Tahquitz Canyon

#9 in Best Things To Do in Palm Springs
Tahquitz Canyon picture
Cobber99/Flickr

Key Info

500 W. Mesquite Ave.

Details

Hiking, Natural Wonders, Recreation Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
3.7

scorecard

  • 3.5Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

For stunning scenery and a look at Native American history and culture, check out the Agua Caliente tribe's Tahquitz Canyon. Situated less than 2 miles southwest of downtown Palm Springs, this area of the tribe's reservation boasts a 60-foot waterfall (accessible via the Tahquitz Canyon Trail), rock art and a variety of flora and fauna. You'll also find the Tahquitz Canyon Visitor Center, where you can watch a movie about the canyon, peruse various artifacts, buy souvenirs and take in your surroundings from an observation deck. Additional facilities, including three resorts, the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum and the Indian Canyons, can be found on or near the reservation as well.

Outdoor enthusiasts will love hiking the Tahquitz Canyon Trail, which past visitors said was relatively easy to traverse, despite its lack of shade and occasional changes in elevation. What's more, temps can climb into the 100s at times, so pack plenty of water. One previous traveler recommended carrying at least one liter of water per person.

You will need a car to get to Tahquitz Canyon. The canyon is only open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays between July 5 and September 30, but visitors are permitted every day from October 1 to July 4. When the canyon is open, operating hours are from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Keep in mind that travelers are not admitted after 3:30 p.m. Adult admission cost $12.50 per person, while an entrance fee of $6 applies for each child. Kids 5 and younger and active military members can visit for free. Tickets include access to the property's trail and visitor center, plus on-site parking and a two-and-a-half-hour hike led by one of the canyon's rangers. Guided hikes depart from the visitor center at 8 a.m., 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. daily. Visit the Tahquitz Canyon website for more information.

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The Coachella Valley Preserve may seem like a barren desert, but keep your eyes peeled and you'll see that its 20,000-plus acres are more than just sand and brush. The preserve encompasses the smaller Thousand Palms Oasis preserve, which boasts more than 25 miles of hiking paths. Along the trails you'll spot rare wildlife, lush palm woodland oases and desert wetlands, which at different times of the year blossom with wildflowers.

Before heading out, past visitors recommend stopping by the visitor center – located in a log cabin at the entrance of the park – to pick up a map of the trails. You can also download it here. Additionally, some suggested arriving early before temperatures become unbearable and the small parking lot fills up. And if you visit between October and March, consider joining one of the preserve's free guided hikes.

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