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San Jacinto & Santa Rosa Mountains
These mountain ranges rise high above Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley. The highest point in the San Jacinto range is San Jacinto peak at 10,804 feet - a summit that can be hiked (though not very easily) from Palm Springs. The Santa Rosa Mountains actually extend south into Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, which is located east of San Diego.

Be sure to carry plenty of water, sunglasses and hats (especially in summer months). Avoid going on strenuous trails alone and be respectful of other hikers when considering "nude" hiking and sunbathing. Trails are hiked by local organizations, visitors, and families with children.

 Hiking Trails
 25 Mile Radius
Total Miles

 Skill Level

 Big Falls  Redlands 0.7  Very easy terrain  Whether Big Falls is the highest water-
 fall in all of Southern California is  
 subject to argument, though it is quite 
 Big Morongo  Canyon  Morongo 
N/A  Easy  Nearly 300 species of birds have been
 spotted along a 6 mile stretch of the
 canyon just outside of the city of
 Blake Rock Loop Trail  Yucca Valley 10.5  Strenuous  A very well marked trail both up Eureka
 Peak and down the California Riding and
 Hiking Trail.
 Conejo Well
 Eagle Mountain
 Indio 12  Moderate  This clear, well defined trail is actually a
 closed four-wheel drive mining road
 managed as a hiking trail.

 Cottonwood Spring
 Morten's Mill Site
 Indio 1  Easy  Cottonwood Spring is a lovely patch of
 greenery in an otherwise arid.
 Cottonwood Spring 
 Nature Trail
 Indio 1  Easy  This broad clear trail leads up a wash
 from the road near the spring, eventually
 winding up to a low ridge leading to the
 Covington Loop  Yucca Valley 4.1  Moderate  This is a true loop with route duplica-
 tion unless the suggested side trips are
 Eureka Peak  Joshua tree 7.6  Moderate  The climb to Eureka Peak takes you
 past some of the lushes vegetation in
 the monument and to a great view of
 Palm Springs.
 High View Nature Trail  Twenty Nine
1.3  Easy  This nature trail travels to the top of a
 hill providing a view over Yucca Valley 
 and northern reaches.
 Lost Palms Oasis  Indio 8.4  Moderate  This is a dry, high hike, with no protec-
 tion from sun and wind.
It is a heavily
 signed route with arrows at every bend.
 Mastodon Peak Loop  Indio 3  Easy to moderate if
 peak is included.
 A moderate 3-mile loop hike leads from 
 the Cottonwood Spring Oasis to nearby
 Mastodon Mine, Winona Mill, and
 Mastodon Peak.
The peak requires
 some scrambling but provides excellent
 Murray Peak  Cathedral City 12  Strenuous, very tech-
 The highest peak in the area gives you
 one of the finest views of the Coachella
 Valley and southward.
 San Gorgonio
 Redlands 15.8  Strenuous, easy ter-
 The Vivian creek Trail is the original
 path to the top of San Gorgonio, built
 around the turn of the 20th Century.
 rounded,  talus-strewn summit of San 
 Gorgonio  Mountain (or “Greyback,” as
 it was called long ago) crowns the San
 Bernardino Mountains.
 San Jacinto Peak  Palm Springs 12  Moderately strenuous,
 easy terrain.
 San Jacinto Peak is a close second
 after San Gorgonio Mountain on the
 roster of Southern California high points.
 San Jacinto Peak  Palm Springs 20  Very strenuous, 
 moderate terrain and
 bush whacking.
 This hike, known as the Cactus-to-
 Clouds Hike by Palm Springs hiking
 enthusiasts, is an absolute hoot - if you
 South Park Peak  Twenty Nine
0.8  Easy  This gentle peak climb begins as an
 easy dirt trail. Although this short loop
 hike lies just outside of Joshua Tree
 National Park's northern boundary, it
 provides a sweeping view of the valley.
 Tahquitz Peak  Idyllwild 7  Moderately strenuous, 
 easy terrain.
 Tahquitz Peak celebrates a legendary   
 demon who, in the oral tradition of the
 Chauilla Indians, used to dine on
 The Great San
 Jacinto Traverse
 Palm Desert 55.9  Strenuous  This definitive trip in the San Jacinto
 mountains is a complete south-to-north
 traverse of the range, culminating in a
 climb to the top.
 Toro Peak  Anza 3  Moderately strenuous,
 easy terrain.
 At 8716 feet Toro Peak crowns the
 Santa Rosa Mountains, an elongated
 complex of ridges running for some 35
 Biking Trails
 25 Mile Radius
Total Miles
 Skill Level  Description
 Art Smith Trail  Palm Desert  16.7  Aerobically and
 technically difficult.
 This ride is located 4 miles north of
 Palm Desert just off the Palms to Pines
 Highway (CA 74) in the Santa Rosa
 Black Mountain Road  Cathedral City 24  Moderate, not tech-
 An excellent ride in a beautiful forest. A
 good pick when other areas are too hot
 for riding
 Covington Flats
 Eureka Peak
 Yucca Valley 7.6  Moderate.  A park-designated bike route, this trip
 takes you through relatively lush vegeta-
 tion, including junipers, pinon pines.
 Dunn Road  Palm Desert 17  Aerobically easy to
 moderate. Technically
 This ride begins off of CA 74, 16.5 miles
 southwest of Palm Desert, near the
 Atajo Alpine Village subdivision.
 Dunn Road  Palm Springs 20.5  Aerobically easy.
 Technically moderate
 with some steep sandy
 Located in the Santa Rosa Mountain
 Range above Palm Desert. Mostly fast
 downhill with speeds approaching 40
 Eureka Peak  Joshua Tree 7.6  Moderately aerobic and
 mildly technical.
 The climb to Eureka Peak takes you
 past some of the lushes vegetation in
 the monument and to a great view of
 Palm Springs.
 Forbes Ranch Road  Cathedral City 10  Moderately aerobic,
 not technical.
 This is a great ride for views of Garner
 Valley and the vast desert of the
 Coachella Valley
 Mount Santa Rosa  Cathedral City 26  Moderately aerobic,
 not technical.
 Mt. Santa Rosa Road makes for great
 mountain biking. Long, and with great
 vistas, provides the rider with a medium
 Murray Peak  Cathedral City 12  Aerobically strenuous,
 very technical.
 The highest peak in the area gives you
 one of the finest views of the Coachella
 Valley and southward.
 Palm Canyon  Palm Desert 28.4  Aerobically moderate
 and technically difficult.
 This trail begins 18 miles north of Palm
 Desert, and ends in Palm Springs just
 north of the border with Cathedral City.
 Pinyon-Palm Canyon
 Cathedral City 14.5  Aerobically easy, not
 This is one of the most enjoyable rides
 in  this chapter. Be sure to bring extra
 water, especially in the summer
 Pinyon Flats  Cathedral City 12  Aerobically easy, not
 With lots of flat or nearly flat riding, this
 is a great area for beginners to practice
 their skills.
 Santa Rosa 
 Mountain Trail
 Palm Desert 26.8  Aerobically moderate 
 to difficult. Technically
 easy to moderate.
 This ride is located 19 miles north of
 Palm Desert, just off the Palms to Pines
 Highway (CA 74).
 Sawmill Trail  Cathedral City 22.5  Aerobically and
 technically strenuous.
 This is definitely the epic ride of the
 Thomas Mountain Loop  Cathedral City 14  Aerobically moderate
 but somewhat
 This is one of the most popular rides in
 the San Jacinto mountain area. It offers
 a moderate climb.
 Thomas Mountain Road  Palm Desert 23  Aerobically difficult.
 Technically moderate
 to difficult.
 This ride is located 32 miles southwest
 of Palm Desert on CA 74. Completing
 this 23-mile ride requires strength
 Scenic Drives
 25 Mile Radius
Total Miles
 Skill Level  Description
 Palms-Pines Highway  
CA 243 & 74
 Idyllwild 66  Auto  A two lane highway that climbs from
 Banning over the scenic San Jacinto

Information on trails and regional maps can be found at and
"100 Great Hikes In and Near Palm Springs" by Philip Ferranti and Hank Koenig.
Trails within a 25 mile radius of Palm Springs are mentioned above.

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