Palm Desert in July '99
I drove to Palm Desert,
CA from Laguna Hills, CA on Hwy 73 over Ortega Hwy through Elsinore.
This is the view when I came over the mountain and saw the desert.
The air felt like a blast furnace. It was about noon and the temperature
was about 103 F in Palm Desert.
This is the MiraMonte Resort on
Hwy 111 in Indian Wells where I stayed. The hotel and the
grounds are very nice. The resort is located next to a giant
This is the evening sky
outside my hotel room.
An evening sunset from hotel.
The week that I as there,
there were many clouds and it was more humid than usual. This was
the hills just before you get to the La Quinta Resort and Spa, in
La Quinta, CA.
Another image of the hills by the La
Quinta Resort and Spa.
At the end of my week of work there, I decided to take a day to
play and discover a little about the desert. I like to hike, so
the concierge at the MiraMonte suggested a few places. The one that
I chose was an area called Indian Canyons. It is located just south
of Palm Springs off of Hwy 111 at the end of South Palm Canyon Drive.
Any one can point you in the right directions. I got there just
before 8:00 am when the park opens and waited about 15 minutes only
to find that I had to have cash to get in. I turned around and went
back to town to a cash machine. When I returned, I went to Palm
Canyon first since from the brochure, it looked like the nicest.
"The canyon is 15 miles long and one of the great beauty spots
in Western North America", according to the brochure.This is
a photo of me standing in the road that you had to pass through
to get to Palm Canyon. It is a very narrow passage, although a medium
size motor home did make it passed, inspite of a sign advising to
This is looking into the first
palm area. You will notice that the palms in these canyons
grow due to year round water. Like an oasis. Underground springs
feed these streams.
In a small canyon looking up at the cliffs.
In these canyons, one
one trims the dead frons from the palms so they look like they
have figures and sometimes like skirts. There was no real water
in this part of the canyon. It was a little damp, but no running
This is looking back further
into the canyon. Just to the right of where this picture is taken
there is a gift and Indian craft shop.
Here in the other part of this
same canyon, there was a little water running in the stream
that looked like it may be a stream of 5-7 feet wide in the
Because there is very little activity or visitors this time of the
year, it is wonderful to hear the sound of the water in the stream.
It is cool in the shade of the palms. There were thousands of palms
and other vegetation in these oasis canyons.
On my way to Andreas Canyon, I stopped at what appeared to be
a gas station at one time (above). In the background you can see
what must have been the restrooms, they were plumbed as such.
An interesting view out the window toward Palm Springs (left).
A detail of the window frame that has not seen glass in a long
As I approached Andreas Canyon,
I could really see the contrast of the palms against what
appeared to be a completely dry and lifeless hillside covered
with nothing but rocks. As you will see this is not the case
When I got to the parking lot of Andreas Canyon, I was able to find
a place in the shade, mostly due to there was only about 5 other
cars there. I was going to go into Murray Canyon, which was mentioned
in the brochure as the least traveled of the canyons, when I saw
a sign for a trail to an abandon mine. I was intrigued and decided
to go there instead. I made sure that I had plenty of water, since
the sign said the trail was about 3.8 miles and it had an elevation
climb of about 2000 ft..
As I walked along the trail I discovered
lots of small and large plants growing in among the rocks.
I guess the moisture that gets trapped in around the rocks
was enough for some of the plants. Here is a sampling or what
Detail of the cactus on the left (right).
From my hike I could look back
and see the oasis of Andreas Canyon and Palm Springs in the
background. The photos below are Andreas Canyon beyond what
visitors can see by going into the canyon. These were taken
from on the trail about 500-800 ft. about the canyon. The
right photo is a closer shot of the left. If you look closely
at the right photo, you can see a water falls to the right
of the two lightest rocks about 2/3rds down the photo. The
falls looked like it dropped about 30-50 ft. and had a lot
of water in it.
As I climbed to the top, there
were no markers on the trail to let me know how far I had
come or how far it was to the mine. It was getting very hot
and my water supply was running low. I had to find shelter
from the sun at rock outcroppings. Finding shade was not easy
and once I had lay under a rock not much larger than me that
gave me only about 3 inches of clearance for my body to fit
under it. I had to lay flat on my back.
I never did make it all the way
to the mine. I figured that I was somewhere around 3/4 to
4/5 there when I decided to return to the canyon. When I reached
my car I was out of water and exhausted. I did not realize
how much so until I sat in my car and drank another 3/4 bottle
of water and than immediately fell asleep for about 45 minutes.
When I woke, I decided to take a walk there in Andreas Canyon
along the stream, which I did not know existed till I walked
a little way into the canyon.
Along the stream there are a number
of places to get wet. At the end of the canyon there is a
little falls (18-24") and a small pool between two large
boulders and I took off my clothes and sat in the water. It
was very refreshing.
This is an example of what
the stream looks like along the way up the canyon to the end. The
pictures you saw earlier of the back end of the canyon are not accessible
by walking back the canyon. It is private property and there is
a fence and signs posted "No Trespassing."
More of an idea of what
the canyon walls and the palms look like.
The air is very cool and
fresh smelling all along the stream.
The formations of the rocks vary with
every step you take.
Looking back into the canyon
from the parking lot.
Some of the rock outcroppings,
like this one, are spectacular! There is evidence of earthquake
action all over these hills.
Looking from the parking
lot back toward Palm Springs. When I left the canyons, it was about
108 F and I headed back across the hills to Laguna Hills,
CA. about 3:30 p.m. I had a wonderful time. I have no idea of what
the desert is like in the winter, I just know that whenever you
get to the Palm Springs area, you must venture to the Desert Canyons
for a visit. Oh yea, take plenty of water.
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