Indian Canyons visitors can explore a divine desert terrain that is characterized by water, plantlife, and traces of the Native American communities that settled in the area centuries ago. The ancestors of the Agua Caliente Cahuilla Indians were the prime settlers of the region, and they developed extensive communities in a variety of Palm Springs canyons. Tahquitz Canyon is just one of these canyons, and since it can be found within walking distance of town, it is among the most popular among tourists. All of the Palm Springs canyons have their charms, so you can expect to enjoy a positive experience regardless of which ones you choose to focus on.
Should you be staying at one of the Palm Springs hotels that are found in the downtown area, then Tahquitz Canyon will be within easy reach. The visitor center for this canyon is actually found at 500 W. Mesquite, which puts it just west of Palm Canyon Drive. Upon arrival at the visitor center, you can pay a fee to access the canyon trail. This trail is about a mile long and leads to a spectacular waterfall that is 60 feet tall. While hiking to the glorious waterfall at Tahquitz Canyon, you will ascend nearly 350 feet, and since the trail is steep and rocky for most of the way, having good balance and wearing the proper footwear are musts. Both self-guided hikes and small group hikes that are led by Rangers can be enjoyed. The Ranger-led tours don't cost extra, and should you be interested, they offer excellent insight into the Cahuilla culture and the relationship that it has with nature. The waterfall is seasonal, as the extremely hot summer months don't exactly support a healthy flow.
One of the other Palm Springs canyons that you might want to add to your agenda is Chino Canyon. For starters, this canyon near town is where you will find the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. This tramway climbs high into the San Jacinto Mountains, offering awe-inspiring views of Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley. Adding to the allure of Chino Canyon are the substantial springs, a relatively big stream, and a waterfall. The views at this canyon are among the best views in the region, as the desert floor offers a stark difference from the alpine atmosphere that reigns supreme in the upper reaches of the San Jacinto Mountains.
This is one of the Indian Canyons that can be found near Palm Springs, and as is true of the others, it offers plenty of scenic beauty. As the name implies, this fifteen-mile long canyon boasts many palm trees. These palms feed off of the canyon's stream, and provide excellent shade for streamside picnics. A relatively easy to handle path leads down to the stream, and this paved path can be used for hiking or horseback riding alike. Shopping is another thing that you can do at Palm Canyon. The Trading Post store and visitors center offers more than just hiking maps and refreshments. You can also pick up some Indian art and a variety of artifacts that relate to the Cahuilla tribe.
Of all the Indian Canyons, this one might just be the most peaceful. On average, it sees fewer visitors on than all of the other Palm Springs Canyons, though this does not mean that it should be overlooked. Part of the reason for its relatively secluded nature is the fact that it is connected to Andreas Canyon. The former offers easier hiking conditions and a lower elevation. Murray Canyon takes visitors higher into the beautiful San Jacinto Mountains, and since the trail is relatively difficult, it provides a good challenge. California fan palms mix with other desert vegetation at Murray Canyon, and there are numerous spots where hikers can break to relax. While hiking in this higher canyon zone, you might keep an eye out for the curious creatures that prefer high ground living. These creatures, which are often spotted above the canyon, include Peninsular big horn sheep and mule deer.
Andreas Canyon is quite literally an oasis in the desert. In many ways, it compares to the relatively lush environs of the Coachella Valley Preserve. The scenic foot trail that winds its way through the canyon is relatively easy to handle, and as you go, you might notice just how diverse the plants are. More than 150 different plant species can actually be found at Andreas Canyon, and these plants include California fan palms. Strange rock formations accentuate the lush terrain, and since the plants and trees attract birds, you might bring a pair of binoculars and do some birding. While not as tranquil as neighboring Murray Canyon, this canyon still manages to provide a very relaxed and calm setting.