Searching for Coachella Valley hiking and cycling trails? Mountain views, fan palms, vast desert skies – what is not to love about traversing one of America’s most diverse landscapes?
Make sure to bring plenty of water, sunscreen and protective layers of clothing. Consider adventuring early in the day or around sunset after things have cooled down for a comfortable journey, always practice “Leave No Trace” principles, and, most importantly, have fun!
Indian Palms Trail
Coachella Valley Preserve | Thousand Palms, CA | Distance: 0.5-1.75 miles | Elevation Gain: 120 feet | Difficulty: Easy
Unique species of birds, lizards and desert pupfish call this wildlife reserve home. The water that flows underground along the nearby San Andreas Fault has brought life to this part of the desert for thousands of years. The Coachella Valley Preserve is jointly managed by federal, state and private conservationists dedicated to protecting this endangered environment. From the parking lot, follow the signs for Indian, Horseshoe, Pushawalla and Hidden Palm Oasis. Then, when the trail forks, follow the sign for Indian Palms to the left to start heading north. The trail is lined with stones, and the terrain is flat enough to see the oasis if for any reason you lose your bearings. Seasonal hours may vary and donations are accepted. Pets are not permitted on the Preserve, although some trails allow horses.
Andreas Canyon Trail
Palm Springs, CA | Distance: 1.2 miles | Elevation Gain: 200 feet | Difficulty: Easy
Operated by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, the Indian Canyons have more than 50 miles of trails that wind through canyons and cholla gardens, passing waterfalls and towering stone formations along the way. Hikers on the easy Andreas Canyon Trail will enjoy the contrast between the harsh desert and the lush California Fan Palm oasis. The trail begins north of the bridge at the Information Board, before leading west along the North bank of the Andreas Creek. After 0.5 miles, cross the creek at the fence and loop back to the parking area. Be advised that hours and admission may vary seasonally, and animals are not allowed.
Bump and Grind Loop
Palm Desert/Rancho Mirage | Distance: 3.9 miles | Elevation Gain: 1,000 feet | Difficulty: Moderate
Bump and Grind is one of the most popular Coachella Valley hiking trails. This well-marked loop offers minimal shade and vegetation as you ascend, but the panoramic view of Palm Springs and Coachella Valley beneath snow-capped mountains is worth the climb. On a clear day, you can see all the way to the Salton Sea. Locals recommend making the loop in a clockwise direction to tackle the steep and narrow section of the trail on the ascent and enjoy a more leisurely descent on the northeast side via the Mike Schuler Trail. Whichever way you go, you are bound to make some friends as this is one of the most heavily trafficked trails in the Valley. Per the City of Palm Desert, pets are not allowed on this loop.
Mid-Century Modern Homes Bike Tour, Palm Springs
Palm Springs | Distance: 7.39 miles | Elevation Gain: 337 feet | Difficulty: Moderate
Another desert route that we think is worth your while is the self-guided Mid-Century Modern Homes Bike Tour. This 7.39-mile route rides along mostly low-traffic streets in biker-friendly Palm Springs and is a “must-do.” The 337-foot climb is spread out, except for a challenging portion on W. Panorama Road; however, the rider gets rewarded not only in great Mid-Century Modern architecture, but also gorgeous mountain and valley views. This bike route picks up at the Palm Springs Architecture and Design Center (1957) meandering west and north, before heading back south to end at the Oasis Office Building (1952). Take in architectural gems, including The Burgess House (1957), Kaufmann House (1946), and The House of Tomorrow, better known as Elvis’ Honeymoon Hideaway (1960).