It’s no secret that Palm Springs is home to some of the most beautiful desert scenery in that nation, and Tahquitz Canyon in Palm Springs is one of the area’s natural gems. Located in the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians Reservation, it’s full of the tribe’s rich cultural history and the stunning sights. If you’d like to experience the beauty firsthand, you can spend a morning or afternoon hiking the Tahquitz Canyon Trail and immersing yourself in the desert landscape!
Visit the Tahquitz Canyon in Palm Springs
As the native legend goes, Tahquitz was a powerful shaman crafted by Mukat, the creator of everything. In the beginning, Tahquitz utilized his powers for the good of the people, but over time grew ill intent and used his gifts for selfish purposes. The Cahuilla people then banished him to the canyon, which is how it obtained its name, and today it is said that his spirit remains in the Indian Canyons in Palm Springs. On the hiking trail through the canyon, you’ll encounter many cultural points of interest, including Sacred Rock, one of the oldest Cahuilla village sights with bedrock mortars and where pictograph rock art can still be seen.
The trail itself ends in a spectacular sight of Tahquitz Falls, a rushing 60-foot waterfall pouring over magnificent canyon rocks. It begins at the Visitor’s Center, where you’ll find a collection of artifacts on display, an elevated deck for views of the Tahquitz Canyon in Palm Springs, and a short film on The Legend of Tahquitz Canyon. From there, it’s a 1.8-mile trail to the falls, and a gain in 350 feet elevation. It can be considered a strenuous hike, but you can also take your time getting there! You’ll see an abundance of plant life along the way, and maybe even catch a glimpse of a desert creature or two!
From October to the beginning of July, you can enjoy the trail any day of the week, and July through September, it’s exclusively open on weekends. The hours are 7:30 AM to 5 PM, and there is a small admission fee for the trail. You can also go along on a ranger-led hike free with your admission, though the departure times vary depending on the season. Make sure to dress appropriately and bring plenty of water!
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