Desert Adventures – Palm Springs, CA

A hundred miles east of Los Angeles lies a desert oasis, a summer sanctuary, or as early Spanish explorers called it “La Palma de la Mano des Dios” The Palm of God’s hand. And while Palm Springs may be known for trendy film and music festivals, or boast of its lavish resorts, golf courses, spas, and restaurants – its more than 350 days of sunshine and beautiful desert and mountain surroundings make for an incredible getaway for adventure lovers of all ages.

Here are some ideas to help you plan your next outdoor adventure in Palm Springs!

tramSoar Above the Mountains Aboard the World’s Largest Rotating Tramcar
Climb up the sheer cliffs of Chino canyon on this 10-minute, 2.5 mile journey from Valley Station – elevation 2,643 ft. – to Mountain Station – elevation 8,516 ft. Once at the top, you can dine “above the clouds,” go on a guided nature tour, visit the Winter Adventure Center for cross-country ski and snowshoe equipment rentals (seasonal), share a family picnic, or hike to the San Jacinto Peak! The summit of Mount San Jacinto stands 10,834 feet above sea level, with spectacular views extending to the Salton Sea and into the Imperial Valley. And depending on the season, you could be hiking the over 500 miles of mountain trails in the snow. From desert heat to snowy peaks in the same day, an adventure-lovers dream!
Purchase Tickets here:

canyon“Big Split Rock” Slot Canyon Hike
A hike for the ages and a hike for all ages, The Big Split Rock slot canyon hike is part of the longest slot canyon in the desert, accented at the end by a huge split mountain only several feet wide and giving hikers a chance to see a San Andreas fault fracture up close. There are so many slot canyons to explore.

Length: 6 miles (in and out hike)
Hiking Time: 3 hours
Difficulty: Easy (only 100 feet Elevation Gain).
Season: October to April.

From Palm Springs, follow Highway 11 east to Mecca. Turn left at 66th Ave and follow as it curves through Mecca. After driving about 4 ½ miles, you’ll cross the Coachella Canal and after another ¼ of a mile you’ll see a sign for Painted Canyon Road. Make a left, follow the dirt road for 4 miles until it dead ends at the parking area.

 desertzooLearn How Desert Animals Beat the Heat at The Living Desert Zoo
With over 450 wild animals, a kids’ play park, hiking trails, a new giraffe feeding experience, and over 1,400 different species of plants, The Living Desert is 1,200 acres of desert retreat. New in 2015, visitors can now experience Zoorassic Park, a combination of dinosaur related activities, including a thrilling live stage show, scavenger hunt, and Dinosaur digs!

cabotCabot’s Old Indian Pueblo Museum
Cabot Abram Yerxa discovered the hot springs that gave Desert Hot Springs its name in 1914 and settled there. Over the next thirty years, Yerxa constructed a Hopi Indian pueblo using hand-made bricks and re-purposed “junk” he collected throughout the desert. The pueblo is divided into 35 rooms, with 150 windows, 65 doors, and 30 different roof levels. Guided tours of the 5,000 sq. foot structure are given daily.

pioneerVisit the Wild Wild West – Pioneertown, CA
Pioneertown was founded in 1946 as an Old Western Town for filming movies and TV Westerns, including The Gene Autry Show, Cisco Kid, and Annie Oakley – but it’s more than that. Take a stroll down “Mane Street” and you’ll see the old sets were turned into a small town featuring a motel, restaurant & saloon, post office and local shops. Come and Dine at the famous “Pappy & Harriet’s” Saloon. And, if you’re lucky enough to visit on Saturdays between April and October, you’ll get to relive a bit of the west with the “Mane Street Stampede” Wild West show.

hadleyThe Date Capital of the United States
Date gardens in Greater Palm Springs producer more than 80% of dates in the United States, quite possibly making it the USA’s “date” capital. I sure do love this desert dessert. Stop by Hadley’s Fruit Orchards on your way into town and order their famous date shake. It’s desert refreshment perfection. I like mine with bananas!

airmuseumFly into a Piece of History at the Palm Springs Air Museum
Home to one of the world’s largest collections of flyable WWII airplanes, and voted one of the world’s best aviation museums, the Palm Springs Air Museum gives visitors the opportunity to see America’s legendary fighters, bombers, and trainers up close and personal. Walk through a flyable B-17 bomber, test your skills on flight simulators, and experience the distinctive sights and sounds that made world history. Aviation enthusiasts can even soar through the air in a 15-minute Biplane ride offered on Saturdays at an extra cost.

jeepUltimate Adventure! – The San Andreas Fault by Jeep
Take a rugged backcountry tour and experience the twisted landscape of an active earthquake fault system in a Jeep! You had me at Jeep. This adrenaline pumping, action packed adventure loving tour gives visitors a chance to go to some of the area’s most remote and most scenic canyons where you’ll explore slot canyons, view an ancient fossil bed, and walk through a natural palm oasis. Desert Adventures Eco-Tours also offers a stargazing addition to their popular Jeep tour, where you’ll get to witness the desert sky transform its magnificent blue hues to beautiful sunset colors with a finale of a sky full of stars.

horse#1 Pick for Palm Springs- Andreas Canyon Trail on horseback
With its more than 150 miles of riding trails, picturesque desert landscapes, beautiful streams and surrounding mountains, I think horseback riding along the Andreas Canyon Trail as the PERFECT desert adventure. Smoke Tree Stables offers guided rides by the hour or private guided rides for the entire day, giving visitors a unique adventure into the fan palm oasis and deep desert canyons. Try the 3-hour tour to experience the desert floor and high viewpoints that overlook the valley! Grab your cowboy boots and hat, head on over to the stables and truly experience all that the Palm Springs desert sanctuary has to offer.

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