Oases Near Palm Springs

I never saw Palm Springs as much of a worthwhile tourist destination, but when my parents were planning to rent a condo for a week, I started looking into things to do and saw mention of several different oases nearby. The idea of an oasis is intriguing to me, so I really enjoyed visiting these places.

The first one I’d already visited before on a previous trip to Joshua Tree, but it’s worth mentioning again because it’s the easiest to get to. You can drive right up to the Thousand Palms Oasis parking lot in the Coachella Valley Preserve and walk around as much as you’d like. The main oasis is a bit swampy and smelly, but there are other oases in the same vicinity that you can hike out to if you’re willing.

Palm trees at the Coachella Valley Preserve

The next two oases we visited were in the Indian Canyons area. There’s a per-person fee to enter the canyon, but there is a lot of potential hiking in here. We only did the two shortest/easiest hikes, though. The first being Andreas Canyon, which is a 1-mile loop where half the trail has you looking up at the trees and the other half looking down. It’s fun to see it from both angles, and the canyon wall is really picturesque here:

Palm trees in front of the Andreas Canyon cliffs

The second trail we did was Palm Canyon that starts farther in by the trading post. The Palm Canyon Trail is actually 15 miles long, but we only went as far as the Victor Trail junction a mile in, then turned around and came back. While the canyon walls here aren’t as striking as they are in Andreas Canyon, there is a chance you’ll see bighorn sheep along the way. We were lucky enough to catch a herd of about 10-15 sheep descending the mountain and crossing the trail right in front of us:

Bighorn sheep feeding in Palm Canyon

If we hadn’t seen the sheep on our trek, I would rate Andreas Canyon as the better trail. But both hikes together are only 3 miles, anyway, so do both! And if you have time for even more, the Murray Canyon trail looks like it’d be the next best one to hit.

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