Hiking around Greater Palm Springs

By: Roger Coryell
Dogs in the desert

If you and your dog are the outdoorsy types, you’ll find plenty of trails to enjoy in Greater Palm Springs. Dog-friendly trails let you explore the natural sights (and smells) of this desert oasis, whether walking along a babbling creek in a nature preserve or tackling a steep incline for picturesque views of the desert floor.

Take your dog to the trails in Greater Palm Springs if he’s your best hiking buddy. Bring plenty of water and treats for both of you – it’s time to explore this picturesque oasis with your dog.

Before planning your hike, please check the weather conditions. When you can’t hold your hand to the ground for 5 seconds, that indicates the ground is too hot for your pup’s paws. 

Mission Creek Preserve

Mission Creek Preserve offers more than 17 miles of dog-friendly trails through stunning desert scenery, making it a favorite of four-legged hikers. A far cry from the bustle of everyday life, Mission Creek Preserve offers a glimpse of Greater Palm Springs’ natural side. You can walk along sandy trails, observe local wildlife like rabbits and roadrunners, and take holiday photos in front of historic stone buildings throughout the preserve. It is also possible to fish Mission Creek’s namesake stream throughout the year (results may differ according to conditions). Check out the Mission Creek Stonehouse Trail. 

Whitewater Preserve

The Whitewater Canyon Loop Trail offers scenic trails and sparse traffic for a dog-friendly hike with stunning views of this Southern California oasis. On this 3.5-mile trail, you can enjoy the beauty of the San Jacinto Mountains and desert canyons while cooling off in the Whitewater River (water results may vary). You can enjoy some of the most spectacular views of the surrounding mountainsides by taking your dog up the 600-foot climb.

Homestead Trail (The Cross Hike)

If you’re looking for a good workout that you can do with your dog, don’t miss the Palm Desert Homestead Trail, also known as The Cross Hike. Homestead Trail is a favorite dog-friendly hiking trail in Greater Palm Springs, located within the 27-acre Cap Homme/Ralph Adams Park. Despite the steep inclines, the panoramic views at the top of the trail make it worth the effort. As you hike along the trail at night, you’ll be able to see Greater Palm Springs light up under the stars. Even if you decide not to hike up the trail, the expansive park area at the base of the mountain offers plenty of room for dogs to sniff and explore (on a leash).

La Quinta Cove Oasis

La Quinta’s Cove Oasis trail network, hidden at the top of La Quinta Cove, invites you to discover its natural beauty. The Cove Oasis is just a short, flat hike from the parking lot, making it one of the easier options for a quick jaunt into the desert’s beauty. Dogs are also welcome on the Bear Creek Nature Trail, but cannot go beyond this landmark. The Oasis at La Quinta Cove requires that dogs be on leashes.

In an effort to protect and conserve the local Bighorn Sheep population, please respect the trails that do not allow dogs.