If I ever thought of a desert I always thought of the Sahara, but I’ve never even considered hiking as an option there. Hiking and desert were two completely different things for me.
I haven’t expected that we will find our perfect little desert in South California and that hiking in a desert could be so much fun!
Hiking in palm canyons has a feeling!
Okay, I admit we hiked the best part of it: the palm canyons. It really has a feeling to hike in an oasis and have a rest on the trunk of a palm tree.
The place is called Indian Canyons and it’s in Agua Caliente, the land of Cahuilla Indians near Palm Springs, California.
Indian Canyons have three fan palm canyons, so everyone can decide the ideal length of their oasis hike and choose a palm canyon accordingly. We hiked in all three canyons during the 2 days we spent here and we just couldn’t get enough of them!
Such a charming walk: Andreas Canyon
This one mile walk along a nice creek in the shade of huge California fan palm trees enchanted us – such a nice refreshment in the middle of the desert!
Though it’s so short we spent several hours there sitting under the trees, talking, laughing, having picnic and cooling down our feet in the surprisingly cold creek.
The canyon to the waterfall: Murray Canyon
This 4 miles round trip hike goes along a small creek, and water means palm trees here, of course, so we hiked in the pleasant shade of the huge palm trees most of the way.
But the funny thing is that palm trees are grown only in a narrow zone along the creek, so we really felt that we are in the smallest and most enjoyable part of the desert.
Finally, we reached the small Seven Sisters Waterfall where we were resting for a while and were frightened by a huge tarantula before heading back. It didn’t care about us at all, by the way.
THE Palm Canyon
The longest of the canyons has really a lot of fan palms! Though we haven’t found much water in the creek, the beginning of this 15 miles hike was completely shaded by the huge palms.
Later, palms get replaced with so many kind of cactuses and other strange, thorny, spiky plants we couldn’t even know by name. There was groups of palm trees from time to time on the way, though we haven’t seen that many as in the beginning of the hike.
The beginning of the hike is in shade, most part of it later is not. So have sunscreen and a lot of water!
A unique hiking experience
Hiking in the Indian Canyons is hardly comparable to any of our other hikes. Here we felt the hot and the wilderness of the desert and the green and the cool of the oases at the same time and we truly saw that water means life.
Best time to go
South California is hot in general. You can image how hot the deserts can be. The ideal time to hike there is from October to April.
We did it at the very end of November and it felt like summer – not to complain though, we really don’t mind experiencing summer in November.
Indian Canyons can be visited during the day, there’s no need for reservation in advance or mandatory guided tours. You drive there, park there, hike there – you will get a map when paying the entrance fee.
But we recommend to check the Indian Canyons official home page for opening hours and current fees.
Have you ever hiked in a desert? Do you want to?