Explore Palm Desert Hikes - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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Just don't take the first canyon trail unless young and in-shape. I mistakenly did. Wild and exciting but demands rope-climbing capacity and more. Rope pretty narrow so gloves required. Should have partner in case of trouble.

hiking
1 day ago

Nice trail. Good views. It’s too bad that the ‘trail heads’ don’t offer more info. On the trail head map we found no mention of the Cross trail. There was a sign about a 1/3 of the way up.

The view from Mastedon Peak is terrific, although you have to be comfortable with a little boulder scrambling to achieve the absolute top.

As of October 2018 the portion of Mastedon Loop which coincides with the Lost Palms Oasis Trail is closed due to minor flood damage. There is no signage to indicate this if you start the Loop at the campground and go clockwise. Don’t know why, with all those rangers hanging out at the visitor center none thought to inform the hikers.

hiking
2 days ago

We've got a trip planned for Thanksgiving Weekend. I'd appreciate any updated road info for Painted Canyon Road.

Goes without saying, this hike is beyond intense and belongs on any serious hiker's bucket list. We did C2C in November which is a little late but there was no snow yet so we actually had a 40 - 60 degree range the whole time. Just to state the obvious - headlamps, layers, gloves and at least 6L of water/Gatorade, calories (plus emergency supplies). Super awesome hike though, beautiful scenery throughout and a huge sense of accomplishment once you finally hit that tram. Be safe!

P.S. this fortunately did not end up being the case for us, but if you end up missing the last tram at night, the ranger recommended sleeping in the bathroom of the ranger station which is heated and protected from the elements. Just throwing that out there!

hiking
4 days ago

my favourite hike so far!
only problem we had was this app directed us to the info/ pay center at Tahquitz Canyon. We were meeting friends at the trailhead but we ended up no where near it. The trailhead (start) is actually on the other end or end of what's shown on this map. So across from Indian Canyon Golf Course

The vegetation, trail, and dramatic view point are all impressive. I enjoyed this better than Devil's Slide across the canyon.

Awsome hike. After the second time I did it.

Easy. Easy. Easy.

So the first thing we encountered was a large road closed sign. People were turning around BUT DRIVE AROUND it. The road leading to the trail head is sandy but if you have a 4 wheel drive SUV you can make it. A two wheel drive car - you will make it most of the way then have to walk about 15-30 min depending how far you get.

Once you make the trail, stay to the right for the ladders and left for the ropes (it’s not marked).

Depending how you get down, you might have to descend a rope which is challenging. My wife who is in pretty good shape had a freak out. But overall it’s not too bad.

I have done this hike multiple times and highly recommend.

6 days ago

This is a very enjoyable trail and easy to trek. But there is not enough directions on where it starts and ends. You just have to guess at what you’re doing.

5/5 stars, great views of the park, some cool boulders and the oasis at the end was cherry on top! Definitely worth the trek. We had to start from the campgrounds and do the loop behind the Cottonwood Springs campground due to the road being washed out. Added an extra 2 or 2.5 miles, making the hike about 4 hours total.

Did this hike two days ago. Cottonwood Trail, the main trail to Lost Palms, and the road to it, are closed due to being washed out from floods. If you want to hike to Lost Palms you can park at Campground A-B and take the trail toward Mastodon Peak. Once you pass the gold mine and Mastodon Peak go down the hill to Lost Palms Oasis Trail and take a left. Then it’s the Trail as normal to List Palms. This way adds about 1.5-2 miles to the normal hike. Great views as always.

Re-did this hike with two friends Oct 31, 2018. Weather was perfect with breeze. Very strenuous for inexperienced hikers. We all ran out of water from our backpack bladders carrying 2 liter each. Luckily we had a couple of water bottles as supplements. I suggest also taking something to help with rehydrate with nutrients as there's much sweating in this hike. This hike shows 8.3 miles up and back, but both times I've hiked it, mine and my buddy's distance counter showed 12 + miles. The views are spectacular and the Salton Sea can be seen to the east. To the west Palm Desert and Rancho Mirage can be seen. The elevation change is about 2360 ft so it was a good cardio. It would be worthwhile to pack food to eat along the way to re-energize. We were disappointed when we saw two men coming up the trail as we were returning from the palms. Each only had one plastic bottle of water. They hadn't even made it halfway. I offered bottles of water, but they said no thanks. Hmm. Hope they did well in their hike. Taking extra water is essential on this hike. The trail is pretty visible. The Grove can't be seen until your about a 3rd of mile from it.

hiking
8 days ago

@BRUPac ;) I understand the road in is washed out from both ends, but which end did you start from with your 4x4? I have a tacoma 4x4 and wanted to attempt to reach the trailhead this weekend.

hiking
10 days ago

Amazing hike experienced with my five experienced hikers. Started 2:30am at the bottom in palm spring and reach to the summit by 1pm then heading down to the tram exactly 6pm to catch up our ride down. We finished 23.3 miles total. Most challenging hike so far. Stick pole is a must and good headlights. When you reach to the rangers station dont forget to refuel yourself and rest. heading to the summit is strenuous due to some thin air because of the high elevation. hydrate enough and eat energy bars will help. Recommended for advance and serious hikers.

Go left for the best challenge!!!

went there yesterday 11/3/18. Left a review on the ladder canyon road review section. highly recommend 4x4, but will be honest, a Volvo awd SUV made it all of the way and a 2018 Toyota Camry made it over half way, before the real soft sand. I'm adding a few pictures of the road to judge for your self. go in groups or have recovery gear to get yourself out.

Bring treking poles, it is all up hill.

The view from the top is well worth the effort! I didn’t think the trail was too difficult, but you can feel the incline and the altitude may be bothersome if you aren’t accustomed to it. Parking wasn’t an issue for me around 3:30 on a Saturday although earlier in the day, it seemed to be pretty full. I did get off trail once, but it wasn’t that far before I realized my mistake and backtracked to the correct direction.

http://rctlma.org/trans/Road-Maintenance/Road-Closures

I’m going to head down there tonight. Website says it’s still closed. Hopefully not.

Update.
Road is definitely closed. No problem getting to the trail tho. Lifted 4x4 recommended only. 2 spots that would be tough to get around. Plus the ground is pretty loose.
Jeep Wrangler for reference. Saw some Tacoma’s also back in there amongst other wranglers

This is a no joke trail.
If you plan to go back and forth, be ready to spend 5-6 hours of intensive trailing up and down, sometimes literally claiming. This trail is not labelled Hard because it is long, but because it will exhaust you.
Bring a lot of water and electrolytes.
As a less difficult alternative (about 4 hours) you can take West fork North to Coffman and back to Trade Post via Alexander trail.

Can anyone say if the trail is back open..Thank you

I did this hike solo on a Tuesday and it was exactly what I needed to get away from my busy and tiresome mom life! There were maybe 15 other hikers so not crowded at all. The climb was steady but not steep. As another reviewer pointed out, there are a few places where it might be easy to miss the trail but only if you don’t have a trained eye. Just keep following the footprints!

There’s a beautiful open, flatter area with big, tall pines near the top of the ridge before you turn off for Suicide Rock. This was probably my favorite part but the entire trail is just gorgeous.

Definitely bring water, snacks, and good shoes!

Also, the ranger station in Idyllwild is closed on Wednesdays and Thursdays per the sign in their window so plan ahead to get a permit. Although I was not stopped, they do make it very clear you need one.

on The Cross Trail

17 days ago

Great hike

17 days ago

Great hike!

Can not leave comment without rating. Can anyone verify the route to the trail is again open?

Blows your mind. Tough cookie. Train Hard. Carry lots of Water. Start as early as 1 am.

Amazing. So beautiful. Easy and breathtaking. I’d do over and over again

hiking
18 days ago

This hike was fantastic! I consider myself a novice hiker and found the length and altitude a bit strenuous. However, the views at the top were well worth the trip!! My husband I started the hike at the Deer Springs Trailhead at 1:08pm, made it to Suicide Rock at 3:33pm (after multiple breaks) and completed our descent at 5:18pm this past weekend. Here are few takeaways that I’d tell anyone looking to do the hike:

1. First and foremost, you’ll need a wilderness permit to complete the hike. I ran into 2 park rangers who asked for our permits (safety reasons apparently). You’ll need to stop by the ranger station in town before heading up the mountain.
2. I had a hard time locating this trail on my GPS. The easiest place to locate is the Deer Springs Trailhead that takes you to Suicide Rock. There’s free parking along the highway.
3. Wear hiking boots!! My husband completed the hike in Nikes and he was sliding everywhere. You’ll thank me later.
4. Bring enough water and snacks to get you through the hike, especially during the Summer months.
5. Don’t forget your camera because the views (and even the hike up) are stunning.

This is definitely a hike you need to complete if you’re ever in Idyllwild! Happy hiking!

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