Dunn Road is a 15.5 mile point-to-point trail located near Palm Springs, CA that features beautiful wild flowers. The trail is rated as moderate and primarily used for hiking, trail running, and mountain biking.
Dunn road trail starts like most trails here in and around Cathedral City, with a mile hike up a 17 percent incline. After your spent from the climb whatever energy you have left is used for the awesome trails in poster card scenery. after the ascent and a quarter mile past that we found (Palm Canyon Trail?) a trail running across Dunn road and decided to ride it towards west, IT WAS FREAKN AWESOME!!! I really hated the climb on foot but totally worth it!
There’s several ways to find this trial; the easiest is to go to Cathedral City. At Hwy 111 and Cathedral Canyon Dr intersection, go south on Cathedral Canyon Dr. Go west on Terrace Rd which transitions to Charlesworth Dr; which dead ends at a “T” intersection to Valley Vista Dr. Then go west on Valley Vista Dr. and south on Elna Way. Finally go west on Carroll Dr, where Carroll Dr dead ends, will be another “T” intersection. Note at the end where the “T” intersection occurs directly ahead is a hiking trail, that trail connects to Dunn Road. So that’s where you’ll want to park somewhere near that “T” intersection. This is where Dunn Road really starts for Cathedral City.
The other side of the Dunn Road starts Pinyon, CA. At the end of Palm Canyon Dr which “T” intersects Hwy 74. There are other routes to enter Dunn Road in Palm Springs, you can acess hiking through the Goat Trails, Araby Trail, Garstin Trail, and Indian Canyons taking Fern Canyon Trail continuing to Vandeventer trail and going to Dunn Road Trail or Hahn Buena Vista Trail.
Best to use a mountain bike to explore Dunn Road. It’s possible to hike that dirt road if you absolutely want to experience the most boring trail in your life. You’re better off hiking Hahn Buena Vista, Vandeventer, Fern Canyon, and Wildhorse than going to Dunn Road. If you’re a diehard then hike Palm Canyon Trail instead. Don’t waste your time on Dunn Road unless you have a mountain bike.
A great ride with a pretty interesting story behind it. Mike Dunn tried for a decade to carve a road out connecting the mountain valleys with Palm Springs. After litigation stopped him, he left some tractors and heavy equipment and his partially completed road behind. It's one of the best, but very challenging, rides I've done. We road up 4 miles and about 2600 feet, through washed out portions of a road that was probably too steep to really work for anything but hardy 4x4s. The climb is tough, but you are rewarded with incredible views, empty trails and a very different environment than what you see down in the valley. At the 4 miles mark, there is a massive earth moving device and some picnic tables. This is a great place to break for some air, but also marks the start of some nice singletrack which cuts off to the west/NW and loops back around to a point about 2 miles back down Dunn Road.
Dunn Road is a real mix, a wide hardpack road base up above about 3 miles, to a partially washed out narrow dirt road for the first 2 miles.
Again, the reward is up above, both the views and the stellar single track up in the heights where things get a lot less steep.
We saw only 2 other mountain bikers our entire time up there. But luckily one of them was a local who agreed to stick with us and give us a tour!
Later in the week, I drove up around Highway 74 and found the "top" of Dunn Road, it would be a killer 12+ miles downhill ride with a drop off.