Thursday, May 14, 2009

Recommended With Reservations


Today I went on what is probably my favorite easy hike in the Palm Springs area. There are some days when you just need to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature without really pushing it and on those days, Andreas Canyon is a great place to go.

Andreas Canyon is in the Palm Springs Indian Canyons, on the Agua Caliente Indian reservation, and is a great place to take the whole family to go for a fun outing. The only drawback about going to the Indian Canyons is that it is relatively expensive for a hiking destination. Admission is $8.00 per adult and $4.00 per kid, up to 12 years old. That is for one day from 8-5. Compare that to Joshua Tree, which is $15.00 per carload (up to six people) for a week.

Even the annual pass is expensive. It costs $75 per person. A National Park annual pass costs $80 and it covers every National Park in the United States and National Forest Lands as well. Again, that's for a carload of people, not just one.

Despite the unreasonable admission fee, I kick down the money a couple of times a year just because the beauty of the area makes it almost worth it.

When you enter the Indian Canyons, you make a right at the first road and get a view of the palm oasis at Andreas Canyon and the San Jacintos towering overhead. Antsell Rock is the large rock at the top of the picture and the Apple Canyon Saddle is to its left. That is where I was on Tuesday.

Near the parking area, there is a large granite boulder which has several bedrock mortars. This sign tells you about the history of the area.

There are several mortars just like this one on this rock.

It is easy to see why this area was chosen. It is right near a mesquite bush, which was a staple of the Cahuilla diet.

As you leave the parking area and hit the trail you follow a flowing stream. This stream is fed by snowmelt and springs and flows year round.

You also hike through this mesquite thicket. Watch out for the branches: mesquite bushes have sharp spines.

There are also large cliffs overlooking a good portion of this hike.

As you make your way up the canyon, you come upon a fence and you get a good view of several rock houses up on the hill beyond Andreas Canyon.

There is a sign to tell you what it's all about. A lot of people think those houses belong to the Indians but they do not.

After the sign, you cross over a bridge and go over an elevated area to head back to the parking area.

On the way back, you hike above the canyon and have nice views of the cliffs.

Looking back you can see just how many homes are up at the Andreas Club and what a nice setting it is. If I could live any place in Palm Springs, this would be it.

I don't go to the Indian Canyons much but when I do I always am impressed by the beauty. I recommend it to visitors and think for locals it is worth at least one trip a year. But bring a lunch and spend the whole day. You might as well get your money's worth.

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