First settled in by ancestors of the Agua Caliente Cahuilla Native Americans hundreds of years ago, who transformed the canyons into communities where they could thrive, Indian Canyons is now a recreational park. Made up of three distinct canyons, the park's popularity is down to its extensive hiking network and well-preserved historical sights.
Indian Canyons is made up of Palm Canyon, Andreas Canyon and Murray Canyon, each of which is very worthwhile visiting. They are too big to cover all three in one day, so chose between a visit to the largest, Palm Canyon, or combine Andreas and Murray. All three canyons offer trails for different hiking abilities, categorised as easy, moderate or strenuous.
On arrival at Indian Canyons, head to the Trading Post to pick up maps and supplies, and make sure you carry enough water to keep you going.
Covering a distance of 24 kilometres, Palm Canyon has plenty to see and do. Here, you will find the biggest Californian palm oasis in the world, crystal clear streams and dramatic waterfalls.
Another favourite is Andreas Canyon, where the time-limited can do a short 1.6-kilometre loop that goes passed impressively large rock formations and along which the views of the San Jacinto Mountains and the desert valley below are exceptional. You will also see a traditional Cahuilla Native American dwelling, as well as bedrock mortars and metates that were used in years passed to grind corn and beans.
Murray Canyon can also be seen even if you don't have a lot of time to spare. The wildlife here is a major attraction – look out for endangered Peninsular bighorn sheep, mule deer, mountain lions and the rare least bells vireo.
Horse riders should pay a visit to Smoke Tree Stables from which they can participate in guided trail rides, and the Indian Canyons Golf Resort is popular with golfers.
Located just a few minutes by car from downtown Palm Springs, Indian Canyons is open every day from October to June, as well as on weekends only from July to September. There are designated parking areas – roadside parking is strictly prohibited – and a small charge for admission.