Palm Canyon

A Hike in the Footsteps of Our Ancestors

Palm Canyon is considered the world’s largest native California Fan Palm (Washingtonia filifera) oasis. Originally the ancestral home of the Atcitcem Clan (People of Good), Palm Canyon was given as a gift to the Kauisiktum Clan (People of the Fox) of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. (plaque at Palm Canyon)

With an abundant water supply, plants and animals thrived. For thousands of years the Cahuilla people grew crops of melons, squash, beans, and corn and gathered plants and seeds for food, medicine, and basket weaving. (Indian Canyons Trail Guide brochure)

We wind our way down into the canyon following the stream…

And ascend the ridge to return…

It really is incredible to look about and see lush palm trees popping up among the rock formations and harsh but subtlety beautiful desert environment.

As we continue heading back, Palm Springs looms in the distance.

Beside us, the rock formations are amazing.

And when we see the view below is carpeted in the green canopy of palm trees once again, we see the trading post and parking lot in the distance where we started our hike.

Notice the trail leading out of the canyon on the other side. That’s part of the West Fork Trail, about 9 miles long, obviously a more strenuous one than the Palm Canyon and Victor Trail we are hiking. Indian Canyons (Andreas, Palm, and Murray) have more than 60 miles of hiking and walking trails.

But then the trail veers away again into more rock sculptures only nature can carve.

Finally, as we loop our way back to where we began, Jeff bemoans not seeing something he was hoping to see… Then suddenly!…

Do you see it?

Jeff’s wish comes true! A big-horned sheep appears out of nowhere and poses for us. So cool!

What a great way to end our hike!

But wait, there’s more… Just a short hike from the parking area is West Fork Falls.

Nestled between giant boulders of rock, the falling water sprays us with a refreshing cool mist.

The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians have always been industrious and creative with a reputation for independence, integrity, and peace. In 1876 and 1877, the U.S. Federal Government deeded in trust to the Agua Caliente people 31,500 acres for their homeland. About 6,700 acres of these are within the Palm Springs city limits. The remaining sections span across the desert and mountains in a checkerboard pattern:

Courtesy of

Courtesy of