The desert, an arid, dry, rocky land that expands across the horizon as far as the eye can see stretches across the Southern part of California surrounding the city of Palm Springs where the rather unknown Indians Canyons are formed which we only discovered due to the jeep tours for our family out to the more famous Joshua Tree National Park costing over $500.
The Indian Canyons would only cost us the taxi ride out and another $20 in entrance fees,this time there would be no jeep and the exploring would have to be done on foot. The Cahuilla, native Americans roamed the canyons for hundreds of years on the southwest edge of the Coachella Valley. It was perfect for them, hunting was made easy when the prey would come down for a drink by the streams flowing from the San Jacinto mountains. Oasis were formed with pockets of green fan palm trees, where native Americans made their homes. Food and water was in abundance.
In 1876 the Federal government divided the valley into a checkerboard. The Southern Pacific railway received odd numbered sections, while the even numbered sections were given to the Agua Caliente as their reservation. But boundaries were not established until 1940`s and by then much of the native american land had been built on.
What is amazing about the canyons are the contrasts in landscape from the rocky arid dry land with rocky cliffs and various cactai growing, to the canyon floor where there is a lush green oasis with fan palm trees and stream flowing along with thorny plants, here by the water you see a variety of birds flying around, a nice spot for the avid bird watcher.
The rocky cliffs are home to the big horn sheep and if you arrive early you can see the tracks that the animals have left when they have come down for a drink overnight. Hawks and other birds of prey soared overhead as we made the climb up the highest section of the hike.
There are various hiking trails for the public to enjoy, the more well known trails are the Murray Canyon,Andreas Canyon and the 15 mile Palm Canyons trail. We hlked along the Palm Canyon trail for about 2 miles, then switched to another trail that led up through the rocky cliffs offering you a chance to be exposed to both environments. The hike also led to the highest point of the cliff with splendid views of the Oasis floor down below and overlooking the city of Palm Springs. The track up through the cliffs loops back to the start of the trail where we witnessed three beautiful hummingbirds having a feed.
If its too costly for you to take a day tour to Joshua Tree National Park then the Indian Canyons make a fine alternative but don’t forget to bring your hiking shoes as jeeps don’t take you around this park.
Have you been to the Indian canyons near Palm Springs? We would love to hear what you thought of them.