Indian Canyons – Palm Springs, California - Atlas Obscura

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Indian Canyons

Traversing these canyons, visitors can take in stunning views and glimpses of the region's history. 


From pastel deserts to dramatic mountains, the natural beauty of the Palm Springs area is strikingly diverse. That includes Indian Canyons, a series of dazzling canyons carved out of the foothills where the San Jacinto and Santa Rosa Mountains meet. From tall craggy rocks to a palm tree-lined oasis, the canyons hold an incredible range of landscapes.

The canyons are as rich with history as they are with stunning natural sights. The canyons are the ancestral home of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. An abundant water supply allowed people, plants, and animals to thrive within the canyons. In addition to the Agua Caliente Indian Reservation, other remnants of those communities can be seen throughout the canyons in the form of art, trails, and buildings, meaningful reminders of the Indigenous people of the region.

The variety of trails throughout the group of canyons also means there’s something for hikers of all experience and energy levels. If you’re looking to make a whole day of it, the 15-mile-long Palm Canyon boasts an elevation gain of over 3,000 feet and connections to a dozen offshoot trails that wind you in any direction you wish to head.

For the more modest hiker, Murray Canyon has three shorter hikes including Murray Trail, a 4-mile round-trip that features Murray Canyon Falls, a small but gorgeous waterfall that’s ideal for a rest stop.

And if your plan is for something more mellow, Andreas Canyon also offers three trails including the Andreas Canyon Trail. This trail is a one-mile loop that offers wondrous views of jagged rock formations and California Fan Palm trees in a quieter setting. It’s the perfect spot to catch your breath and reflect.

Know Before You Go

Remember, you’re in the desert and average high temperatures are above 80 degrees for a good part of the year. So be sure to bring plenty of water, even if you’re going on one of the shorter hikes.

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October 26, 2021

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