Hike in Palm Canyon

Winter rains green the canyons

Today was another one of those sparkling, clear, fresh days that simply demands that one get out and do something. I chose to go for a hike in Palm Canyon, one of several Indian Canyons at the south end of Palm Springs on land owned by the Agua Caliente band of Cahuilla Indians. Three of the canyons are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. According to the brochure, "Palm Canyon has the most palm trees in the world; Andreas Canyon has the second most, and Murray Canyon is listed fourth."

Toll gate, approx. 3 miles south from the center of Palm Springs
I'm sure someone thought this was a good idea
View from the parking lot at the Trading Post, looking north back toward Palm Springs
View from the Trading Post, looking down into the picnic area and south into the Canyon

The palm trees in the canyons are California fan palms (Washingtonia filifera). In contrast to other varieties of palm trees, the dried fronds of the fan palm do not fall off, but hang down to create the distinctive "skirt". The trunks of many of the palms are blackened as a result of fires that have occasionally swept through the canyons.

Palm Canyon is said to be fifteen miles long. From the trading post, hiking trails follow the bottom of the canyon back into the hills or scale the canyon walls into the hinterlands. As is my wont, I took the path less traveled by and headed out on the West Fork Trail, taking care to avoid any close encouters of the rattlesnake kind. The trail climbs steeply at first, offering a good view of the palm trees that trace the canyon back into the hills.

Because of all the rain this winter, everything is green and wildflowers are blooming everywhere. Even the cacti and agave are in bloom. Just as I was about to photograph this fine specimen, a huge swarm of loudly-buzzing bees (killer bees?) flying south in close formation made a bee-line past me. Since I am terrified of bees, I was relieved that they took no interest in me.

There was not a lot of animal life to be seen, except for some camera-shy lizards and a few caterpillars. There was some evidence, however, that bigfoot had passed by.

Taking a break
Sitting on top of the world

Many more pictures are available in the photo galleries.