Tahquitz Canyon Loop Trail ~ Hike #1

Desert landscape, towering canyon walls, rock art, a flowing stream and a 50′ waterfall that I did not get to see.

This beautiful, warm December day in Palm Springs, CA, found me exploring the Tahquitz Canyon Loop Trail. This stunning 1.7 mile trail is one of the most beautiful areas of the Agua Caliente Indian Reservation. A visitor center is at the entrance to the canyon. It has educational and cultural exhibits, an observation deck, and apparently a theater room for viewing The Legend of Tahquitz Canyon. Due to Covid, most of this was not open on this particular day. I was only able to pay my $12.50 to get in, and go hike the trail. Yes, there is a fee for this short hike. They did give you a map of the area and there are guided tours. I opted to do the hike by myself.

The trail started off with a little hike up a path, and you were faced with beautiful, towering canyon walls surrounding most of the area. Off to the right, you could see downtown Palm Springs in the distance. Being a desert lover, the scenery took my breath away. To me there is nothing better, than a hike through a gorgeous desert. I was in hiking heaven.

The trail wound around boulders and a stream, art rock and a vast array of beautiful desert plants. There are various points of interest on the trail. My favorite was the beautiful, huge sacred rock. Really incredible to see. There are some stream crossings, with bridges. This is a heavily tracked trail, and it being a Sunday, there were many people out there exploring and enjoying the water.

As I hiked up the trail, I looked up at the massive canyon wall to my right. Tall enough to make me feel quite small next to it. There is no shade on this trail and I also had a short time frame to get this hike done, so I picked up my pace and started cruising through the canyons as fast as I could, yet still taking the time to take in all of the beauty.

Most years California gets minimal rain, so sometimes waterfalls can be pretty dry. I’ve been at Yosemite Falls where it was barely a trickle, and also when it’s been raging. So I never quite know what to expect when I go looking for a waterfall in the desert. There was a lovely stream along the trail, that seemed to be promising that the waterfall would have a good amount of water in it.

I looked at the time and noticed that I had to think about turning around, and heading back. I kept going further a bit more. This was only a 1.7 mile hike, so I had to be close. I rounded a corner and found a group of people gazing over what I thought was the waterfall we were all looking for. Taking their selfies and pictures of the waterfall, I looked at it and was a bit disappointed. It was more of a trickle. Oh well. Maybe I’ll come back in the spring after we get some rain, and it’ll be a little more exciting.

Apparently, this was not the waterfall that I could have seen. Tahquitz Falls was just a little bit further up. A 50 foot thing of beauty and I missed it. Well, I guess that just means I will need to head back there for hike #2 and I’m looking forward to it.

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