Lost Palms Oasis is a 7.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Desert Center, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from March until October.
From Palm Springs/Coachella Valley take Interstate 10 for 15 miles past Coachella. Exit Cottonwood Springs Road. Make a left when you exit Cottonwood Springs Road. Make a left at the Cottonwood Visitor Center and the trail is right hand side of the road
This trail is in the south end of the park by the Cottonwood Visitor Center. It starts with a short walk through the Cottonwood Palms Oasis near the site of an old mine, which is now contaminated with heavy metals and has been roped off.
There is a second oasis, the Lost Palm Oasis, at the end of the trail. Hikers can descend into Lost Palms Canyon but it is a rather rigorous hike out.
About halfway to the Lost Palm Oasis is a side trail that leads to the Mastodon Peak loop. This is generally considered to be a moderate hike, but could be more challenging for the person who is not in peak form.
In spite of the contaminated entrance and even without the sidebar to Mastodon Peak, the trail up to Lost Palms offers a beautiful walk – a different slice at a ‘wonderland of rocks.’ Plenty of diverse plants, birds. I consider it to be one of the best hikes in the park.
Since the ride from the north to the south end of the park can take an hour one way, I recommend travelers plan to do the Lost Palm Oasis and Mastodon Peak in the morning and stop at the Cholla Cactus Garden on the way back to the north end of the park, timing arrival for sunset, when the plants look as though they are lighted from within by the setting sun.
This was a great hike to the largest concentration of California fan palm trees in the park. We went in December, during a period of unprecedented levels of visitation, but this hike was not crowded. The beginning of the trail is shared with another hike, so that period had more people, but overall this is a great one for seclusion and to immerse yourself in desert scenery.
There is a vault toilet at the start, but this trail is close to both Cottonwood campground as well as the south ranger station. There is drinking water there to stock up, if needed. As others have mentioned, there is little shade on this trail, so water is vital.
The trail is relatively well marked, although the sand made it a little difficult at times. There is also some steep rock navigation that'll be required near the oasis itself especially as you descend into the canyon. We had brought hiking poles and were very glad we did.
At the oasis there is shade, plenty of resting spots, standing water, and a large bird population. We weren't fortunate enough to see many other animals, but other people were.
We timed this hike to have sunset on the way back for pictures. It was gorgeous. Those who do this definitely need warm clothing and lights as the temperature drops quickly when the sun sets.
First off the "oasis" is not the reason this hike is great. Take your time and enjoy the trip. We came upon a desert tortoise near the trail that we would have missed had we been in a hurry.
We backcountry camped overnight about half way up the trail and half a mile south of the trail. Awsome stargazing. At breakfast a large tarantula came to visit.
We are going back to see bighorn sheep soon.
No big boulders around on this trail but still stunning Colorado Desert scenery. I agree that the miles posted are somewhat misleading: from the parking area and doing the Mastodon Mine loop (which is a bit strenuous but worth it), I clocked in at 11 miles-plus round trip. There are a few steep but short climbs. The palm groves and oasis are full of overgrown brush, wild yet charming. GREAT views of the Salton Sea on stark clear days.
Very nice trail, but longer than indicated. At the trail head it said 3mi (appr. 4.5km) to the oasis but this app recorded 6.5km and we didn't even finish the loop at the end, so back and forth this was 13km or even more if you complete the loop around the oasis. Be prepared for the heat and start in the morning, there is no shade at all and bring enough water and snacks.
Oasis is pretty cool, but be careful doing this trail in the summer, almost no shade along the way. I was very underprepared for this hike. I was ready for it to be over long before I was back in the car.
This is a great trail! Not difficult at all, the ups and downs are short hills, and very easy to manage. The trail is well maintained and easy to follow with the exception of a couple areas where the trail intersects with some washes... But if you pay attention, they are all marked which way to go.
The Oasis is cool, but I expected to see actual water there. There is no water to be found at all. there is green and trees, but no water. Do not expect to be able to filter water at this location at this time of year.
We camped on the hill above the oasis, it was great. Awesome star gazing!
Super fun easy hike with amazing sights!
Amazing hike in spring season . Bouldering was my favorite...hard leg workout but fun. Need to go back
We hiked this trail on March 13 2016. The wildflowers on coming out. The scenery is great. There is a loop as you hike down into the oasis. The trail down going clockwise ( at the sign) is not all that easy but doable. Then keep going thru the oasis until you reach a trail going up thru a rock cut. That part of the trail is not easy but it is not too long, Just follow the small carins, Then they disappear and just keep going up. Great day.