A dry heat, bounty of palm trees, and kitschy art scene might describe a lot of cities. But only one place can also boast being the favorite vacation spot of Hollywood elite and the permanent home of the likes of Frank Sinatra: Palm Springs. If you want to live like Ol’ Blue Eyes for a short while, make your way to the California city and stay in one of its fine resorts. From getting a mud mask treatment to enjoying elaborate drag runway shows, things to do in Palm Springs certainly span the gamut of interests.…
Adventures in Palm Springs
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Begin your day by heading to Stoney Point Park, also known as Chatsworth Formation, to meet up with your professional guide for a morning session. You spend time going over essential skills for a climber, such as basic knots, belaying and commands, finding grips on the face of the rock, and learning how to rappel down. With all the necessary gear in hand, including a harness, helmet, and climbing shoes, you head to a route ideal for beginners to the sport.
Continue practicing your skills on a variety of routes and try out more challenging climbs as you feel comfortable. Your instructor provides support and tips to help you to improve. End your day feeling proud of your effort and accomplishments. Read More close
Rendezvous with your expert guide at Joshua Tree National Park and hike a short distance to the climbing location while admiring the serene surroundings. Before the action begins, you get a safety overview, learn basic knots, how to belay, and review tips and techniques from an experienced instructor. Then put on your climbing shoes, helmet, and harness, ready to put it all into practice.
You have plenty of time to work on your new skills and try out routes of varying difficulty. After a few hours pushing yourself to new limits, conclude the lesson feeling challenged and accomplished after an exhilarating day on the rocks. Read More close
From busy streets to dirt roads, head out of the city and into the wild as you're picked up in a comfortable SUV and head toward the canyons near Coachella Valley. Make your first stop in the shadow of the Chiriaco Summit and hear stories about how General Patton prepared his soldiers for combat in Africa in the nearby red rock canyons.
Continue on, watching for the dusty shells of native desert tortoises, which can live up to 80 years in this harsh and beautiful environment. Rumble along the Bradshaw Trail nearby, and listen to your guide explain its long and storied history. Originally an old stage coach road established by Gold Rush-era miners, the trail now skirts the edge of a gunnery range used by the Navy and Marine Corps. Stay on the correct side of the road and you're sure to get back to your starting point safe and sound! Read More close
Get ready for a fun-filled adventure as you meet your guide, get kitted out, and hop on your all-terrain mountain bike. When you're comfortable, set off to explore the craggy terrain where cars are rarely encountered.
As you pedal down the dips in the desert, appreciate the stark beauty of the California outback. Meander between the Colorado and Mojave deserts, descending a total of 1,200 feet (366 m) as you wind your way through narrow rocky walls at Box Canyon.
Make sure to take some stunning photographs at the Salton Sea, a saline rift lake, before continuing on the trail past natural attractions such as Mt. San Jacinto, the All-American Canal, and the eastern Coachella Valley. Your relaxing yet rewarding route finishes at the Oasis Date Gardens. Read More close
Start the day by meeting your guide at Joshua Tree Visitor Center's Parking Lot. Go on a short hike through the desert landscape, noticing the namesake trees surrounding you, and arrive at your first climbing site. The expert instructor gives a brief safety overview and you get outfitted with the necessary equipment, including a helmet, harness, and climbing shoes. Your day is made easier without the need for knots or belaying, instead just clipping into the top ropes to get started.
With plenty of hours to explore the numerous climbing routes, you feel challenged and accomplished with each effort as you increase your skills. Take breaks as needed to stay hydrated and re-energize with a bit of trail mix and lunch. Head home at the end of your adventure for some well-deserved rest and recovery. Read More close
Meet your guide and the rest of your group at Joshua Tree Visitor Center's Parking Lot. Once you're geared up, follow your expert instructor through a series of lessons that teach you how to escape belay, use an auto-locking device to ascend and aid an injured or fallen climber, and return both of you safely to the ground.
From friction hitches for slings to auto-block knots, Bowering systems to tandem rappelling, this lesson shows you what it takes to become a hero on the slopes. Finish up with a new level of knowledge and preparedness to take on your next climb with confidence. Read More close
Make your way to Joshua Tree Visitor Center's Parking Lot to meet up with your guide. The expert instructor provides a brief orientation to review fundamental safety tips and techniques for a successful day of climbing. Gather the provided equipment, including your harness, helmet, climbing shoes, and head out on a short hike to the best routes for your experience level.
On this outing, there is no need for knots, belaying, or commands. You easily clip into one of the designated top ropes and begin climbing. Your attentive guide provides as much or as little assistance as you need to feel comfortable and to improve your skills. Read More close
Meet your guide at the Joshua Tree Visitor Center's Parking Lot, where you gear up and start scaling the remarkable landscape around you. Professional instructors are on hand with attentive, personal guidance to help you build on the fundamentals of safe rock-climbing techniques and handling the belay at the bottom of the cliff.
As the day goes on, you can practice several new knots and methods for setting up top-rope anchor systems. Finish up with the knowledge you need to evaluate safe climbing areas, build and remove anchors, and rappel with confidence the next time you want to scale the outdoors. Read More close
Get started by greeting your guide at the Joshua Tree Visitor Center's Parking Lot, where you meet your group and gear up with the help of your expert instructors. With their guidance and the safety of a mock lead, you learn how to lead sport routes, clip gear, lead belay, protect from a leader fall, manage your rope, and plan your route.
Once you've learned the secrets of sport climbing, from the safety and fundamentals to rope finding, movement, and communication, end the lesson feeling ready to take on the spectacular rocks with well-earned expertise. Read More close
Get started at the Joshua Tree Visitor Center's Parking Lot, where you gear up and get to know your instructor and fellow climbers. Over the course of the class, you can rely on the safety of a top rope and mock lead as you learn to teach how to lead trad routes, place and remove pro, clip gear, use slings, lead belay, protect from a leader fall, manage your rope, plan your route, and more.
From the fundamentals, safety instruction, and organizing your rack to climbing movement and communication, this lesson opens the door to an incredible climbing experience. Finish up with some new insight and the knowledge you need to take on the slopes with confidence. Read More close
Climb aboard the authentic military Hummer to start your adventure into the desert; where others have to turn back, this specialty vehicle climbs into the canyons of the San Andreas Fault. Visit Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve, the 3rd largest oasis in the world as you venture into the grove of giant California fan palms.
Then, stroll through the oasis on a 30-minute eco-walk and hear the stories and history of the Cahuilla Indians. Then, your 4x4 adventure continues along an old gold-mine trail that rises 4,000 feet (1,220 m) above the desert floor.
Before your tour concludes, travel to Eureka Peak through an area known as the largest and oldest in the park. See the Joshua trees standing as tall as 49 feet (15 m) with roots that can reach 36 feet (11 m) into the ground. During the mid-19th century, Mormon settlers named these trees, which reminded them of the biblical story where Joshua reached his hands up to the sky in prayer.
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After convenient pickup from your Palm Springs or Palm Desert hotel, travel in your air-conditioned vehicle to the spectacular natural formations of Joshua Tree National Park. Upon arrival, you can immediately appreciate the park's namesake trees, and take some photographs of the branches that coil up into tight bunches.
Hop out of your vehicle and revel in the informative exhibits at the Visitor's Center, where your local guide details the park's unique flora and fauna while providing a rundown of the spectacular features you are about to witness.
Marvel as you ride through rocky trails twisted between rugged canyons and sheer rock walls. Spot wildlife native to the area, including quick roadrunners and red-spotted toads, darting between the geological masterpieces at Hidden Valley. Enjoy a relaxed walk through nature or take a look at the memento-filled gift shop to complete your tour.
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Leave from the sun-soaked valley around Palm Springs and enjoy a scenic drive in a comfortable and air-conditioned tour van. Watch for the first appearance of the park's namesake trees, whose stiff palm-like leaves grow in tight bunches at the ends of stout branches.
At the Visitor's Center, check out immersive exhibits that chronicle the area's flora and fauna, and listen to your guide as they point out the park's most famous landmarks and features. Snap photos of the rocky terrain, and meander down leisurely paths to find new vantage points and more tranquil desert scenes. Along the way, keep your eyes peeled for wildlife, including fleet-footed roadrunners and red-spotted toads.
Stop by the gift shop on your way out of the park, or while away the extra time with a quick nature walk in the Hidden Valley or to Keys View, both ideal ways to end your Joshua Tree National Park experience. Read More close
Meet up with your guide in Palm Desert or get picked up from your hotel, snag a seat in a rugged jeep, and buckle your seatbelt for the 4-wheel-drive adventure out into the desert of the Coachella Valley. Listen to your guide describe the geological features formed by the active earthquake fault system as you wind your way through spectacular slot canyons and ancient fossil beds.
Weave through labyrinthine rock tunnels, and stop to see interpretive exhibits that bring the landscape's geological history life. Stretch your legs with a guided nature walk around the boardwalks of the Thousand Palms Oasis, a paradise of green fan palms that thrive thanks to water that seeps up through the San Andreas fault from an underground aquifer.
Make your way to an overlook just in time to watch the sunset paint the surrounding rocks in shadowy hues and fiery colors. Once darkness settles in, enjoy views of the night sky uncontaminated by light pollution from the city. Your guide points out the constellations scattered across the starry canvas before driving you back to town. Read More close
Meet your guide in sun-soaked Palm Springs and prepare for an exciting off-road adventure as you ride to your destination in a comfortable all-terrain vehicle. Keep an eye out as you arrive in the trails of a wilderness zone known for its spectacular rock formations created entirely by nature.
Once you reach the most colorful portion of the San Andreas Fault, marvel at the sheer rock faces, monumental geological specimens, and stunning native desert plants, and keep an eye out for some local wildlife. Follow your expert guide on a walk through the middle of the magnificent rock formations, or stay in the jeep and just admire the view. After the incredible adventure winds down, head back to your hotel. Read More close
Your private ride starts with convenient transportation from your hotel, leaving you plenty of time to discuss your ideal itinerary as you drive with your guide for the day. Perfect for seasoned veterans and biking rookies, this tour allows you to choose between challenging climbs and leisurely cruises.
Arrive at your destination, don a helmet, and get fitted with your bike as you put the finishing touches on your planned route. When you're ready, put your feet to the pedals and get your legs pumping. Roll down dusty trails and over smooth stretches of rock, keeping watch for the desert tortoises, foxes, and lizards that call this environment home.
Throughout the day, enjoy breaks spent snapping photos and getting riding advice from your expert guide. Practice steep climbs, narrow turns, and controlled stops on sandy surfaces so you can end your tour with honed skills and great memories. Read More close
Meet up with your guide in Joshua Tree, a mecca for the global rock climbing community. Whether you're a climbing pro or brand new to the sport, your guide can help you get situated and comfortable with all the equipment and information you need before getting started.
Slip into a harness and get ready to put your vertigo to the test as you learn all the skills to lower yourself down a vertical wall backwards. Do as many rappels as possible to get totally comfortable with the equipment and the sensation, and pose for plenty of pictures with the rugged terrain of the national park as your backdrop. Read More close
Led by your expert geology guide, trained at the Desert Institute, venture far from where you can go on your own. In a military Hummer H1, take a goldmine trail and encounter some of the oldest canyons on the planet—more than 2 billion years old and the same age as the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Here, you get to see historic gold mining areas and enter a place time has forgotten.
With special equipment and permits, this excursion leads you higher into the canyons of the San Andreas Fault than other tours. Along the way, stop at the third largest oasis in the world, dotted with palm trees, and walk on a bridge straddling the San Andreas Fault. Enjoy some free time out of the Hummer to snap photos of the majestic scenery. Read More close
After a convenient pickup from your hotel, set off on a 4-wheel-drive adventure to the private Metate Ranch, which lies within the San Andreas Fault zone. Explore the skeleton of the earth as you walk through this tortured and twisted terrain. As you step on lava-carved landscapes, your guide describes the geology of this mysterious area.
Trek between the steep walls of deep canyons that were created by the powerful forces of plate tectonics, water, wind, and time. Then, explore a natural palm oasis, where crystal-clear water bubbles up from the underground aquifer.
As you travel, learn about the culture and lifestyle of the Cahuilla Indians and how they used the desert’s plants for food, medicine, tools, weapons, and shelter. Before your tour ends, you also get insight into the plants and animals found in the Coachella Valley while you hear about its fascinating history. Read More close
Once you've been picked up from your hotel, journey to a natural palm oasis, explore spectacular box and slot canyons, and view an ancient fossil bed as your Jeep winds its way through the incredible labyrinth of geological cuts and canyons of the San Andreas Fault zone.
As the sun sets, witness the spectacular burst of red, yellow, and orange hues and watch as the fading light casts amazing shadows and colors on the hills. Desert sunsets are magical, so be sure to bring your camera.
When the sky darkens, you are treated to a fascinating stargazing opportunity with your guide pointing out constelliations is the night sky. Read More close
As you head out from the Greater Palm Springs area, you get a narrated tour of the Coachella Valley and learn about the energy generated from the wind and solar farms along San Gorgonio Pass. Inside the park, spend the morning exploring as your guide describes the plants and animals of the high desert and tells stories of the rich history of the area.
Take a guided hike to Hidden Valley to see a jaw-dropping wonderland of majestic rock formations, and then find the spectacular view at the Key's View Overlook, which offers a stunning viewpoint from 5,185 feet (1,580 m) in elevation—letting you see all the way to Mexico on a clear day. By the time of your return trip in the afternoon, you have an expert's insight into one of the most striking environments around, plus the iconic plants and wildlife that make their home in the desert. Read More close
Enjoy convenient pickup from your hotel and head out to your first stop of the day. Roll down dusty drives to get up-close looks at sections of the Colorado and Mojave Desert, and learn about how these seemingly sparse scenes host a myriad of tenacious plant life and animals.
Hear fascinating info about sun-soaked California's ingenious aqueduct system, which provides farms, residents, and industries in dry climates with fresh, clean water. As you explore, don't forget to snap photos of the San Jacinto and Santa Rosa Mountains' stratified slopes, and find out how the powerful San Andreas Fault created their precipitous profiles. Wrap up your tour with a final walk along winding paths and ask any last questions you have about the wild lands that surround you before jumping back on your coach and returning to Palm Springs. Read More close