Coachella Valley Preserve protects several oases in the desert near Thousand Palms and Palm Springs. While some require hikes of a couple miles through the desert, there are two that are just short hikes – Willis Palms and Hidden Palms.
The shortest way to Hidden Palms is via a trailhead on Washington Street (directions below). The trailhead is also where Covered Wagon tours begin, so the gate may or may not be open. If the gate is closed, park across the street, just don’t get stuck in the soft sand.
Squeeze through the gate and walk about a quarter of a mile up the road. At the trailhead, you’ll find the dinner barn, an old west “cemetery” with some humerous headstones and a few other items. Walk past this and you’ll find the trail/road to Hidden Palms.
The trail to Hidden Palm Oasis is an old road that the covered wagons use for tours. As you walk, enjoy the desert landscape, the rolling hills and the green palm trees in the distance. At some point, stop and turn around. Notice the road to the southeast. On one side, it’s desert preserve. On the other side, it’s packed with homes and trees.
It’s about a half mile walk from the trailhead to the oasis. Because this is the desert, there are no trees along the trail, so hike in the cooler months or come very early on the morning.
At the oasis, it’s time to explore. Walk through the trees. Notice how some have burned in fires, while others have been missed. Notice how some palm trees have thick skirts around the bottom, while others do not, depending on how long the palm fronds are. Look at the ground, can you see where flash floods have cut through the palm grove?
When you’re done exploring, return the way you came.
Check out more than 25 other great hikes in the Coachella Valley area.
Admission: Please consider a $5 donation per person.
Preserve’s website: http://coachellavalleypreserve.org/ Learn more about Covered Wagons tours: www.coveredwagontours.com/
Details: The hike from the trailhead to the Oasis is about one mile roundtrip with 40 feet of elevation gain. Add extra distance for exploring the oasis and if you have to hike the entrance road.
Directions: From I-70, exit Bob Hope Drive and turn north. Turn right/east on Varner Road. Drive about a half mile and turn left/north on Ramon Road. Take Ramon Road about 4.3 miles. At the turnoff for the Coachella Valley Preserve, don’t turn off. Stay on Ramon Road, which is now Washington Street. It’s about one mile from here to the trailhead on your left.