The Indian Canyon area of Palm Springs is the ancestral home of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, who lived along the creek that runs through the canyons and used the water to grow their crops. The area is still part of the Agua Caliente Indian Reservation, and it is home to the largest California Fan Palm oasis in the world. Hiking here is a pretty magical experience as you can walk for miles without leaving the shade of the palm trees, something you would never expect to see in the desert of Palm Springs. Here is all the information on the two most popular trails so that you can check them out as well.
- $12 per person to entire the area
- Dozens of miles of hiking trails, but these two hikes are 3 miles total and around 500 feet of elevation.
- Very hot in the summer, even in the shade
- Location: 38520 S Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92264
From Downtown Palm Springs, you will take South Palm Canyon towards the mountains. Note the bend where South Palm Canyon leave from East Palm Canyon and continues south. After 3 miles, you will arrive at the pay station and can pay your fee to enter the park.
Once in the park, you will see signs that direct you to Palm Canyon and Andreas Canyon; here is the information on both. Also, on the way to Palm Canyon you can see the Split Rock in the photo above.
Andreas Canyon is a great family-friendly hike at only a mile round trip and about 100 feet of elevation gain.
The trail begins next to a remarkable rock formation called pride rock and next to some bedrock mortars historically used to grind food.
The trail then continues under the palms and along the Andreas Creek.
The trail was stunning, with a good amount of water in late April and lots of shade.
The official website states there are over 150 species of plants in this half-mile area, and I wouldn’t doubt it.
Eventually, the trail reaches a locked gate for the Andreas Club, and you can either head back the way you came or head up a little on a path that looks across towards the palm.
There is no shade on this path, but it is nice to see the palm oasis from both ways.
You will eventually make it back to your car and can continue to Palm Canyon.
Palm Canyon is a longer trail, especially if you take the Victor Trail, which takes you up to look down on the oasis.
We started the trail by heading down into Palm Canyon and walking among the palms.
You can walk over a mile from here without leaving the tree’s shade.
It is an excellent hike for a family as it is shaded and has a nice creek you are walking along. I can’t wait to bring my young twins back to this trail.
We just walked through the canyon and enjoyed all of the views.
Seeing the massive collection of palms reflected in the creek is beautiful.
The trail will split with the Victor Trail at the one-mile mark. You can take this trail or head back through the canyon you came up.
The Victor Trail leaves the canyon quickly with a decent elevation gain (over 300 on this portion of the trail).
I enjoyed making this a loop as the elevation gain gave you some stunning views down into the Palm Canyon area from above.
The trail goes along the ridgeline with some good drop-offs on one side, looking over the oasis.
Note that there is no shade on this portion of the trail, so you will want to avoid it in the heat of the summer.
As you make it back to the parking area, the trail adds about a quarter-mile as it winds its way back.
You don’t have to go back this way, but I enjoyed making it a loop and seeing more of the canyon.
These are just a few of the popular short trails in the area, but there are dozens more if you want to see more of Indian Canyons. Let me know what your favorite spot is in the comments, and you can see more Palm Springs recommendations here.