After being bound to more indoor activities in the heat of early October, it was refreshing to start taking advantage of the numerous hiking areas within minutes of downtown! Out of the 4 main Indian Canyons, Palm Canyon and Andreas Canyon were my favorite – picturesque, unique, and unexpected (as there are a variety of palm oases sprinkled throughout)!
Each of these canyons, along with much of the land in Palm Springs was settled centuries ago by the Agua Caliente tribe of the Cahuilla Indians. It was cool to see some of the history they left behind include numerous large mortars (used for grinding food) and very flat rocks used for tables. There are currently 400 of these Indians living in the Palm Spring area.
All of the canyons are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Taquitz Canyon (Sun, 11/15)|
I took a free ranger-guided hike through Taquitz Canyon and glad I did!
I think the most interesting thing about this hike is the legend behind it.
Taquitz was the first shaman created by Mukat, the Cahuilla’s God/creator of all things. Initially he was the guardian spirit of all shamans and used his power to do good within the tribe. However, he soon began to use his power to harm his people and they banished him to live in a mountain cave near present-day Taquitz Canyon. It is believed his spirit still lives in this canyon. Taquitz is also rumored to ‘steal’ or ‘eat’ your soul if you visit his canyon as numerous people have mysteriously disappeared and have died in the canyon. He is known for kidnapping a young woman, keeping her prisoner for some time, and then letting her go – she was found by the waterfall in the canyon with no recollection of the incident. The Cahuilla believe Taquitz can be seen as a large green fireball streaking across the night sky. Rumbling noises from the mountains and crashing boulders are attributed to Taquitz’s spirit.
The hike was somewhat challenging, and at the end we were rewarded with a 60 ft seasonal waterfall (saw a little trickle)!
Palm Canyon (Mon, 11/23)
15 miles long
Filled with indigenous California Fan Palm
Considered to be the largest California Palm Oasis in the world (yes, makes sense it’s in CA – ha ha!)
A virgin palm is one whose ‘skirt’ has not been trimmed – the virgin palms have snakes, rodents, insects, and birds taking shelter in them!
Living Desert Zoo and Gardens (Mon, 11/23)
I definitely hesitated to visit after just going to the San Diego Zoo. However the Living Desert Zoo does have quite a bit to offer, including beautiful natural desert backdrops and a large number of gardens.
Andreas Canyon (Tues, 11/24)
Could be my favorite hike in Palm Spring – short and sweet – and with some steps 🙂 It’s interesting to walk along the creek and be surrounded by palms and boulders, then you cross the creek and you are in a wide open area in the mountains with spectacular panoramic views of the palms and the Indian Canyon area.
Murray Canyon (Tues, 11/24)
Not as picturesque as the others, but longer and more challenging, especially at the end of the hike where ropes could have been in order! Lots of horseback riders come through here – I felt like I was in a western movie! Endangered bighorn sheep are rumored to roam through the craggy rocky cliffs here – but I didn’t spot any.
Our next hiking adventures will be at Joshua Tree National Park!