Explore the most popular kid friendly trails near Palm Desert with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

This is my favorite to showcase Indian Wells and Palm Desert. Begin by ascending up the dry creek bed to the crest at 1000 feet. You'll experience the "bonus" when you arrive at the "half-way" shelter. Take a breather at the picnic table under the shelter, but make sure you walk a few extra paces to peer over the edge of the cliff at a 180 degree view of central Coachella Valley. You'll enjoy wonderful views all along the second half of the 4.8 mile trek.

Great little trail and views

trail running
2 months ago

This trail is extremely crowded in peak times such as the morning, weekends, and especially on holidays. The trail brings you up to the famous St. Margaret's cross which is both a local favorite and a bit of a tourist attraction. The view a top the trail is decent but if you want a better view of Palm Desert then try the bump n grind. Good running trail if done twice in succession.

2 months ago

It's definitely an easier trail but I wouldn't call it easy, especially if you start at the typical base. It does connect to a couple easy routes that are good for beginners and kids to do. It's shorter too than many of the trails unless you do the loops but still an excellent workout! I do it every morning.

One of our favorite spots in Palm Desert. Great views & you can bring your dog along! Trail is steep but short. It’s a good, easy workout!

A favorite for taking my dog! It's best to go early because after the sun rises there isn't much shade at all and it starts to heat up pretty quickly. Also be sure to bring plenty of water, more than you think you'll need. They have dog bowls at the top so your dog can drink, too. It's so nice.

Alot of variety and nice views!

Easy trail with great views.

This trail should absolutely be done in the early spring and fall! Even may be nice during the winter. Temps are so so hot down here, bring plenty of water for everyone and snacks for breaks during the hike! Wear good shoes. The beginning Part is straight up and then it gets a little rocky before being leveling out. Nice views the whole way and an excellent workout!

6 months ago

Should be rated ‘Moderate’

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.

I have seen the Cross while driving South on Bob Hope many times so it was great to actually hike up to see it.

6 months ago

An enjoyable hike. Very popular, and an inviting ‘starter hike’ for those new to desert hiking around Palm Springs and area.

Fairly easy short hike except for moderate climb at start and descent near end. Took me an hour. Good hike if you are short on time or new to the area. Impressive views of the mountains, valley, and geology of the hillside. People on the trail are very friendly. I enjoyed it and plan to hike it again on our next visit. Smooth walking surface. Go early on a weekday to avoid traffic, heat, and crowds. Parking areas on popular trails fill up fast. Trailhead at Cahuilla Hills Park is easy to find and has a restroom and maps.

I took off a star because signage was confusing. I looked for Herb Jeffries Trail to start but did not find it - partially my fault. I began on the Gabby Hays part of the loop. But that trail name appeared only near the start. From there the trail name Hopalong Cassidy Trail was on the signs. It took me a while to figure out that the Hopalong Cassidy and Gabby Hays Trails share the same path. I had to ask someone to verify that and locate the point where the trail diverges to the Herb Jeffries Trail which completes the loop. The sign for the Herb Jeffries Trail at the parking area is too small and easy to miss. If you want to start on the Herb Jeffries Trail, walk toward the tennis courts to find the trail connector and follow the signs (this part is very well marked).

Enjoy this and many other trails in Palm Desert and Palm Springs area. There is a great variety of trails, scenery, and degree of difficulty.

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!

Nice inclines, not too brutal. Trying to rehab my knee so this was perfect. Trails are a little narrow and kinda rocky in spots, so watch your ankles! I don't know why this trail says "no dogs" because they have poop bags available and I seen many furbabies on the trail. Next time I will bring mine. :)

6 months ago

Should be rated as moderate because of the first half mile.

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

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.

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.

A few thoughts on this trail:
It's well marked, easy to find, easy to follow. Seemed to be good for trail running or even mountain biking or a less intense hike. It wasn't particularly technical in terms of foot placement or terrain type: most of it was a nice even sand-like path. Other reviewers are right though, the incline was aggressive for the first 1/2 mile. Not much to look at though compared to other trails in the area, and there was a fair amount of people. A good workout, but didn't do it for me overall.

Great trail for all ages and levels.

7 months ago

A fun trail as described, but the trail is far from easy (should be classified as moderate). It is very steep for the first 150 yards, and then is a serious 1.3 mile, uphill climb to the cross. Also, the directions show a left turn to parking at the end; however, a right turn at the end will also take you to parking and is in the direction of the trailhead.

7 months ago

We followed directions on Google maps but couldn't find the Cross Trail trailhead. Instead there is a sign for the Homestead trail. We expected "easy" to mean "flat." Instead, the trail starts with a steep grade uphill.

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.

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

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

Nice trail. beginning and end big inclines.

Great short trail. Great place to see desert life. a must if you are from the Coachella Valley

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