Monday, October 26, 2009

Upper Palm Canyon


Anyone who has been to Palm Springs knows Palm Canyon Drive. It is the main drag in downtown and attracts more tourist traffic than any other street in the desert. Far fewer people are familiar with the canyon that gave that street its name and even fewer know the upper reaches of the canyon.

Visitors to the Indian Canyons, south of Palm Springs, can visit the largest palm oasis in North America for which the canyon was named. There are over three thousand palms and this section of Palm Canyon boasts many hiking opportunities. But this is only a small part of Palm Canyon. Palm Canyon is over eighteen miles long and reaches well into the mountains of the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto National Monument.

To get to the section of Palm Canyon that I explored today, you have to drive about twenty miles up Highway 74 to Ribbonwood and start there.

The Pines to Palms Trail is no misnomer. While there are no pines at the beginning of the trail, there are quite a few along the way.

From up here, at the 4000 foot level, you can see all the way down into the desert.

I think what I'll do today is go down to the canyon bottom, hike to Omstott Canyon and then come back up the ridge route.

The canyon bottom, like most things this time of year in the desert, is bone dry. Of course, that makes travel a little easier.

Along the trail is this gate since the upper reaches of this canyon are used as a grazing area for free range cattle. The Wellman Family has run cattle in this area going back generations.

I find a lot of odds things on my hike but I have no idea how this got way down here. There is no road even remotely close to where I am.

I check my time and determine that I really don't have time to make it down to Omstott Canyon and back before dark. I decide to take this ridge up to met the Ridge Trail instead. Hopefully, it's not too tough.

But first I have to make it through some of the brush down in the canyon. At this point I'm wishing I wore long pants.

From the ridge I am able to look down the canyon and I wish I had just a bit more time. I'll have to come back when I have the whole day. I think that might be sometime in 2015.

This section of the ridge worried my a bit when I was looking up at it but I'm able to go around it on the left. There even appears to be a bit of a trail up this ridge.

Maybe there was a trail here because this branch was sawn by someone. It just didn't break like this, in a perfect line.

Kahlua the Tracker also thinks there's a trail here somewhere.

There's no doubt about this trail.

We head out the cattle gate up here and wish we'd had more time to explore. There is a lot of terrain and history in this area and very few people go here other than just passing through.

It's so beautiful here so I'd like to come back sometime when we can stay a while.

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