Palm Canyon is just one of the many parts of Indian Canyons park. The main canyon trail is considered a must-do hike for Palm Springs visitors.
Palm Canyon in the Indian Canyons is the world’s largest Washingtonia filifera (California Fan Palm) oasis. Giant California Fan Palms drink water from the occasional stream in this gorgeous desert, and rocky gorges provide perfect meditation and picnicking opportunities. Despite the limited rain supply, the desert is lush with 150 species of plants. If you get lucky, you may be able to spot the endangered Peninsular Big Horn Sheep.
As with the other parts of the Indian Canyons park, Palm Canyon is the historical home of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. The band built communities in the canyons, which are rich with water, plants, animal and arable soil. In this rich soil, members of the band grew melons, squash, beans, and corn and harvested plants for seeds, medicine, and woven baskets. The park is full of the remnants of Agua Caliente rock art, house pits, foundations, irrigation ditches, dams, reservoirs, trails and food preparation areas. The Trading Post gift shop at the park sells hiking maps, refreshments, Indian art and artifacts, books, jewelry, pottery, baskets and more.
The Palm Canyon hike is a three-mile loop that takes about 90 minutes. It descends into a creek bed before sloping back up to a high ridge. For those seeking a longer hike, you can follow the same trail for up to 15 miles to where it intersects with Highway 74 south of Pinon Pines.
How to Get to Indian Canyons
Take South Palm Canyon from Highway 111 and follow the signs for about two miles to the Indian Canyons tollgate. After you enter the canyons, continue on the main road about 2.5 miles to the Trading Post gift shop and pay your admission to the park. Follow the signs to your trails.