Art Smith Trail is a 12.2 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Palm Desert, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from March until October.
From the Hike Palm Desert map obtained from the Palm Desert Visitor Center: Turn south from Hwy. 111 onto Hwy. 74. After approximately 4 miles turn right and park at the trail head across from the Santa Rosa San Jacinto National Monument Visitor Center on the left of the highway.
Awesome hike. But yes it was a little rough for being my first time hiking this trail. We will definitely do it again. ❤
Trail head is located on the righthand side of Highway 74 assuming you made a right hand turn off California State Route 111. You will see many cars parked along the the shoulder of the road. There is a large stone monument stating "Art Smith Trailhead". Across the highway is the well maintained, informative, and interesting Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor Center. Note the "Whose Scat Is That?" chart in the men's room. You may want to take a picture of it to have as a reference to refer to on the trail. The beginning of the trail is the steepest portion as you work your way up. There are many lucky locals on this portion of the trail who use it for a good workout. You will soon view below the Big Horn housing and golf development. It is fun to imagine what this area looked like in it's natural state a hundred years ago. The trail is well marked with excellent signage. Obviously, at the trail sign "Art Smith" "Hoppy", bear to the right. We were here back on March 15, 2016 and viewed many wild flowers. This time, in the middle of December there were no wildflowers but many interesting barrel cactus to view. Locals on the trail informed us that due to illegal camping at the first oasis a fire occurred. The effects can still be viewed. Fortunately, over time oases have a way of making comebacks from fires whether natural or man made. The first oasis is small. Note if one looks closely one can spot an old Indian grinding stone hole. It is always a spiritual thought to stop and think about the people who made this place home for hundreds of years. The second oasis, about 3/4 of a mile further up the trail, is larger and move impressive. Due to the steep rocky canyon you cannot go explore the bottom of the oasis, but instead you view the palms midway up their trunks from a rocky cliff. This is the place to stop, relax, and enjoy the sounds of the wind blowing through the fronds. Off in the distance to your right hand side if you are facing the oasis you see more Washington Palms about 100 yards away and at a higher elevation. Are they the third oasis or a continuation of the second oasis? We decided not to explore any further and slowly made our way back to the trailhead.
Awesome, beautiful trail!!
I wish I had more time to explore. I went for 1/3 of the whole route. But still was a great work workout and amazing view. It was totally worth of every step!
I only did about 2 miles of this 12 mile trail on my first outing but I really enjoyed it. It is well marked and a good workout. The initial start is uphill for maybe 5+ minutes but then it levels out with intermittent small hills.
Great lovely views. Went 3 miles in saw 3 oasis
Great views of the valley with decent climbs and vistas.
Awesome!! Hiked 6K out and jogged 6K back early Saturday a.m. Sunrise and great time with my son Max (11). On Monday did 5 and 5 with my wife Lori. My running partner, and then life partner!!! Loved both.
Beautiful views and vegetation, relatively challenging incline at the start but much easier as it progresses.
Love this trail but want others to know it is clearly posted: dogs are NOT allowed. Bringing a dog on a "no dog" trail can result in a ticket with fines up to $300. Apparently this rule is in place to help protect the bighorn sheep in the area. They don't want them to get used to the smell of canines/coyotes, which would be especially hazardous to baby sheep.
This Hike continues onto Dunn Road and ends up in Cathedral City for a Uber ride back to the trail head off of Hwy 74. It is about 14 miles all together.
Good workout! Awesome views did 6 miles out and turned back. By next time I'll probably try to continue to Murray canyon. Over all my favorite hike so far.
Solid dawn hike. Get there early for sunrise. Super accessible, well marked and well maintained.