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Find Historic Indian Canyons near Palm Springs


Tucked in the folds of the San Jacinto Mountains, just a few miles from the heart of Palm Springs, are the beautiful Indian Canyons. This place is a delight to botanists, artists, photographers and visitors searching for a desert oasis. Here, pure, clean water pours over brilliantly colored rocks to settle in clear, sand-bottomed pools.

Palm Canyon
The 15-mile Palm Canyon is considered the most picturesque of the Indian Canyons. Visitors can follow an easy foot trail that winds its way through the palms and over rock formations to smaller gorges and canyons to experience breathtaking splendor.

Andreas Canyon
Desert riders can enjoy Andreas Canyon’s bridle path that meanders through this narrow valley. Its sheer cliffs and caves are favorites for hikers interested in serious exploration. Andreas is full of willows, sycamores, wild grape and mesquite. The canyon is bathed in waters from towering peaks. Its lagoons and small waterfalls add charm to the setting.

Murray Canyon
Murray Canyon, accessible from Andreas, is ideal for picnicking and light hiking. While smaller, more primitive and less accessible than Palm or Andreas Canyons, it remains much the same way early dwellers found it. In this canyon, two wild horses thought to be descendants of animals belonging to the early Indians, can be seen on rare occasions roaming the hills.

These canyons are home to the official plant of Palm Springs, the Washingtonia filifera palms, found only in several areas of Arizona and Southern California. A great number of these trees flourish within the boundary of the canyons, which were planted in aboriginal times and served as an important food source and the means for creating utensils, baskets, sandals and shelter. The largest and most extensive filifera grow in Palm Canyon, where an icy stream runs year-round.

The ancestors of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians enjoyed the solitude of the sheltered canyons when temperatures soared during the summer. The gorges still contain evidence of early native inhabitants. Pictographs etched on rock walls can be seen in isolated areas of the valleys, while some artifacts are housed in museums. For grinding meal, the Indians used flat granite rocks, surrounding the Andreas Canyon stream. Some of the Indians’ original tools were found here and in nearby caves. Local legend surrounds one granite ledge, called “Gossip Rock,” where it is said Indian women sat to grind grain and talk about the events of the day.

The Palm Springs Indian Canyons are open year-round and owned and operated by the descendants of those early Indian settlers. Visitors are invited to experience this natural museum - a historic, sacred and magical place - by hiking, picnicking, horseback riding and exploring. There is a nominal entrance fee.

Indian Canyons
38-500 South Palm Canyon Drive
Palm Springs, CA
(800) 790-3398
(760) 325-3400
70-100 Highway 111
Rancho Mirage, CA 92270
(800) 967-3767
(760) 770-9000

Photos Courtesy: Indian Canyons - Palm Springs Desert Resorts Convention & Visitors Authority