Explore the picturesque southern California desert with its tall palms, rugged hillsides and scenic roadways. Take time to see the luxury golf club communities at Palm Springs and Rancho Mirage, then get away from it all with a challenging mountain bike ride. Drive a scenic byway and take a hike through a preserved natural desert. Relax with locals at one of the Valley's entertaining festivals.
Mountain Biking Adventures
Traverse the Palm Canyon trail to see high desert scenery, craggy mountainsides and the rocky canyon wall. Try riding in the desert sands and up creek beds along the Fern Canyon and Wild Horse Trails. Test yourself against the nimble skill of wild animals on the Goat Trail. Foothills and canyons just outside the Coachella Valley cities of Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage and Cathedral City offer biking challenges year-round.
Drive the Palms to Pines Scenic Byway
Take your time to drink in all the beauty of the valley desert, wooded National Forest lands and the shores of a mountain lake. Start in Palm Desert at the National Monument Visitors Center where a guide can give you route information. Plan on approximately 60 miles and around three hours travel of time---or more if you stop at one of the small towns for lunch. The scenic byway drive ends back in the northern Coachella Valley town of Banning.
Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitors Center
51500 Highway 74
Palm Desert, CA 92260
Coachella Valley Preserve Hiking Trails
Watch for the little fringe-toed lizard, the creature that inspired the establishment of this community-supported preserve. Hike the trails through cacti and wildflowers, keeping an eye out for native birds and the occasional sidewinder snake. Parking and picnic spots are available, but the visitor center is closed in the heat of the summer from June through August.
Coachella Valley Preserve
29200 1000 Palms Canyon Road
Thousand Palms, CA 92276
Celebrate Southwestern Food and Art
Indulge in a bountiful harvest of dates---the sweet fruit of desert palms---at the Date Festival that's held each February in the central Coachella Valley town of Indio. Tantalize your taste buds with spicy southwestern food at Indio's early December Tamale Festival. In between, take time for the Southwest Arts Festival in January where established and emerging artists show their creations on the Empire Polo Club grounds.
Indio Chamber of Commerce
82-921 Indio Blvd.
Indio, CA 92201
Article Written By Denise Schoonhoven
A seasoned business traveler, Denise Schoonhoven specializes in food, travel, landscaping, design and personal development topics. She has lived and worked in London, San Francisco, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and the Pacific Northwest. Schoonhoven hails from the corporate writing world where she authored marketing material, catalogs, presentations and training documents.