In addition to protecting the vibrant and diverse natural communities of the Coachella Valley, the CVCC encourages the use of a variety of beautiful public trails. Maintained by multiple agencies and partners, there are no shortages of wonderful hikes to choose from, and a multitude of plant and animal species to spot while on your next outing. Here are a few suggestions:
Indio Hills Badlands Trail
This 5.2 mile loop, with an elevation gain of 777ft, offers a spectacular view of the Coachella Valley and north of the Indio hills. To get to this view, you must first slide through some little slot canyons, climb a short but slightly steep stone staircase, and marvel at the geology of sedimentary rock layers formed millions of years ago. You may even find seashells, remnants of the Ancient Lake Cahuilla that filled and receded in the Salton Sink regularly long ago. In the Spring, wildflowers bloom and color this wondrous and diverse landscape. Leashed dogs are allowed. The parking lot is located on the corner of Ave 42nd and Golf Center Parkway. Read more about this area here.
Coachella Valley Preserve Trails
This preserve offers many different trails of varying lengths and hiking levels to choose from. The McCallum trail takes you for a gentle walk to a lovely oasis, ideal for bird watching, or to simply listen to the breeze rustle the full and fluffy palm tree skirts surrounding the small pond. Check hours of operation and read more about this special area here. McCallum trail is 1.8 mi. No dogs are allowed in the preserve, as this area is critical habitat for several species, including the endangered Coachella Valley Fringe-toed Lizard, and the Desert Pupfish.
Long Canyon Trail
Long Canyon Trail is a beautiful 9 miles leading from Desert Hot Springs north to the high desert, and Joshua Tree National Park. If trekking the complete 9 miles, you’ll witness the distinct changes in flora leading up to the high desert. From creosote scrub to Joshua tree woodland, it is truly gorgeous and worth the effort. If you’re in the mood for beautiful canyon views, bird watching, geology, and spring wildflower spotting, take 1-2 miles out and back again, the journey is well-equipped to offer you enjoyment. For more information, read more here. The new parking lot Is located on Long Canyon Road in Desert Hot Springs, accessible via both Hacienda Ave or Dillon Road.
Whitewater Canyon Preserve
This Preserve is maintained by the Wildlands Conservancy, an area rich with beautiful geologic features, the Whitewater River, cultural history, populations of Desert Bighorn, deer, bear, and other wildlife. The preserve has both gentle trails, and more hearty hikes that link with the Pacific Crest Trail and on to Mission Creek Preserve. More info: here.
La Quinta Cove Trails
Choose from a variety of paths in the La Quinta Cove, or simply pack a lunch and enjoy some time at the picnic area close to the trailhead. Beyond the trailhead lies the gorgeous Santa Rosa mountains, culturally significant and majestic, with various wildlife and flora to see. Dogs are not allowed on these trails for the safety of Peninsular Bighorn populations in the area. More info here.
(photo courtesy of Sienna Thomas)