The Coachella Valley is home to a wide array of hiking trails that overlook the gaping desert mountains and are adorned with lush palm trees. Strap on your shoes, fill up your hydration pack, and set out on adventure to find some of the best hikes in Coachella Valley. Beginner, intermediate, and extreme – there are trails to satisfy nearly every level hiker. Even if you just want to view the valley from above, there are many moderate trails that hiking newbies can manage. The valley’s position near the Pacific Crest Trail also lends way to extreme hikers making their way across the nearly 3,000-mile-long trail. The desert heat is for no amateur though, so be sure to hydrate and prepare for the extreme conditions before embarking on a hike.
For those ready to take their adventure to new heights, here are the best hikes the Coachella Valley has to offer.
Coachella Valley Preserve
With over 25 miles of hiking trails, the Coachella Valley Preserve is a great place to lace up and put your skills to the test. This natural oasis is highly visitor friendly, with free admission and guided hikes offered. But if you know your stuff already, ditch the tour guide, and set out on your own adventure. Trail lengths range from less than half a mile to over seven miles, so plan out your trip in advance using the trail system maps available and find the right challenge for you. You wouldn’t want to set out on a short trail, and end up finishing hours later!
Bump and Grind Trail
Most California hikers probably know how popular the Bump and Grind Trail is, with hundreds of people on average hiking it daily. The three mile loop is perfect for a moderate to advanced hiker. Starting at the valley floor, the trail leads up to a stunning overlook of the Palm Desert and Coachella Valley. The trail entrance is tucked behind the Target store in Palm Desert, but don’t let that fool you! Bump and Grind Trail is still a great escape into nature for those looking to get active and see more of the Coachella Valley. Be sure to rise early if you want to beat the rush.
This trail is no walk in the park, or should I say museum? Entrance to the Museum Trail is – go figure – tucked behind the Palm Springs Art Museum. The views from the trail are worthy of being in a museum, though, so make sure to add this trail to your list. The uphill hike can be intense, but is well worth the view from the top, which is the perfect spot to rest and enjoy a picnic lunch. Munch on your sandwich while looking out over the San Jacinto and San Gorgonio Mountains. Afterwards, you can follow the same path back down hill, or keep up the pace on the Skyline Ridge Route which intersects the trail. This route will take you up to the top of the San Jacinto Mountains, so be ready to take your hike to new heights!
Water in the desert? Hike the four mile round trip trail, Murray Canyon, which concludes with a waterfall. Make sure to strap on your camera (and some water shoes too) before embarking on your trip. This trail is not just for two-legged folks, as it’s also a popular horse trail throughout the year. Horses and families are both welcome – the more the merrier! Just be sure to watch for gifts left behind by the horses. Murray Canyon is a relatively easy trail, with a few tougher sections woven in. Entrance into the canyon is $9, or you can purchase an annual pass for $99 if you plan to make it your go-to hiking spot.
With a steep elevation reaching nearly 1,400 feet, Araby Trail is best suited for experienced hikers. Although the trail is only four miles out and back, the steep hills will leave you winded if you are not in moderate shape. There is limited shade along the trail, so be sure to stay hydrated and have your sunglasses handy, or aim to hike when the weather is cool. In addition to its views of Palm Springs, Araby Trail is known for its view of Bob Hope’s house!
Now that you have your trails mapped out, make sure to properly prepare for your hiking endeavor. It is important to carry enough water with you – especially as you set out through the hot, dry desert. Even a small hike deserves adequate preparation, so read up on tips from the pros. Whether you live in the valley and want to utilize all the trails that are practically in your backyard, or are specifically embarking on a journey to the west coast, the variety of trails the Coachella Valley has to offer will satisfy your thirst for adventure. If you are just visiting, make sure to set out on a new adventure within the city. Palm Springs is the most common destination within the Coachella Valley as it hosts some of the desert’s top restaurants and attractions.