Art Smith Trail is a 16.7 mile heavily 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 best used from September until May.

Distance: 16.7 miles Elevation Gain: 3,336 feet Route Type: Out & Back

camping

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

running

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

no dogs

Note: Users have reported that this parking lot is known for car break ins. Do not leave valuables in your car when hiking this trail. 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.

hiking
2 days ago

We went past the first two oases, and with view of the third oasis on the left the trail turned to the right, ascending the ridge. When we crossed over the ridge (perhaps .4 mile from the second oasis) we were rewarded with a terrific view of the valley. Highly recommended.

hiking
bugs
no shade
rocky
scramble
22 days ago

Challenging trail with amazing views of the valley. Saw a rattlesnake which was the highlight of my hike.

hiking
bugs
1 month ago

this is an amazing hike, beautiful, interesting, tough, but not murderous... one mention, there is a serious beehive about the 4 mile mark coming from the Hwy 74 trailhead. you cross a small dry riverbed with a trail marker on the other side leading to a small narrow canyon. about 15-20 ft from that marker is a beehive in the rocks on the right. if you're walking you won't hear it until you're right next to it. i only avoided it because a trail runner coming back told me he got stung about 8 times. in this day & age and in this area of the country you have to assume that wild hives have some degree of africanization. i did not try to pass the hive because the canyon is so steep and narrow, you can't get more than 6-8 feet away. i was also ready to turn around anyway. however, i saw a gentleman on my way back who says it's been there for months and he "just avoids it". i don't see how. i would climb the rocks rather than try to pass it in the canyon. your choice, just know it is there.

hiking
bugs
no shade
1 month ago

Late spring hike, not too many on trail but enough to remember you need to wear a mask. Lots of bees and flies on this hike. Beautiful blooming cholla cactus. Great weather from 7am to 10am. Did not see any bighorn or snakes. I did see broken car window debris in the parking area. Keep your cars interior clean and clear.

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike. Make sure to give yourself a conservative amount of water. If you go out and back, the last 3 miles are rolling which may increase water consumption at the end. Bees were active and a little aggressive.

hiking
1 month ago

Great trail, only got 3 miles in. So happy I had my hiking poles and camel back. Everyone passing by lifted their masks, very kind in the Time of Corona.

hiking
1 month ago

Today just walked to first oasis (2.1 miles) and back. Not crowded at all but most of the dozen or so people we saw were wearing masks due to the Coronavirus. Not much shade at all so want to do this in early morning as late Spring approaches.

recorded Art Smith Trail

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked with Allan in the rain!

hiking
2 months ago

Really a great desert hiking trail! Information on All Trails is not complete. This trail is 8.2 miles one way. It begins at the 74 highway as noted, but it continues all the way to the Dunn Road trail.. 8.2 miles out to Dunn Rd trail. Then 8.2 miles back. You can easily continue on the Dunn road trail for another 4 miles, and end this 12 mile hike in Cathedral Canyon in Cat City. Not a difficult hike as described. I will say a moderate hike

hiking
rocky
2 months ago

Fantastic views from The Valley. Moderate uphill climbs at place with roller coaster effect which makes it a bit more fun. There’s an oasis roughly 2 miles into this trail. Once you reach it, it is a good turnaround spot for 3.5 mile hike. Strongly recommend this trail which typically has moderate to heavy traffic. Arrive early !

hiking
2 months ago

Left the trail-head at Hwy 74 at 8.30 am and arrived at Cathedral Cove at 12.30 pm. Very nice 4 hour hike. For nearly all of this trail you are in pure nature, away from any civilization. You can meet other hikers at the beginning and the end otherwise it is very quiet. After the third oasis, you climb over a ridge to fantastic views of the valley. A little later you see spectacular views of Mt San Jacinto and San Gorgonio. When you arrive at the bulldozer at Dunn Rd (about the 8 mile mark) take a rest at the picnic tables. When leaving, go about 50 yards back the way you came when you arrived at the bulldozer and then take the Art Smith trail to the left, This avoids taking Dunn Rd and is a much nicer hike. Wouldn't have found this trail without talking to a couple of mountain bikers sitting at the picnic tables.

hiking
2 months ago

Windy and cold

hiking
off trail
rocky
2 months ago

Unmark trail behind Stone Eagle

recorded Art Smith Trail

hiking
2 months ago

Trail head in housing development adjacent to Highway 74. Closest trail head to the cross.

hiking
off trail
2 months ago

I was in Cathedral Canyon, got lost and ended up here! At first it was quite breathtaking but somehow I got badly lost. I honestly thought I was following a trail and ended in a Palm Grove, crossing hills and over boulders. It was quite exciting NOW that I’m safe and sound and made it back to my car, 15 miles later lol If you have a good GPS and plenty of battery on your phone, along with hydration and trail mix, it’s a great hike!

running
rocky
2 months ago

Such an amazing trail !! It’s like going to Disneyland. Reminded me of Cars meets Soaring over America meets Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. All I need was the splashes of water thru the whoops and drops. Beautiful landscapes with easy and hard rocky sections. This one you should not miss.

hiking
no shade
rocky
2 months ago

hiking
no shade
rocky
2 months ago

recorded Art Smith Trail

3 months ago

Gorgeous sweeping views-

hiking
3 months ago

DO NOT PARK YOUR CAR HERE, IT WILL BE VANDALIZED. Multiple windows smashed and everything inside stolen, we were only on the trail for 45 minutes. Riverside police say this has been happening "constantly" over the past 10 years. So if you want to hike this trail remove literally everything from your car, and even then, don't be surprised if you have broken windows upon return.

hiking
no shade
rocky
4 months ago

Fantastic hike with perfect weather conditions. The climb up is steep and a bit rocky, but at the top you are rewarded with a relatively moderate trail with great views. You’ll pass three fan palm oases, which are such a treat. There was some green coming up because of recent rains. Hopefully, the wildflowers will be abundant in spring.

hiking
rocky
4 months ago

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