Mission Creek Preserve
Stretch your legs and your appreciation of the region’s range of microclimates among several trails bisecting this transition zone between the Mojave and Colorado deserts. The preserve reaches from desert oases to alpine elevations, and in February, was granted national monument status. An easy 1.5 miles in gets you to a charming stone house and picnic tables. Keep going, and 2 more slightly difficult miles farther you meet the Pacific Crest Trail. The trailhead is at the west end of Mission Creek Road, 5.5 miles north of I-10 off Highway 62 in Desert Hot Springs.
60500 Mission Creek Road, Desert Hot Springs.
Big Morongo Canyon Preserve
You want to commune with nature. You want to take a hike … or maybe just a walk. You want options. You want to be here, where a variety of habitats are found between the Mojave and the Colorado deserts, hosting elevations from 600 to 3,000 feet, and several hiking/walking trails. Maps at the kiosk make your choices clear: a half-mile, wheelchair-accessible ramble along the boardwalk through the riparian oasis, to an 11-miler through Big Morongo Canyon, and several in between.
Morongo Valley: 10 miles north of Interstate 10 on Highway 62. Turn east on East Drive, following the sign to the preserve.
PHOTO BY TOM BREWSTER
PHOTO BY KEVIN STEELE
Multiple trail hikes in the Indian Canyons might change the way you think about the desert. The routes are surrounded by native fan palms that signify a lush oasis. Hike or ride a horse. In Murray Canyon, you might spot an endangered Peninsular bighorn sheep or Least Bell’s vireo bird. Admission to the Indian Canyons is $9 for adults, $7 for seniors and students, and $5 for children 6-12. Open at 8 a.m., last entrance at 4 p.m.
38500 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs.
Content sponsored by Trilogy at The Polo Club, 51750 Polo Club Drive, Indio, 760-775-5522.
For more information, please visit the Explore 52 day trip kiosk at the Trilogy at the Polo Club clubhouse.