The Living Desert Wilderness Loop Trail

MODERATE 71 reviews

The Living Desert Wilderness Loop Trail is a 4.8 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Palm Desert, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from September until May.

4.8 miles
793 feet

kid friendly



nature trips

trail running




wild flowers


over grown


no dogs

After paying $17 for admission into The Living Desert (a local zoo), you can hike into natural wash then trek up to Eisenhower mountain. Beautiful views of coachella valley! This loop includes a relatively brief section (approximately 0.5 miles) on very rocky ground.

3 months ago

Picnic at summit

4 months ago

Really liked the hike and views. Took about 2hrs and 15 minutes for us to complete. Good views at the top. Can take the loop either way, but recommend counter clockwise so you go up the boulders. Costco sells passes and can save on the admission to the park.

4 months ago

My husband and I really enjoyed this trail; beautiful vistas and not much traffic. The boulder field tests your footing and balance. Even on a 65 degree day we needed more than 20 oz of water each. Get your moneys worth by visiting the great zoo!

4 months ago

Nice trail. Not too difficult and it had some fun views and informational areas.

4 months ago

This trail is beautiful, but more difficult than moderate. The boulder field is challenging. Wear proper footwear and bring lots of water and healthy snacks.

4 months ago

I loved the actual hike part of this trail. The ONLY reason I didn't give it five stars was because the first and last miles are flat sand up to the canyon-- a bit uneventful physically and visually. However the rest of the hike was great. Loved the boulder/rock scrabbling part and some of the terrain. Well marked trail.

5 months ago

Endure the first half of the hike ascending the mountain, because you receive a bonus when you reach the summit: awesome views! The descent along the ridge is spectacular as you overlook the Coachella Valley below.

5 months ago

One of the best hikes we've done in the area.

5 months ago

Had a great time on the trail this morning. Loved the views and scrambling over boulders!

6 months ago

Loved the views!

6 months ago

This is an incredibly beautiful trail - not too difficult, as the incline is gradual. Fantastic views and not too much traffic. I am petrified of heights, so there were a few sections on the Ridge Leg side that I found psychologically challenging (e.g. some turns on the ledge and expansive views). Otherwise, this makes the fee to enter the Living Desert worth it!

7 months ago

Actually a really nice trail. I’d give it four stars except for one thing: you have to pay admission to the Living Desert to gain access to this trail. Otherwise great trail, moderately challenging. Did the 5 Miles in about 1.5 hours. Little to no shade so wear sunscreen, a hat, and bring water. Some scrambling up small boulders, but not too difficult. Fantastic views of the Coachella valley from the top. Also good view of the San Andreas fault. Best hiked in the morning hours to avoid the afternoon sun and heat.

8 months ago

Perfect mid 80’s day for this hike. Will return in January and bring our friends as we also are members of the Living Desert.

mountain biking
Monday, June 12, 2017

I would like to help get more people up to the top of this and others like it so they too can enjoy the fun down hill ride, maybe even a few times in one day. please help me. go to my link below thank you

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Great views of Coachella Valley with rest spots along the way. Note there is an admission charge to access the trailhead from the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, but then you get the added bonus of visiting and learning about desert gardens and animals.

Monday, March 06, 2017

great hike. was a cool 73. canyon side boulders aren't bad. ridge was super windy. great views of the mountains and Palm desert.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Should be rated as difficult especially the boulder field.

Saturday, February 04, 2017

This is a fantastic trail! The views from every turn are gorgeous!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Wonderful hiking experience, which had the best of both worlds. It had the vistas without feeling like you were just climbing up a giant barren rock, and it had windy/rocky trails that made it feel like you were in the wilderness while still seeing the vastness of the valley. When you hit the top you have a great view of the snow-capped mountains and the city sprawl - a great place to pack a lunch, eat and relaxxxxxx.

A few cons: the price for admission is steep. However, since it is costly, the trail has less traffic (huge pro, imo). Second con is that you don't go to the summit. You're soooo close that you just want to keep hiking to the very top!!! - but you're prohibited.

Lastly, the actual Living Desert is AWESOME ;) So go ahead and check it out while you're there.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Nice hike with a lunch spot at the top. If you want a serious workout, this is probably not going to do it. It's lovely to share the hike with a good friend then enjoy the animals after:)

Friday, December 30, 2016

Loved this hike. It was so pretty. Go up the left side trail if you don't want to do the entire hike. It is a good out and back. Will do this often!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Completed this trail on October 17th.
I can understand the reluctance in paying an entry fee just to hike this. But the Living Desert is a special place so I would recommend making a day of it and visit the various animals and exhibits in addition to the hike. The food in the Watutu Village is actually pretty good so have lunch there (along with a post hike cold beer). Then feed a giraffe or ride a camel or the old carousel.
We took the long loop and my Apple Watch measured it at 4.8 miles round trip. Sign in at the trailhead so they know if anyone got stranded out there. As already noted there is very little shade on this trail. So it goes without saying to pack plenty of water or Gatorade type drinks. The boulder field at the beginning had some standing water in a few spots and a large falling rock caught our attention pretty quickly. It climbs pretty steadily in spots and eventually tops out with a little covered picnic table. Great views from there and an easy descent from there. I would rate this as more moderate than "easy". But of of course these ratings are also based on weather and each person's overall physical condition. It was low 80's on the day of our hike.

Monday, May 11, 2015

BE AWARE-->This trail is dangerous for rattle snakes this time of year. In late March my sister-in-law came upon one while hiking with out son. Frightened her big time. And now it is reported an actually bite on a 17 year old hiking on Sunday. My advise is to 'take a break from hiking this time of the year's. Odds are that you won't get bit but why take the chance?

Saturday, May 09, 2015

This is a great hike. I would never pay to hike. I have hiked it many times while visiting the Living Desert as my primary objective. The beautiful part of this trail is that you can do the whole thing or chop down the total length a couple time before committing to the entire distance. this option is great for kids, the elderly or if it's just too hot.

Friday, January 02, 2015

Wish I had read Carlos's review below before I did this hike. The hike is fine, but paying ~ $17 per person to access the trail is not worth it and neither are the Living Desert exhibits.

Friday, November 07, 2014


Friday, July 19, 2013

It's the desert so bring plenty of water it's hot and dry no matter what time of day. It's a great trail and attraction to visit while in the Palm Springs area. Great way to experience this hot dry climate if you have not before.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Great trail with incredible views and a picnic table at the top. Good chance of seeing Bighorn Sheep from The Living Desert (through which this trail is accessed).

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Nice trail! One of my favorites in the valley

1 month ago

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