Just a few miles outside the city of Palm Springs is a magical little oasis called Indian Canyons. This expansive park has hiking, canyons, rivers, waterfalls, horseback riding trails, huge boulders, picnic spots and tons of fan California fan palm trees (many of which you’ve probably seen on Instagram!)
In this post, I’m sharing must-know tips for hiking Indian Canyon Palm Springs before you go, along with here to find all the Instagram-famous spots for yourself. Let’s go!
Indian Canyons Palm Springs At A Glance
Hours: 8am-5pm (only on weekends in the summer)
Admission: $9 per adult, cards accepted
Dog Friendly: No
Bathrooms: Yes – porta-potties at parking lots
History of Indian Canyons & The Agua Caliente Band Of Cahuilla Indians
First things first — Indian Canyons is on the Palm Springs Indian reservation of the Agua Caliente Band Of Cahuilla Indians and if you choose to visit this park, please give the land respect and love. The Cahuilla people called the greater Palm Springs area at the base of the San Jacinto mountains home for thousands of years, and are the stewards of Indian Canyons.
As you can tell from the plural “canyons”, there’s more than one canyon in this 30,000+ desert reservation. Long ago, the Agua Caliente people built communities in each of these canyons which still hold their name today, though are now popular hiking trails instead of small villages. They are called:
- Andreas Canyon Trail (the one pictured in this post)
- Palm Canyon Trail
- Murray Canyon Trail
You can see still find remnants of this history throughout Indian Cayons via the trading post, rock art, house pits, and food preparation areas, though if you want to learn more about the Natives, head to the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum.
Which Is The Best Indian Canyons Trail To Hike & Visit?
Well, they’re all beautiful and fun in their own way. If you are keen on getting a deep dive in person I suggest joining in on a ranger-led tour hike. But, here’s a quick run-down on the 4 popular canyon trails.
Andreas Canyon Palm Springs Trail
Length: 1 mile round trip hike
If you only have time for one Palm Springs hike, make it Andreas Canyon Loop. That the canyon featured in all these photos! This trail is great — it’s an easy 1 mile trail leads alongside Andreas creek and under palm trees, which keeps it cool for hot days. You’ll hike under a tall cliff and it really feels like you’re deep in the desert. I think this is the best Indian Canyon hike Palm Springs can offer when you aren’t looking for something too long or hard!
Make sure to stop by the grove of palm trees in the parking lot which is one of the Instagram-famous spots. Make sure to cross the little bridge and walk to the back of the lot to the picnic areas. Here you’ll find an open space (without cars) to take photos!
Palm Canyon Palm Springs
Length: 2 miles round trip hike
Now THIS is where that mega-Instagram famous grove of fan palms lives! Trees twist and curve low enough to the ground you can sit atop them. I’ve never seen anything like it before. Break out your flowy maxi dresses for this one!
Palm canyon hike is similar to Andreas but longer. The trail leads alongside Palm Canyon Creek under shade but eventually switches to full sun, so be prepared for that. Find the Victor Trailhead here at Palm Canyon — it’s horse-friendly and there’s also swimming pools at the end to jump into!
Murray Canyon Palm Springs
Length: 3.7 miles round trip
This trail features tons of rock formations leading up to Seven Falls, a stunning waterfall that you can hop into if you want to swim or cool off! The first part of this trail is all in full sun, and eventually, you’ll end up with some shade as you near the waterfall. You will have to cross a lot of streams on this trail, so bring waterproof boots if you can. It’s one of the more popular Indian Canyon hikes because of the swimming.
Tahquitz Canyon Palm Springs
Tahquitz Canyon Loop Trail leads you to a large 60 foot waterfall with a huge pool below for swimming. This canyon trail is part of the reservation land but has a different entrance and separate ticketing fee. It’s worth the extra driving, though!
Indian Canyons Palm Springs: Essential Hiking Tips For This Desert Oasis
Now that you know what trail you want to go to, these are the must-know things to be aware and prep ahead to time to make sure you have a safe and fun visit to Indian Canyons in Palm Springs!
The Visitor Center Has More Accurate Answers To Questions
We learned the hard way that the attendants at the front gate of Indian Canyons don’t always have the best knowledge of trails. They’re incredibly nice, will give you a trail map, and will be great for basic questions, but if you have nitty-gritty questions about trails or anything, it’s best to go to the visitor center.
ALWAYS Bring Extra Water
Hiking Palm Springs should always mean you have extra water on hand, even if you are hiking in the winter, but especially if you are coming in the summer. We hiked Andreas Canyon in early March and even though it didn’t get much above 73, we all went through our water much after then we thought. It felt warmer while hiking, and the air is dry down here. Keep extra water in the car, there aren’t pumps to refill in the park.
Arrive At Opening Time If Hiking In The Summer
I’ll be real with you — hiking in Indian Canyons (or anywhere in Palm Springs) in the dead of summer sound like hell. I mean, it’ll literally be burning above 100 degrees on the rocks. But, if you’re set on a hike, make sure you visit right at opening time at 8am to get back before the temps sore too high.
May-September will be hot hot hot. April and October will also be warm, but cooler. November-March is wintertime and usually mild (sometimes even cold) and the best month to hike if you don’t like heat.
Watch For Rattlesnakes
Always keep your eyes on the trail ahead of you, and places you might put your hands!
Bring A Picnic Lunch For After Your Hike
Pack a cooler in your car full of sandwiches, drinks and snacks. After your hike, wander over to a picnic table (they’re near the parking lots) and treat yourself to a little lunch!!
Always Leave No Trace
As with any outdoor activity, always practice Leave No Trace. This means not leaving any trash on the trails and picking up any trash others left. It also means being kinds to nature — aka, no stepping on flowers or harassing local wildlife. Leave the trails better than you found them so you can enjoy their beauty again in the future!
My Favorite Palm Springs Hotels
Planning a whole trip to Palm Springs? You’re in luck – some of the coolest hotels in California are here in Palm Springs! My favorite luxury hotel is Parker Palm Springs (think Alice in Wonderland meets California cool.) The Ace Hotel is another fun spot with a really cool pool. Lastly, the Korakia is another favorite!
Other Fun Things To Do In The Greate Palm Springs Area
- Palm Springs Aerial Tram: Stunning views of the valley from the top of the mountain!
- Moorten Cactus Garden: An Instagram-famous cactus garden that sells plants, too!
- Palm Springs Door Tour: Palm Springs is known for colorful doors and I rounded up all the best ones for you to see!
- Desert X: A Palm Springs Art Show around Coachella Valley that happens every other year.
- Day Trip To Joshua Tree National Park: Just an hour away from Palm Springs is one of my most favorite National Parks in the state!
There are more Palm Springs hikes but Indian Canyon is my favorite. Go Hike Andreas Canyon, stop by Palm Canyon for photos and if you’re really up for it, a long day hike to that waterfall.
I hope this helps you plan some awesome hikes in Palm Springs! Indian canyons palm springs is my favorite place to wander around and hike, especially on a warm day as it’s so nice to dip my feet in the streams to cool off.
If you have any tips to add, drop a comment below so everyone can see! Got questions? Comment or DM me on Instagram @thewhimsysoul and I’ll be happy to help!