Adventure awaits here in La Quinta and throughout Greater Palm Springs where a stunning landscape of mountains, desert, and canyons, coupled with a sunny mild climate most of the year make this region a playground for outdoor enthusiasts. The best part is that recreational areas at various elevations ensure you have somewhere to explore in all four seasons (Hint: consider a Palm Springs Aerial Tramway summer pass to access cooler temperatures during the summer season.) Go self-guided or hook up with local tour companies who offer a myriad of itineraries. Below are some of our favorite destinations.
Hike the Famed Indian Canyons
Walk in the footsteps of the early Native American who built thriving communities in the ancient Indian Canyons. Begin your adventure at the Trading Post in Palm Canyon then wander down the paved footpath where giant California Fan Palms shade an idyllic picnic area.
From there, you can go on a ranger-led excursion, hike on your own, or ride horseback through 15 miles of some of the most scenic canyon and mountain trails in the West. Nearby Murray and Andreas Canyons also offer ample opportunities to traverse trails and picnic in lush oases.
Be sure to visit Tahquitz Canyon, site of a spectacular 60-foot cascading waterfall. Stop by the Tahquitz Canyon Visitor Center to learn more about the ancient Indian art, artifacts and lore associated with this sacred canyon.
30 miles from PGA WEST
Embark on an Adventure to the Mount San Jacinto State Park and Wilderness
Board one of the world’s largest rotating tramcars at the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway for a breathtaking 10-minute journey that carries you to the 8,516-foot Mountain Station of Mt. San Jacinto. At the top, you’ll find a cocktail bar, two restaurants, gift shop, natural history museum and 54 miles of trails for hiking and back country camping. In winter, a fresh snowfall transforms the park into an alpine winter wonderland. Bring a sled or stop by the Adventure Center to rent cross-country skis or snowshoes. Much of the state park and wilderness area in part of the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument.
32 miles from PGA WEST
Explore the San Andreas Fault
For earth-shaking excitement, climb aboard a Jeep or Hummer tour for a phenomenal expedition that takes you through one of the Coachella Valley’s most infamous attractions – the San Andreas Fault. This great facture in the earth’s crust is responsible for the twisted, steep-walled canyons and wonderful geologic surprises you’ll encounter along the way. During the journey, expert tour guides will tell you about the forces of nature that formed this amazing landscape. You’ll even get an up close and personal view of the famous fault line.
10 miles from PGA WEST
Discover the Mecca Hills Wilderness
The Mecca Hills Wilderness features more than 26,000 acres of fascinating terrain—labyrinths of colorful steep canyons, sandy washes dotted with palo verde and smoke trees, and geologic formations—some dating back 600 million years!—thanks to the San Andreas Fault. The wilderness is home to many trails, including the Ladder Canyon/Painted Canyon Trail one of the most unique hikes in the region. Here, hikers climb up various ladders placed in the slot canyons with hilltops revealing panoramic views of the Salton Sea. Best months to hike are October to April. Avoid the area when it rains as flash floods can occur quickly in the slot canyons. Fun fact: a chase scene from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) was filmed in the Painted Canyons.
25 miles from PGA WEST off I-10 (Box Canyon Road)
Take a Day Trip to Joshua Tree National Park
A visit to Joshua Tree National Park is a must for nature lovers. This world-renowned 800,000- acre preserve offers one of North America’s most ethereal natural settings with dramatic rock formations and thousands of iconic Joshua trees (which are actually not trees, but rather a yucca species), with some growing 40 feet in height. This recreational paradise features 12 self-guiding nature trails, as well as an extensive network of hiking, biking, and equestrian paths. The park is also a well-known destination for rock climbers.
34 miles from PGA WEST (South entrance at Cottonwood Visitor Center)
58 miles from PGA WEST (West entrance in Joshua Tree)
Click here for important hiking and hot weather safety tips.