Showing: 1 - 7 of 7 RESULTS

Exploring the Coachella Valley Preserve


Exploring the Coachella Valley Preserve

Nestled in the sun-kissed landscapes of Southern California in Thousand Palms near Palm Springs, lies a hidden gem waiting to be discovered—the Coachella Valley Preserve. This unique sanctuary offers a captivating blend of desert beauty, biodiversity, and a rich cultural history, making it a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and curious wanderers alike. It’s a great place for familiar and kids too!

About the Coachella Valley Preserve

The Coachella Valley Preserve spans over 20,000 acres of pristine wilderness, showcasing the stunning contrast between the vast desert terrain and the lush oasis that runs through it. Towering California fan palms provide shade and refuge for a diverse array of wildlife, creating a unique and rich ecosystem. The oasis in the Coachella Valley Preserve is primarily created by the because of the San Andreas Fault. This fault line extends for about 800 miles through California. The movement along the fault has led to the upward movement of underground water, creating natural springs. In the Thousand Palms Oasis within the preserve, the water emerging from these springs provides a lifeline to the California fan palms, creating a lush oasis in the midst of the dry desert landscape. The palms, in turn, provide shade and a more humid microclimate, attracting a variety of plant and animal species that have adapted to this unique environment.

Hiking Trails

Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll, an educational adventure for the kids to enjoy or a longer, more challenging hike, the Coachella Valley Preserve offers trails of all levels and experiences.

  1. McCallum Trail:
    • Difficulty: Moderate
    • Distance: Approximately 2.5 miles (round trip)
    • Highlights: Traverse through the heart of the Thousand Palms Oasis, getting up close and personal with the iconic California fan palms.
  2. Pushawalla Palms Trail:
    • Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous
    • Distance: Approximately 4 miles (round trip)
    • Highlights: Enjoy a more challenging hike through diverse desert landscapes, culminating in a tranquil oasis surrounded by majestic palms.
  3. Moon Country Trail:
    • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
    • Distance: Approximately 1.5 miles (round trip)
    • Highlights: Take a leisurely stroll through the desert, soaking in expansive views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
  4. Hidden Palms Trail:
    • Difficulty: Easy
    • Distance: Approximately 1 mile (round trip)
    • Highlights: Discover a secluded cluster of California fan palms in this easygoing and peaceful trail.
  5. Horseshoe Palms Trail:
    • Difficulty: Moderate
    • Distance: Approximately 3 miles (loop)
    • Highlights: Enjoy a varied landscape, including desert scenery, rocky canyons, and, of course, more of those signature palm trees in a horseshoe-shaped loop.

Remember to bring plenty of water, wear appropriate hiking gear, and, most importantly, take the time to enjoy the unique beauty and tranquility that each trail at the Coachella Valley Preserve has to offer!

Flora and Fauna

Beyond the mesmerizing palms, the Coachella Valley Preserve is home to a remarkable variety of plant and animal species. Native desert flora, including creosote bushes and wildflowers, paint the landscape with bursts of color, especially during the spring bloom. Keep a look out for small signs throughout that provide information on the native plants and animals that call the area home.

Cultural and Historical Significance

The preserve is not only a haven for nature enthusiasts but also a place of historical and cultural importance. The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, the indigenous people of the region, have a deep connection to the land. Petroglyphs and artifacts found in the area provide a glimpse into the ancient history of the Cahuilla people, adding a layer of cultural richness to the preserve.

The Coachella Valley Preserve in Thousand Palms, California, invites visitors to embark on a journey of discovery and appreciation for the beauty of the desert landscape. With its vibrant oasis, diverse wildlife, and rich cultural history, this preserve offers an enriching experience for those seeking a deeper connection with nature. Whether you’re an avid hiker, a nature enthusiast, or simply looking to get the family out of the house for a bit, the Coachella Valley Preserve is a true sanctuary waiting to be explored. Happy exploring!

Blogs California Joshua Tree National Park

The Most Unique Places to Stay in Joshua Tree

Nestled in the Hi-Desert of Southern California, Joshua Tree has long been a haven for nature enthusiasts, stargazers, and those seeking a unique escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. If you’re planning a visit to this enchanting desert destination, why settle for ordinary accommodations when you can experience the magic of Joshua Tree in style? Here is a list of some of the most extraordinary and unique Airbnbs we know of that promise not just a place to stay, but an unforgettable desert adventure.

Pueblo Trail · Joshua Tree Living – Pool, Spa, Fire Pit, Views!

This property is newly remodeled home on a spacious full acre, just a 5-minute drive from town and 7 minutes from the park entrance. It features, unparalleled views, a hot tub, a new kitchen, bathrooms and complete privacy. Guests can also take advantage of the 8’x20′ above-ground container pool and the EV charger!

Photo Credit: Pueblo Trail

Casa Demesne + Container Pool + 10 Min to Joshua Tree National Park + Fire pit

Casa Demesne offers a modern design retreat centrally in the Hi-Desert. The highlight of this property is the new Modpool, which is a heated pool and spa made from an upcycled shipping container!

Photo Credit: Casa Demesne

Serenity Dome House Oasis

Can you imagine staying in a geodesic dome house?! At this property, you can. You can also relax in one of their three trailers, adorned with art by local muralists – perfect for capturing that ideal Joshua Tree Instagram moment! Alternatively, unwind in the hammock tree, take a refreshing dip in the 8ft deep pool (which can be heated), or indulge in the hot tub under a dazzling night sky filled with stars.

Photo Credit: Serenity Dome

House of Sunshine – Step Back in Time to the 1970s

Enter a retro time capsule at the House of Sunshine, where the lively essence of the 1960s and 1970s is vividly revived. This psychedelic paradise, boasting 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, ensures an unforgettable retreat for you and your friends. The moment you step inside, you’ll be whisked away to an era characterized by peace, love, and positive vibes.

Photo Credit: House of Sunshine

The Pink Palm – Colorful Barbie Home

Step into The Pink Palm, a charming mid-century jewel constructed in 1959, where a whimsical pink brick exterior and entrance door warmly greet you. As you enter, a vibrant world unfolds with vivid colors, eye-catching wallpapers, and a neon sign boldly proclaiming, “That’s a lot of Pink!” set against a backdrop of pink velvet walls. The entryway features a cozy sectional lounge couch and an overhead lamp, forming an ideal space for relaxation, reading, and socializing.

Photo Credit: The Pink Palm

The Castle House Estate

The Caste House is the ultimate “flaming” experience and it was also featured on HGTV! This a unique medieval themed property is situated on 12 scenic acres, surrounded by expansive private undeveloped land, with a tiered hexagonal aqua blue cowboy pool, strategically placed on a breathtaking IPE wood deck.

Casita Panorama

Like pickle ball? Imagine staying in a property that includes its own private pickle ball courts with panoramic desert mountain and Joshua Tree views!

Photo Credit: Casita Panorama

Hicksville Trailer Palace

Embrace the epitome of hipster chic by opting for an Instagram-worthy trailer equipped with retro games and a petite pool, transporting you to a bygone era. This quaint motel offers an array of themed trailers, from the groovy 70s vibe of “The Sweet” to the extraterrestrial allure of “The Integratrailor.” The trailers’ cozy arrangement creates an authentic trailer park ambiance.

Photo Credit: Hicksville

AutoCamp Joshua Tree

AutoCamp is basically a camp of Airstream campers situated around a beautiful property just outside the entrance of Joshua Tree National Park.

Blogs California

A Hidden Oasis: Hiking Murray Canyon to Seven Sisters Waterfall in Palm Springs, Ca

In the heart of Palm Springs lies a hidden gem waiting to be discovered—the trail from Murray Canyon to the Seven Sisters Waterfall. In this blog we’ll share and explore the route, what to expect on your journey and a few helpful tips and recommendations to keep in mind before starting on your trek. Happy hiking!

3.7 miles | Elevation gain 538 ft | Out & back | Rated Moderate

Address: Murray Canyon Trail, 2019 E Murray Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92264

Trail Overview:

The trail begins at the Indian Canyons Trading Post. Follow the signs guiding you towards Maynard Mine and Murray Canyon. Proceed south, crossing the dirt road over Andreas Canyon Creek. Once you’ve crossed, veer left immediately to stay on course toward Maynard Mine/Murray Canyon. Your journey unfolds along a road that winds through several picnic areas, shaded by beautiful arching palms. As you continue, you’ll eventually reach another trail sign and a map, marking the official trailhead for Murray and Maynard.

The path initially takes you through a desert landscape, along a dirt trail with not much shade but beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. Eventually the trail leads you down into Murray Canyon, guiding you along a creek through a lush palm oasis.

At the 1.5-mile mark, a connecting trail veers off to the left, leading upward towards the Coffman Trail on the ridge to the east. Keep right and continue on towards the Seven Sisters Waterfall. The next stretch is a bit more steep and rocky.

By the time you reach 1.9 miles, you’ll reach a final turn in the canyon towards the south, revealing the hidden gem—Seven Sisters Falls. It’s a small, tucked away flowing waterfall offering a moment of serenity; the perfect reward for conquering the journey.

Know Before You Go

  1. Entry Fee: Be aware of any entry fees associated with your visit. Ensure you have the necessary funds for admission, and check if there are any discounts available. Admission fees are as follows: Adults $12, Seniors 62+ $7, Students (with student ID) $7, Children (6-12) $6, Military (with U.S. military ID) Free, and Equestrian $11.
  2. Plan Ahead: Plan your visit in advance, considering the time of year, weather, and the specific trails you want to explore. This ensures a more enjoyable and prepared adventure.
  3. Respect Cultural Sites: The Indian Canyons hold cultural significance for the Cahuilla people. Respect the sacred sites, artifacts, and any cultural markers you encounter. Avoid touching or disturbing these elements.
  4. Respect Wildlife: Indian Canyons is home to diverse wildlife. Observe animals from a distance, avoid feeding them, and respect their natural habitats. Binoculars can enhance your wildlife-watching experience.
  5. Hydration is Key: Southern California’s desert climate can be deceptively dry. Bring an ample supply of water to stay hydrated, especially if you’re planning an extended hike. It’s crucial to combat the arid conditions.
  6. Wear Appropriate Clothing: Dress in layers and wear comfortable, breathable clothing suitable for the desert environment. Sturdy hiking shoes are recommended for trails with varying terrains.
  7. Sun Protection: Shield yourself from the sun’s intensity by wearing a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Protecting your skin and eyes is crucial in the desert sun.
  8. Pack Snacks: Bring light snacks to keep your energy levels up during your exploration. Portable, non-perishable snacks are convenient for a quick refuel.
  9. Stay on Designated Trails: Stick to designated trails to protect the delicate desert ecosystem. Straying off the path can disturb plant life and contribute to erosion.
  10. Check Trail Conditions: Before your visit, check the current trail conditions, as they can vary based on weather and maintenance. Stay informed about any closures or restrictions to ensure a smooth and safe experience.

So, there you have it—Murray Canyon to Seven Sisters Waterfall It’s not just a hike; it’s like stumbling upon nature’s secret stash. Whether you’re a seasoned trekker or a newbie to the trail scene, this one’s bound to leave you with a smile as wide as the desert horizon. Until next time, happy trails!

Blogs California

A Day Trip to Oak Glen, California

Nestled in the scenic beauty of the San Bernardino Mountains, Oak Glen, California, offers a cute and charming escape for nature enthusiasts and those seeking fall fun in California. Known for its picturesque orchards, crisp mountain air, and friendly atmosphere, Oak Glen makes for an ideal day trip destination. Join us as we explore the highlights we enjoyed during our short time in this quaint town and discover why it’s a hidden gem in Southern California.


Begin your day with the crisp mountain air and the sweet scent of ripe apples at Snow Line Orchards. This family-owned orchard not only offers a variety of apple varieties but also provides a quintessential farm experience. Wander through the orchards, picking your own apples straight from the branches while enjoying the breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. Snow Line Orchards is known for its freshly baked mini apple cider donuts. Wait in line and watch them your eyes. You can also order other apple infused goods, fresh apple cider, hard cider and artisanal apple wines! The cozy ambiance and aroma of warm pastries set the stage for a perfect morning in Oak Glen.


Next, make your way to Oak Tree Mountain. This recently revamped family-friendly park offers a plethora of entertainment options! Be sure to enjoy a delicious lunch from Apple Annies Bakery & Restaurant, where you can indulge in local favorites like their renowned chicken pot pie or chicken fried steak. Given the popularity, expect a wait for a table. Explore the park at a leisurely pace, discovering its various shops and attractions. From a petting zoo and playground to an exciting giant mountain tubing slide, there’s something for everyone. Don’t miss the chance to catch some live music throughout the park – grab a beverage from the Common Ground Public House and take a stroll, or perhaps give Axe throwing a try for a unique therapeutic experience!


Cap off your day of adventure and exploration with a delightful dinner at Oak Glen Steakhouse and Saloon. Known for its rustic charm and hearty meals, this local gem promises a satisfying dining experience. Indulge in a mouthwatering steak or savor one of their other delectable menu offerings. The warm and inviting atmosphere of the saloon adds a touch of old-world charm to your evening. Whether you’re looking for a cozy spot for two or a place to gather with friends and family, Oak Glen Steakhouse and Saloon provides the ideal setting to reflect on the day’s escapades while enjoying a delicious meal in the heart of Oak Glen.

Other Activities to Enjoy:
Apple Picking

While we didn’t get a chance to full immerse ourselves in the Oak Glen apple picking experience, it is one of the top reasons people flock to the area during Autumn. If you’re looking for where to go, here are a few of the top farms/orchards to consider.

  1. Snow Line Orchards:
    • Address: 39400 Oak Glen Road, Yucaipa, CA 92399
    • Highlights: A family-friendly orchard with a variety of apples available for picking. They often have additional activities such as tractor rides and a country store.
  2. Riley’s at Los Rios Rancho:
    • Address: 39611 Oak Glen Road, Yucaipa, CA 92399
    • Highlights: Known for its historic charm, Riley’s offers a delightful apple picking experience. Explore their orchards, participate in cider pressing, and enjoy seasonal events.
  3. Stone Pantry Orchard:
    • Address: 11993 S. Oak Glen Road, Oak Glen, CA 92399
    • Highlights: A smaller orchard with a welcoming atmosphere, Stone Pantry Orchard offers a more intimate apple picking experience. Check their schedule for the availability of specific apple varieties.
  4. Willowbrook Apple Farm:
    • Address: 12099 S. Oak Glen Road, Oak Glen, CA 92399
    • Highlights: This family-owned farm provides a charming setting for apple picking. They often have educational programs and events for visitors of all ages.
  5. Parrish Pioneer Ranch:
    • Address: 38561 Oak Glen Road, Yucaipa, CA 92399
    • Highlights: A picturesque orchard with a focus on preserving the history of the area. Enjoy apple picking and explore the scenic surroundings.
  6. Riley’s Farm:
    • Address: 12261 S. Oak Glen Road, Oak Glen, CA 92399
    • Highlights: Riley’s Farm offers a unique historical experience along with apple picking. Explore colonial-themed activities, enjoy period-appropriate food, and immerse yourself in the farm’s charming atmosphere.

Oak Glen and its surrounding areas offer a variety of trails for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Here are some notable trails near Oak Glen, California:

  1. Oak Glen Preserve Trails:
    • Location: 39611 Oak Glen Road, Yucaipa, CA 92399
    • Highlights: The Oak Glen Preserve, managed by the Wildlands Conservancy, provides several scenic trails of varying difficulty levels. Explore the preserve’s diverse habitats, including oak woodlands and meadows.
  2. Yucaipa Regional Park Trails:
    • Location: 33900 Oak Glen Road, Yucaipa, CA 92399
    • Highlights: Yucaipa Regional Park offers multiple trails around its lake, providing a peaceful setting for walks and hikes. The trails vary in length, offering options for both casual strolls and more challenging hikes.
  3. Wildwood Canyon State Park:
    • Location: Oak Glen Road, Yucaipa, CA 92399
    • Highlights: Wildwood Canyon State Park features hiking trails with stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. The park is known for its diverse flora and fauna, making it a great spot for nature enthusiasts.
  4. Los Rios Rancho Trail:
    • Location: 39611 Oak Glen Road, Yucaipa, CA 92399
    • Highlights: This trail is part of the Los Rios Rancho property and offers a pleasant walk through the orchards and surrounding natural areas. It’s a family-friendly option with beautiful scenery.
  5. Cherry Creek Trail:
    • Location: Crafton Hills Open Space, Yucaipa, CA 92399
    • Highlights: The Cherry Creek Trail in Crafton Hills Open Space provides a more challenging hiking experience with steep sections and rewarding views of the surrounding landscapes.
Extend Your Trip

If you end up I a position like Jordan and I did, where you have a bit too much fun on your day trip, drink too much and need to get a hotel for the night, here are a few quick options to consider.

  1. Oak Tree Inn:
    • Location: 8458 Valley Boulevard, Cherry Valley, CA 92223
    • Highlights: The Oak Tree Inn offers convenient access to Oak Glen and features clean and comfortable rooms. It’s a straightforward choice for those looking for a well-priced accommodation option.
  2. Holiday Inn Express & Suites Beaumont – Oak Valley:
    • Location: 1864 Oak Valley Village Circle, Beaumont, CA 92223
    • Highlights: This modern hotel is a short drive from Oak Glen and provides amenities like a pool, fitness center, and complimentary breakfast, making it suitable for those seeking a more traditional hotel experience.
  3. Hampton Inn & Suites Banning-Beaumont:
    • Location: 6071 Joshua Palmer Way, Banning, CA 92220
    • Highlights: Located in nearby Banning, this Hampton Inn & Suites offers comfortable rooms, a pool, and a complimentary breakfast. It’s a convenient option for those exploring the Oak Glen area.
  4. Calimesa Inn:
    • Location: 1205 Calimesa Blvd, Calimesa, CA 92320
    • Highlights: Calimesa Inn in Yucaipa provides a convenient stay with comfortable rooms. Its location makes it a suitable choice for those looking to explore Oak Glen and the surrounding areas.

Whether you’re seeking adventure, family-friendly activities, or fall festivities, Oak Glen’s diverse range of options ensures there’s something for everyone to enjoy in this picturesque Southern California town. Happy traveling!

Blogs California

Your Guide to Exploring Indian Canyons in Palm Springs

Nestled against the majestic San Jacinto Mountains in Southern California, lies sacred lands with a rich historyThe Indian Canyons in Palm Springs. Managed by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, these canyons are divided into three main hiking areas: Palm Canyon, Murray Canyon and Andreas Canyon. In this guide, we’ll explore some of the best hiking trails the region has to offer, other ways you can experience the area, and a few important “know before you go’s” to keep in mind before visiting.

Hiking Trails

Palm Canyon

Stretching for fifteen miles, Palm Canyon is home to one of the world’s largest fan palm oases. A moderately graded trail gently descends into the heart of the canyon, providing opportunities for picnics by the stream, exploration, invigorating hikes, or even leisurely horseback rides. For those seeking to delve deeper into the cultural richness of the area, a visit to the Trading Post is a must! Here, you can acquire hiking maps, enjoy refreshments, and explore a treasure trove of Indian art and artifacts including books, jewelry, pottery, baskets, weaving, and more.

  1. Palm Canyon Trail:
    • Distance: Varies (up to 15 miles round trip).
    • Difficulty: Moderate to strenuous.
    • Highlights: As one of the world’s largest fan palm oases, Palm Canyon boasts breathtaking scenery. The trail allows hikers to explore the diverse flora and fauna, with the opportunity to witness the iconic California Fan Palms up close.
  2. Victor Trail:
    • Distance: Approximately 1.5 miles round trip.
    • Difficulty: Moderate.
    • Highlights: Opt for the less-traveled Victor Trail for a secluded hiking experience. Panoramic views of the canyons and the surrounding desert make this trail a hidden gem.
  3. Palm Canyon/Victor Loop:
    • Distance: Approximately 7 miles loop.
    • Difficulty: Strenuous.
    • Highlights: Combine the scenic beauty of Palm Canyon with the quieter Victor Trail on this challenging loop. The journey offers a comprehensive exploration of the Indian Canyons.
  4. Fern Canyon Trail:
    • Distance: Approximately 2.5 miles round trip.
    • Difficulty: Moderate.
    • Highlights: Delve into the lush greenery of Fern Canyon, known for its fern-covered walls and shady ambiance. This trail adds a touch of enchantment to your Indian Canyons adventure.
  5. Indian Potrero Trail:
    • Distance: Approximately 5 miles round trip.
    • Difficulty: Moderate.
    • Highlights: Indian Potrero Trail offers a longer trek through diverse landscapes, showcasing the unique flora and geological features of the canyons.
  6. Hahn Buena Vista Trail:
    • Distance: Approximately 3 miles round trip.
    • Difficulty: Moderate.
    • Highlights: Hahn Buena Vista Trail provides panoramic vistas and a chance to appreciate the expansive desert scenery, making it a rewarding choice for hikers seeking stunning views.
  7. West Fork Trail:
    • Distance: Approximately 7 miles round trip.
    • Difficulty: Moderate to strenuous.
    • Highlights: West Fork Trail offers a more extended journey through varied terrain, with opportunities to appreciate the diverse plant life and geological formations.
  8. West Fork North Trail:
    • Distance: Approximately 4 miles round trip.
    • Difficulty: Moderate.
    • Highlights: West Fork North Trail provides a shorter but equally rewarding option, showcasing the beauty of the northern reaches of the Indian Canyons.
  9. Jo Pond Trail:
    • Distance: Approximately 1.5 miles round trip.
    • Difficulty: Easy.
    • Highlights: Jo Pond Trail offers a leisurely stroll around a picturesque pond, providing a peaceful and family-friendly hiking option.
  10. Vandeventer Trail:
    • Distance: Approximately 5 miles round trip.
    • Difficulty: Moderate.
    • Highlights: Vandeventer Trail takes hikers on a scenic journey with panoramic views, showcasing the vastness of the Indian Canyons.
  11. East Fork Trail:
    • Distance: Approximately 5 miles round trip.
    • Difficulty: Moderate.
    • Highlights: East Fork Trail offers a captivating hike through varied landscapes, providing a mix of desert flora and geological formations.
  12. Dry Wash Trail:
    • Distance: Approximately 4 miles round trip.
    • Difficulty: Moderate.
    • Highlights: The Dry Wash Trail offers a distinctive experience, winding through the dry washes of the canyons and providing a unique perspective of the surrounding desert landscape.
Andreas Canyon

Andreas Canyon oasis is home to vibrant green fan palms and over 150 plant types all within just a half-mile radius. A nice footpath takes you through the canyon, passing tall palms, interesting rocks, and the always-flowing Andreas Creek. You can still see old bedrock tools used for cooking centuries ago. This calm spot is great for taking photos, watching birds, or having a picnic at the trailside tables.

  1. Andreas Canyon Trail:
    • Distance: Approximately 1 mile loop.
    • Difficulty: Easy.
    • Highlights: The main loop trail in Andreas Canyon takes you through a scenic route featuring vibrant wildflowers, diverse plant life, and the iconic California Fan Palms. It’s an easy stroll suitable for all ages.
  2. Palm Canyon Trail Extension:
    • Distance: Approximately 2 miles round trip (including the extension).
    • Difficulty: Moderate.
    • Highlights: Extend your journey by connecting to the Palm Canyon Trail. This extension adds more distance and a slightly higher difficulty level, providing a deeper exploration of the canyon’s beauty.
  3. Andreas Creek Bed Trail:
    • Distance: Varies (depending on exploration).
    • Difficulty: Easy to moderate.
    • Highlights: Follow the creek bed for a unique perspective of Andreas Canyon. This trail allows for a more immersive experience as you navigate through the canyon’s geological features and lush vegetation.
  4. Maynard Mine Trail:
    • Distance: 6 miles roundtrip
    • Difficulty: Moderate.
    • Highlights: The Maynard Mine Trail offers a unique perspective, guiding you through the historic remnants of the Maynard Mine. Explore the geological features and learn about the area’s mining history on this moderately challenging trail.
Murray Canyon

Murray Canyon, just a bit south of Andreas Canyon, offers an easy to moderately challenging hikes. The trails, designed for both hikers and horseback riders, lead to picturesque recreation spots adorned with numerous palm trees. If you’re lucky, you might spot a Big Horn Sheep! It’s less visited than Palm Canyon or Andreas Canyon but offers its own secluded beauty.

  1. Murray Canyon Loop Trail:
    • Distance: 5 mile loop.
    • Difficulty: Moderate.
    • Highlights: The Murray Canyon Loop Trail weaves through the diverse landscapes of Murray Canyon, combining various trails to offer a comprehensive and rewarding hiking experience.
  2. Murray Canyon to Seven Sisters Trail:
    • Distance: approximately 4 miles, out & back
    • Difficulty: Moderate.
    • Highlights: The Seven Sisters Trail, with its interconnected pathways, takes you through captivating landscapes and offers opportunities to appreciate the beauty of nature within Murray Canyon.
  3. Coffman Trail:
    • Distance: 1 ¼ miles
    • Difficulty: Moderate.
    • Highlights: Coffman Trail adds diversity to your hike, leading you through varied terrains and allowing you to explore the scenic wonders of Murray Canyon.
  4. Alexander Trail:
    • Distance: 1¼ mile
    • Difficulty: Moderate.
    • Highlights: The Alexander Trail provides a pleasant trek through the canyon, offering a mix of natural beauty and a moderately challenging terrain.
  5. Alexander East Trail:
    • Distance: 1½ mile
    • Difficulty: Moderate.
    • Highlights: Alexander East Trail adds an eastern perspective to your exploration, guiding you through unique features and enhancing your overall Murray Canyon experience.

Different Ways to Experience the Canyons

Red Jeep Tours

Embark on a captivating adventure through the Indian Canyons with Red Jeep Tours. Traverse the rugged terrain of Palm Springs in a vibrant red Jeep, expertly guided by knowledgeable tour operators. From Andreas to Murray Canyon, let the vibrant red Jeep be your gateway to the wonders of this desert oasis, ensuring a memorable journey filled with awe-inspiring vistas and fascinating tales.

Biking & Hiking Tour

Discover the beauty of Palm Springs and Indian Canyons on a half-day tour from downtown Palm Springs, combining biking and hiking. This comprehensive experience includes a knowledgeable guide, bike rental, and snacks, making it effortlessly accessible to explore the stunning city and desert surroundings of southern California. Embark on a 10-mile (17-km) loop through Palm Springs to Indian Canyons, where you’ll then engage in a leisurely-paced hike within the canyon. Tailored for reasonably active individuals, this tour promises an immersive adventure through the captivating landscapes of Palm Springs and the Indian Canyons.

Smoke Tree Stables

Embark on a unique equestrian adventure with Smoke Tree Stables! This horseback exploration invites you to connect with the desert landscape in a way that only a guided ride through the Indian Canyons can offer. With experienced guides leading the way, riders can immerse themselves in the natural wonders and cultural significance of this sacred land. Smoke Tree Stables not only provides a memorable journey through the canyons but also an opportunity to experience the rich heritage and diverse ecosystems of the Indian Canyons in a manner that resonates with the spirit of the Old West.

Know Before You Go

  1. Entry Fee: Be aware of any entry fees associated with your visit. Ensure you have the necessary funds for admission, and check if there are any discounts available. Admission fees are as follows: Adults $12, Seniors 62+ $7, Students (with student ID) $7, Children (6-12) $6, Military (with U.S. military ID) Free, and Equestrian $11.
  2. Plan Ahead: Plan your visit in advance, considering the time of year, weather, and the specific trails you want to explore. This ensures a more enjoyable and prepared adventure.
  3. Respect Cultural Sites: The Indian Canyons hold cultural significance for the Cahuilla people. Respect the sacred sites, artifacts, and any cultural markers you encounter. Avoid touching or disturbing these elements.
  4. Respect Wildlife: Indian Canyons is home to diverse wildlife. Observe animals from a distance, avoid feeding them, and respect their natural habitats. Binoculars can enhance your wildlife-watching experience.
  5. Hydration is Key: Southern California’s desert climate can be deceptively dry. Bring an ample supply of water to stay hydrated, especially if you’re planning an extended hike. It’s crucial to combat the arid conditions.
  6. Wear Appropriate Clothing: Dress in layers and wear comfortable, breathable clothing suitable for the desert environment. Sturdy hiking shoes are recommended for trails with varying terrains.
  7. Sun Protection: Shield yourself from the sun’s intensity by wearing a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Protecting your skin and eyes is crucial in the desert sun.
  8. Pack Snacks: Bring light snacks to keep your energy levels up during your exploration. Portable, non-perishable snacks are convenient for a quick refuel.
  9. Stay on Designated Trails: Stick to designated trails to protect the delicate desert ecosystem. Straying off the path can disturb plant life and contribute to erosion.
  10. Check Trail Conditions: Before your visit, check the current trail conditions, as they can vary based on weather and maintenance. Stay informed about any closures or restrictions to ensure a smooth and safe experience.

As you embark on your journey through the Indian Canyons, you’ll discover not only the breathtaking natural beauty of the desert landscape but also the rich cultural tapestry woven by the indigenous people who have called this region home for centuries. Immerse yourself in the stories of Andreas Canyon, marvel at the palm oases, and find tranquility in the heart of nature. The Indian Canyons offer a unique and enriching experience that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime. Happy exploring!

Blogs California Joshua Tree National Park

52 Things to Do in the Hi-Desert

I was raised in La Quinta, California and didn’t even know where the little town of Morongo Valley was. Now, 3 years in, I’m officially a “Morogan” and have actually loved calling the swanky Hi-Desert home. The Hi-Desert is an informal designation applied to areas of the Mojave Desert in Southern California, which includes cities like Morongo Valley, Yucca Valley, Joshua Tree and Twentynine Palms found along Highway 62.  Besides hiking, camping and off-roading, there isn’t a whole lot to do, which is a big part of why I love it out here. It’s open air, beautiful desert landscapes and a place where you can actually see the stars at night. Since moving here 3 years ago I have found a few fun hidden gems and we now have a few regular spots we frequent so I’ve decided to compile a list of all there is to see and do in the Hi-Desert region. Happy reading!

  1. Big Morongo Valley Preserve – Located in Morongo Valley, the preserve is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and serves as an essential habitat for both resident and migrating bird species, making it a popular destination for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts.
  2. Coyote Cone – This is a fairly new ice cream and coffee shop in Morongo Valley. They serve rite-aid ice cream and make date shakes as well as serve coffee they brew themselves called, Desert Dog.
  3. Cactus Mart – A well-known nursery and garden center located in Morongo Valley.
  4. Dillion’s Burgers & Beer – Dillion’s is a local restaurant and bar in the desert with two locations, one in Desert Hot Springs and one in Morongo Valley. It’s definitely a dive bar with an interesting atmosphere but I actually really like their food and recommend trying their jalapeño poppers.
  5. Coyote Ride Stable – Located in Morongo Valley, this ranch offers guided horseback riding tours.
  6. Crazy Horse Ranch – This is another location in Morongo Valley that offers horseback riding tours.
  7. Cottonwood Canyon Ranch – This is yet another ranch in Morongo Valley offering horseback riding tours and lessons. Seeing a theme here?
  8. Sand to Snow Monument Bar & Grill – Another dive bar in Morongo Valley with a pool table and cheap drinks. I don’t care for their food all that much but it’s the only place offering any sort of nightlife if you’re looking to go out for a couple of drinks and a round or two of pool.
  9. Morongo Valley Cafe – A little diner offering breakfast and lunch in Morongo Valley. I actually really like the food here as well.
  10. Spaghetti Western – A new restaurant serving dinner in Morongo Valley with open mic night every Sunday. It’s a bit pricy for what they offer in my opinion but hey, it’s nice to actually have one restaurant in town that serves steak and potatoes.
  11. Yucca Bowl – This is the local bowling alley in Yucca Valley that we’ve been to far too many times for my liking.
  12. Frontier Café – A cozy cafe known for its breakfast items, sandwiches, and coffee drinks in Yucca Valley.
  13. Mojave Flea Trading Post – Explore an assortment of antiques, collectibles, and unique treasures from various eras at this flea market in Yucca Valley.
  14. Pappy + Harriets – A legendary desert roadhouse with live music, delicious barbecue, and a rustic, outdoor concert venue.
  15. Pioneertown – A western-style movie set turned tourist attraction. You can enjoy mock gunfights, explore the shops, and even catch a meal at the famous Pappy & Harriet’s.
  16. Pioneertown Motel – This iconic motel captures the essence of the Old West while providing modern amenities. It’s located in Pioneertown and offers comfortable rooms with a vintage vibe.
  17. Warren Peak Trail – Hike to the top of Warren Peak for panoramic views of the Hi-Desert region. This is an out & back hike in Yucca Valley that is 5.6 miles total with 1,105 feet elevation gain.
  18. Pie for the People – Enjoy a variety of creative and classic pizzas with fresh ingredients in a relaxed atmosphere.
  19. Cactus Wren Book Exchange – For bookworms and literary explorers, the Cactus Wren Book Exchange is a little used bookstore in Yucca Valley! Browse through shelves filled with carefully curated titles spanning various genres.
  20. Hoof & The Horn – A boutique shop offering a curated selection of clothing, accessories, home goods, and gifts with a bohemian and desert-inspired vibe.
  21. BKB Ceramics – This studio and gallery features handcrafted ceramics by local artist Brianna Berbenuik. Explore beautifully crafted pottery pieces that reflect the spirit of the desert.
  22. La Palapa Mexican Cuisine – This family-owned Mexican restaurant serves authentic dishes and great drinks. This is always our go to spot. Enjoy a warm and welcoming atmosphere while indulging in traditional flavors.
  23. Hi-Desert Nature Museum – Learn about the unique natural and cultural history of the Hi-Desert region at the Hi-Desert Nature Museum. The museum offers exhibits, workshops, and educational programs for all ages.
  24. Hi-View Nature Trail -This is a 1 & 1/2 mile loop trail in Yucca Valley. It is rated moderate and has a 325 elevation gain.
  25. Crossroads Café – A local favorite in Joshua Tree, Crossroads Café offers a diverse menu featuring breakfast, lunch, and dinner options made with locally sourced ingredients. The menu includes comfort foods, sandwiches, salads, and vegetarian choices.
  26. Natural Sisters Café – Known for its healthy and vegetarian-friendly menu, offering salads, wraps, and smoothies. I love this place personally!
  27. Joshua Tree Farmers Market – If you’re visiting on a Saturday, check out the farmers market for fresh produce, artisanal goods, and a taste of the local community.
  28. Joshua Tree Coffee Company – If you’re looking for a cozy spot to enjoy a cup of coffee, this café is the place to be. They roast their own beans and make great, traditional coffee drinks and a very strong cold brew. This place is another one of my favorites…obviously.
  29. Joshua Tree Saloon – A classic desert watering hole serving pub-style food, burgers, and hosting live music events.
  30. Coyote Corner – A gift shop that captures the essence of the desert with a range of southwestern-inspired goods, including jewelry, clothing, home decor, and more.
  31. Joshua Tree Dry Lake Bed – The Joshua Tree Dry Lake Bed is a large, flat expanse of dry lake bed located in the Mojave Desert near Joshua Tree National Park. It’s free dispersed camping where many venture out to go off-roading.
  32. Joshua Tree National Park – This is the main attraction. Hike among the iconic Joshua trees, marvel at stunning rock formations, and take in breathtaking desert vistas.
  33. Joshua Tree Music Festival – If your visit coincides with this annual event, immerse yourself in the sounds of diverse musicians, from indie to world music. Enjoy live performances against the backdrop of the desert landscape.
  34. Noah Purifoy Outdoor Desert Art Museum – Wander through a unique sculpture garden featuring art installations made from recycled materials.
  35. World Famous Crochet Museum – Discover the quirky Crochet Museum in Joshua Tree, featuring crochet art installations. You’ve probably seen pictures of the little green shop in Instagram photos.
  36. Giant Rock – This is the largest freestanding boulder in North America. It’s located in Joshua Tree and many locals consider the area to be sacred. Today, people like to go here for off-roading, bon fires and camping.
  37. Sky’s The Limit Observatory and Nature Center – Explore the night sky at this observatory in Twentynine Palms that offers stargazing events, educational programs, and telescope viewing.
  38. Twentynine Palms Historical Society – Discover the town’s history through exhibits, artifacts, and memorabilia. Learn about the Native American heritage, early settlers, and the marine base’s impact on the community.
  39. City of 29 Palms Visitor Center – Get information about the area’s attractions, trails, and activities at the Twentynine Palms Visitor Center. It’s a great starting point for your desert adventure.
  40. 29 Palms Creative Center and Gallery – Immerse yourself in the local art scene at this creative hub. Participate in workshops, view exhibitions, and engage with artists from the community.
  41. Smith’s Ranch Drive-In Theater – Experience a slice of nostalgia by catching a movie at this classic drive-in theater. Enjoy a film under the stars from the comfort of your car.
  42. 29 Palms Inn – This historic inn provides a charming atmosphere and is a great spot for dining. Enjoy a meal with a view of the oasis, or explore the property’s gardens and art installations.
  43. Rock Climbing – Joshua Tree is a world-renowned rock climbing destination, offering challenges for climbers of all skill levels.
  44. Stargazing: The clear desert skies make Joshua Tree an excellent spot for stargazing. Consider bringing a telescope or joining a local astronomy event.
  45. Off-roading – Off-roading is also a huge activity for locals in the hi-desert and even those visiting. There’s miles and miles off trails to explore with stunning views.
  46. Camping – Camping is another huge activity to enjoy. Aside from Joshua Tree National Park, there’s also a handful of other dispersed camping areas people enjoy.
  47. Vacation Rentals – The VRBO’s and AirBNB’s available to rent are a huge reason why people flock to the Hi-Desert. These placess to stay offer a unique, quiet and remote desert retreat.
  48. Photography – Film fanatics also tend to flock to the Hi-Desert to capture the breathtaking scenery and snag incredible shots of the stars and the infamous Joshua Trees scattered about.
  49. Scenic Drives – Take a scenic drive through the surrounding desert landscapes to experience the vastness and beauty of the Mojave Desert.
  50. Biking – Enjoy mountain biking on designated trails that offer a mix of challenges and stunning desert views.
  51. Horseback Riding – Experience the desert from a different perspective by going horseback riding on guided trail rides.
  52. Sunrise and Sunset Viewing – Wake up early to witness the stunning sunrise over the desert horizon, or capture the vibrant colors of the sunset in the evening. Hi-Desert sunrises and sunsets are some of the best I’ve seen.

So, how many things on this list can you successfully cross off? As always, travel on my friends.


Hiking Cactus-to-Clouds

Hiking Cactus-to-Clouds has always been a bucket-list goal of mine and this past November, I accomplished it. I am by no means in the best shape of my life, but hey, I freaking did it! If this trek is a goal of yours too, below is a few training and packing tips to help prepare! Happy hiking!

What is Cactus-to-Clouds

Cactus-to-Clouds is a 21 mile assent from the Palm Springs valley floor, at about 400 feet, up to the San Jacinto Peak at 10,834 feet. It is rated one of the hardest day hikes in the United States and the trail actually has the largest elevation gain out of any hike in the United States. Skyline trail takes you up about 9.4 miles, starting behind the Palm Springs Art Museum ascending up all the way to the top of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. Then, to do the full Cactus-to-Clouds hike you must continue on for another 11 miles to the peak and back down to the tramway station to ride the tramcar back down to the valley floor.

I wrote a separate blog called Training for Cactus-to-Clouds, where I mostly talked about hiking different trails throughout the Coachella Valley each week with my mom to train for this hike. The blog was more centered around our journey together and not so much about what you realistically need to be able to do in order to be as prepared as possible for a hike like this. So, in this blog, I’ll list out a few tips and information for more practical advice!

How to Train for Cactus-To-Clouds

Tip #1: Cross-Training. As mentioned in my last blog, we did one hike each weekend at the start of our training and then increased to twice a week, taking on more strenuous trails as the date got closer. Aside from hiking though, we also added in other workouts on our own during the week. I was actually working with a personal trainer at the time who created a lifting program for me that I followed. Each workout program was four workouts each week for four weeks and then I’d get a new plan for the next four weeks and so on and so forth. Lifting weights allowed me to really strengthen my legs and increase my stamina. I would highly recommend cross-training in the gym or just with weights at home as a means for preparing yourself for a full day of hiking on an incline.

Tip #2: Mindful Eating. I am still very far from where I want to be with my daily eating habits, but, I did fairly well leading up to this hike. I didn’t drink any alcohol for about 2 weeks prior to the hike and my trainer was working with me on learning to track macros. Again, this is still a work in progress for me and I’m definitely not the person to give out advice in this area, but, I felt that I was at least being mindful of what I was fueling myself with which really helped me feel more prepared. I focused on drinking a gallon of water every day, and tried to preplan my meals to hit a specific number of calories and grams of proteins, fats and carbohydrates. I also stopped drinking coffee as breakfast and began focusing on having a good nutrient dense meal before any caffeine intake. Lastly, I discovered these magical magnesium tablets from a brand called Voost that seemed to really help aid in muscle and bone recovery! They also have electrolyte tablets that I’d highly recommend as well!

Tip #3: Write Out a Plan

This tip was already completely done for me by my wonderful master planning mother. BUT, for those of you that don’t have a mom with a mapped out notebook filled with hikes by week to follow, I’d recommend making your own! We started planning about three months ahead of our hike date and my mom wrote out which trails we’d be doing each week in order to feel ready. For reference in creating your own plan, avid hikers who know this trail like the back of their hand have said you should be able to do the Bump n’ Grind trail in Palm Desert (up the hard side) four times in a row to be able to take on a trail like Skyline (let alone Cactus-to-Clouds).

What to Pack

Here is a list of everything I packed, with links to a few recommended essential items.

  • Layers, Layers, Layers. – I wore biker shorts and a long sleeve dri-fit with a hat, which was perfect for the heat during the first half of the trek, and then I packed, sweatpants, a hoodie, a light wind breaker, and a larger warm jacket, a beanie and mittens. By the time I reached the peak I had every layer on and was so glad I packed it all.
  • 1 Galloon of water (and some extra) – I brought four, one liter smartwaters. Not the most environmentally friendly I know, but, it was the most comfortable and cheap way I could think to pack them all on my back. I also packed four additional 16.9 ounce plastic water bottles that I preprepared with the Voost magnesium and electrolyte tablets ahead of time (linked below).
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • First-Aid Kit with some sort of compression wrap in case of a sprained ankle or other form of injury.
  • Ibuprofen
  • Headlamp (I started and ended the hike in complete darkness)
  • Walking sticks (these were life savers for my legs)
  • Runner’s Goo (linking my favorite below)
  • Snacks! I cut up two protein bars into small bite size pieces and put them in a baggie to snack on throughout the day. I’d also recommend some sort of salty snack like trail mix, crackers, etc. I also packed a peanut butter and honey sandwich which is alway my go-to trail food.
  • Hiking Backpack large enough to fit everything mentioned above (linking the pack I used below!)
Know Before You Go

Aside from what to pack, here’s a few other useful tips/information to consider.

  • Start at the Right Time – It is recommended you start this hike between 12 a.m. and 4 a.m. to allow yourself enough time to finish before the last tram car down at 9:30 p.m.
  • Hike During the Right Time of the Year – Fall and spring are the best seasons to do this hike so that the temperature isn’t too hot at the beginning and isn’t too cold as you reach the top. Temperatures in Palm Springs are in the triple digits during summer and temperates at the top of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway are typically around 30 degrees in the winter with plenty of snow.
  • Pack AT LEAST 1 Gallon of Water – There are two rescue boxes along the trail that sometimes contain extra water left behind by other hikers and you can also fill up at the ranger station at the top of the tramway, but, I would highly, highly recommend not relying on these sources. You will be hiking for many hours and need to be properly hydrated the day before the hike AND during the hike.
  • You Will Need a Permit – You must obtain a permit before continuing on once you reach the top of the tram. The permits are free and located at the ranger station. This not only allows rangers to protect the wilderness but is also meant to keep you safe. With limited cell service in the San Jacinto mountains, permits allow the rangers to know if you’ve safely returned from your hike.
  • Know Where to Park at the Trailhead101 N Museum Dr, Palm Springs, CA, 92262, USA. Do not park in the museum parking lot or the parking garage across the street or you will be ticketed (or worse, towed). There is however, free street parking around the museum with plenty of spots if you start early morning. Also keep in mind, you will be finishing the hike at the parking lot at the bottom of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, which is actually around 20 minutes from where you began your journey behind the Palm Springs Art Museum. Be sure to have a plan for how you will get back to your car.
The Route

Lastly, here are some trail markers that are helpful to know so you can see how far you’ve traveled and how many miles you still have left to go!

(Chart credit: HikingGuy)

I hope this blog helps anyone out there looking to cross this beast of a hike off their bucket list! As always, travel on my friends.