popular hikes, through Murray Canyon, winds up into the crevices of the San Jacinto Mountains, meandering among palm tree oases and crisscrossing a crystal-clear stream before stopping at a cascading waterfall — a dramatic finale in a land rooted in the practical and spiritual properties of this life-giving resource. You can visit these breathtaking landscapes year-round, though they are especially stunning when these blooms abound.

seven sister waterfall

The three-tiered Seven Sisters waterfall, which can only be reached via Murray Canyon Trail, a 2-mile hike that winds through palm tree oases and crosses a mountain-fed stream.

apricot mallow

Looking south into Murray Canyon, with apricot mallow blooming in the foreground.

brittle bush plant

Rock crevices overflow with brittlebush blooms

canterburybells

Canterbury bells

 brittle bush

Brittlebush, once used by the Agua Caliente to treat chest pain and toothache

white prickly poppy

The beautiful but poisonous white prickly poppy, also known as cowboy fried egg.

wild hyacinth

Wild hyacinth, commonly seen near washes and along slopes below 2,400 feet.

When You Go
Indian Canyons

Open daily Oct. 1 through July 4, 8 a.m.to 5 p.m.;
Fridays–Sundays only July 5 tbhrough Sept. 30, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
760-323-6018, indian-canyons.com
#IndianCanyons

VIDEO: Take a Visual Tour of Murray Canyon at aguacaliente-nsn.gov.

This story originally appeared in MeYah Whae, The Magazine of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, Fall/Winter 2019-20. To read the current digital edition, click HERE.