I love the ocean and I love the mountains. But when I moved to Southern California in 2010, I developed a love for the desert. Just about 1.5 hours away from Orange County, the Palm Desert is one of our favorite places to visit. Although we like to visit new places, we find ourselves returning to Palm Springs or Joshua Tree (one of our family’s favorite national parks) at least once a year.
Despite our many visits to the area, there are a few spots that we never got around to exploring. With little kids, there’s only so much you can squeeze into each trip. Indian and Palm Canyons was on the top of the list, so on our way to La Quinta for a Thanksgiving weekend family reunio, we made a stop here. Since we didn’t arrive until close to 3pm (we made a stop in Oak Glen that morning), and sunset is around 4:30pm this time of year, we were limited in which hikes we could do. We were with our boys (5 and 3) and their grandparents (nearly 70), so we chose an easier and shorter hike in order to make it back to the car by dark. These days, we no longer bring a backpack carrier -both our boys can hike 3-4+ miles on their own.
We followed the ranger’s recommendation and chose the first hike (Andreas Canyon) off to the right after entering the park. We all agreed it was one of the most beautiful hikes we’ve done in Southern California! Unlike other trails in the desert, the trail followed running streams and had abundant California Fan Palms, as well as many other types of vegetation and wildlife.
Andreas Canyon is an easy 1.2 mile loop hike that our group comfortably hiked and enjoyed. According to the website, “Andreas Canyon is considered the world’s second largest California Fan Palm oasis (the largest one is Palm Canyon). Ancient rock mortars adorning the entrance to the canyon remind visitors of the presence of the first people. The trail starts at the Trail Information Board located just north of the bridge. It leads west along the north side of the perennial Andreas Creek for 0.5 mile, then it crosses the creek at the fence and returns along the upper stream terrace to the parking area. Hikers will be rewarded with spectacular views of rock formations, sycamores, cottonwoods, willows, and the magnificent California Fan Palm (Washingtonian filifera), all surrounded by the harsh desert environment.” I didn’t take that many photos because I was focused on enjoying the hike and keeping a close eye on my boys, but I’ll let the photos do the rest of the talking.
There are many more trails to explore in the Indian and Palm Canyons. I also noticed that there were many shaded picnic areas (under the majestic palms) and would love to come back and spend more time. I highly recommend this spot if you’re looking to hike while in Palm Springs!
Directions to the Indian Canyons
To get to the Palm Springs Indian Canyons, take South Palm Canyon from Highway 111 and drive about two miles to the Indian Canyons tollgate. There are signs posted to help you find your way.
October 1 – July 4 : Daily 8am – 5pm, During summer July 5 – Sept. 30: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. (open only Friday, Saturday, Sunday
Note: There is a fee to enter the area, so make sure you are prepared for that when you go to visit. See the website for more information. No animals allowed. Last vehicle in at 4pm