Garstin Loop Trail is a 3.5 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Palm Springs, CA that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.
This is a loop trail that starts at Garstin Trail then goes through Shannon Trail and continues to Earl Henderson to close the loop.
This is a nice trail short trail that ends at the ridge and transitions to Berns Trail. When you see where Berns Trail starts? Many hikers only go this far and ironically call it a day and return the opposite way to go back to parking. You’re actually missing the best loop trail, instead of head back, go north to Shannon Trail and descend all the way where it will eventually intersect Earl Henderson Trail, then go left on Earl Henderson to return to the parking. You have no idea what you’re missing if you didn’t do this loop.
Bring at least one 16 oz. water bottle, sun protection because it’s a sunny trail after 10 am. There’s no fee to hike and park. Park anywhere convenient at the end of the Barona Rd.
This is one of those trails that many visitors and locals never knew was a loop trail, but involves hiking three trails to complete the loop. Normally visitors will only hike up to Garstin and that’s it. The locals who are devoted hikers and daring will hike all the way to Clara Burgess Trail. This loop is equivalent to hiking to Clara Burgess but more interesting because it’s a loop and takes you back to the parking. Hiking both trails you’ll be more inclined to like this loop more.
Since this loop is approximately 3.6 miles, it’s actually just right if you’re not looking for a long hike and don’t want to return to your car completely exhausted. Even though it was around 90 degrees, actually completed the loop without taking a sip, even brought two 16 oz. water bottle, one was completely frozen to keep the other one cold. Anyway, now that it’s warmer the bugs are out again, at the summit of Garstin there were annoying flies, that kind that fly around in a group and likes to land on your ears or hands, but along the route to Clara Burgess none. But at the Goat Trail the last leg of the loop, there were tiny flying beetles, much smaller than a fly but around twice the size of a gnat. These beetles if they land on your skin you’ll feel pain, similar to a mosquito.
For general information, there’s no fee to park and hike this loop. If you’re a senior citizen hiking poles recommended. Bring at least one 16 oz. water bottle. Sun protection definitely, this is a sunny trail.
Easter Hike, started kind of late around 10 am, it’s also that time of year when the weather have already started to get warm. In fact it was already around ninety degrees outside but it’s wasn’t too bad because there was a gentle breeze, over 5 mph but less than 10 mph. There was only two other cars when I got there and passed hikers who were descending. What I thought was funny, around a quarter mile up Garstin Trail, was photographing a nice house with the coolest backyard which looks like a miniature golf course. It’s obvious this wealthy guy bought the vacant lot behind his backyard to extend the landscaping. Anyway noticed another hiker who started his hike and wasn’t very far, maybe only 500 feet away, as I continue up the trail after a half mile, stopped to check how far the other hiker was and to my surprised, he changed his mind, he probably only hiked a quarter mile and bailed. It’s only 90 degrees, but for some people that’s too hot.
After completing Garstin Trail, it transitions to Berns Trail. Not too far from that transition point there’s a “T” intersection to Shannon Trail which heads north. What’s interesting about Shannon trail? It’s where you’ll see the most famous house in the Desert which belongs to movie star and comedian Bob Hope. Shannon is a short trail but steep, depending which end you’re at, your either ascending or descending all the way on this trail. Finally, when you see the intersection to Earl Henderson Trail? That would be the last and final trail that completes the loop if you hiked all the way westward, because it returns to where you parked your car.
The best time to hike this loop trail is 8am because Earl Henderson is completely shaded from the mountain. There are no trees or tall shrubs for any type shading along this loop. The next best thing to bring would be an umbrella, which would be completely normal if you were in China. But since this is America, and clear sky it will look a bit strange unless it was raining. Essentials would be; 16 oz. water bottle and sun protection.