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Araby Trail Guide

Araby Trail Guide

In This Guide
  • Video and Turn-by-Turn Directions To Hike the Araby Trail
  • Parking and Trailhead Information
  • Insider Hike Tips & Things to Look For
Total Distance3.4 miles (5.5 km)
Hike Time2 Hours (Total)
Difficulty (?)Moderate
Total Ascent (?)1,200 feet (366m)
Highest Elevation1,360 feet (415m)
Fees & PermitsFree
Dogs AllowedNo
Alerts & Closures (?)City of Palm Springs
Park Phone760-323-8299

The Araby Trail is one of the more popular hikes in Palm Springs. You not only get the natural beauty of the Santa Rosa Mountains and all the views that they offer, but you’ll also get to go by some iconic architecture in a gated community that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to see. And while the trail is challenging, you’ll be heading uphill for about 1.7 miles; it’s not a big mountain hike and is doable by most folks with a reasonable level of fitness.

How to Get to the Araby Trail

Parking for the Araby Trail is in a small parking lot by Rim Road. Use this trailhead address:
2049 Rim Rd, Palm Springs, CA 92264

Araby Trail Directions 1
The parking lot is not that big. Get here early to beat the heat and the crowds. The trailhead is a short walk up the road.
Araby Trail Directions 2
There’s a trail board for the Araby Trail in the parking lot, confirming that you’re in the right place.

Gear for the Hike

While it’s not a long hike, the Araby Trail is an exposed desert hike and has all of the normal dangers that the desert does. It gets very hot in the summer, so it’s best done at sunrise or sunset, or when the high temperatures are cooler. . Bring at least 1L of water, and good hiking footwear is recommended.

Wildcat Small

My Goto Hiking Footwear: La Sportiva Wildcat
If you hike a lot or just want the best (but not the most durable) hiking footwear, the Wildcat trail runner is your best move.  It’s fast and light on trails, the sole gives me good grip off-trail or scrambling, and they dry quickly.
Latest Price on Women’s ShoeREI | Amazon
Latest Price on Men’s ShoeREI | Amazon

Osprey=talon

Best All-Around Day Pack: Osprey Talon
I try so many backpacks and I can usually find something I love about all of them. But no matter how many I try, I always find that I come back to the Osprey Talon 33  (or for women, the Osprey Sirrus 36). It’s just the right balance between everything. You save weight because there is no frame, but the vented and padded back holds its shape, giving it a pseudo-frame. It’s big enough for long day hikes or overnighters, but when I don’t fill it on a shorter hike, it’s still nice and light. It’s got a sleeve for a hydration bladder and side pockets for Smartwater bottles.  I’ve been using (and beating) the same one since 2017 and it’s still going strong.
Latest Women’s Prices: REI | Amazon
Latest Men’s Prices: REI | Amazon

Garmin Inreach Mini Beacon

Stay Safe Out of Cell Phone Range
If you’re not familiar with the Garmin InReach technology, it allows you to send and receive text messages where you don’t have cell phone signals. You can also get weather reports and trigger an SOS to emergency responders. Even if you don’t have an emergency, sending a quick message telling a loved one that you’re okay or are running late is well worth the cost. The Garmin InReach Mini (REI | Amazon | My Review) fits in your palm and weighs next to nothing.

Here’s my complete gear list that I personally use, have tested, and recommend, updated January 2021.

My January 2021 Top Gear Picks

No company pays me to promote or push a product, all the gear you see here is gear I use and recommend. If you click an a link and buy gear, I get a small commission that helps offset website expenses. There is no cost to you.

Araby Trail Maps

The Araby Trail is easy to follow, but some unofficial side trails branch off into residential areas. If you follow the directions below, you’ll be fine.

Click Here To View Map

Download the Hike GPX FileView a Printable PDF Hike Map

Fenix 6 Pro

How are you going to navigate this hike?
To start, you should always have a paper map and compass. And it helps to print this guide out or save it on your phone. I highly recommend a GPS as well. I use the Garmin Fenix 6 smart GPS watch ( REI | Amazon | My Review) with maps (or the more affordable  Garmin Instinct). You can also use most smartphones. Check out my navigation recommendations and resources on my top gear picks page for options at all budget levels.

Elevation Profile

Araby Trail Guide Elevation
The trail is pretty much all uphill, with a little downhill dip in the middle. The last half of the hike to the summit is steep but doable if you pace yourself and take breaks when you need them.

3D Map

Araby Trail Guide 3d Map
The beginning of the Araby Trail winds around residential areas, and then you start uphill and into the wilderness area.

Why is it called the Araby Trail?

“Araby” is a romantic term for the Middle East, and the trail was named Araby because it reminded an early visitor, J. Smeaton Chase, of the Middle East. Chase was an Englishman who explored and wrote about the natural wonders of California in the early 1900s. He was also an early visitor who documented the wonders of Yosemite.

Araby Trail Directions

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Video Directions

Watch This Video In 360/VR Why 360/VR Is Great

Turn by Turn Directions

Araby Trail Directions 3
The trailhead is just up the paved road.
Araby Trail Directions 4
Here’s the start of the trail.
Araby Trail Directions 5
The beginning of the Araby Trail is a bit strange as you wind through a residential area.
Araby Trail Directions 6
Avoid side trails and heed the private property signs.
Araby Trail Directions 7
Remember when I mentioned the beginning of the hike is strange? Look for some bizarre trail decorations in the first few minutes of the hike.
Araby Trail Directions 8
Go straight at this junction.
Araby Trail Directions 9
And then shortly after that you’ll see a turnoff for the Araby Trail.
Araby Trail Directions 10
The trail heads steadily uphill on some switchbacks.
Araby Trail Directions 11
Avoid the side trails heading into the residential area below.
Araby Trail Directions 12
Same thing here, avoid the side trails into the neighborhood.
Araby Trail Directions 13
Soon after that you’ll crest a ridge and the Araby Trail starts to make its way into the wilderness. Avoid the side trail and stay right.
Araby Trail Directions 14
From that last turn you’ll start to catch a glimpse of the famous Bob Hope house built in 1979 by John Lautner, a student of Frank Lloyd Wright. We’ll be able to see it up close as we head father up the Araby Trail.

Well, at least when they come down from Mars they’ll know where to go.Bob Hope on the Lautner House

Araby Trail Directions 15
Avoid the side trail downhill and keep heading up toward the houses.
Araby Trail Houses
So here you are presented a great view of some iconic houses in the Southridge Gated community. On the far left is the Bob Hope house, the white house is called The Boat House, then to the right of that is Steve McQueen’s house, and then on the far right, the famous Elrod House, also designed by Lautner and featured in a James Bond movie.
Araby Trail Directions 16
Once you reach the view of the houses, the trail will dip downhill and then continue up on the hillside across from you.
Araby Trail Directions 17
Once you start climbing here, the trail is a pretty steady uphill. In some parts switchbacks help ease the grade.
Araby Trail Directions 18
If you need a break, turn around and take in the views. The airport is Palm Springs International Airport.
Araby Trail Directions 19
You’ll see a sign letting you know that you’re now entering the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto National Monument.
Araby Trail Directions 20
And soon after that you’ll be behind the Bob Hope house. Notice the putting green with sand traps.
Araby Trail Directions 21
The trail is fairly steep in some sections.
Araby Trail Directions 22
As you climb you’ll start to get views of the mountains to the west.
Araby Trail Directions 23
Avoid the side trails to the vista points (unless you want to check them out) and stick to the main, well-worn trail.
Araby Trail Directions 24
When you get to the split, bear left and continue uphill. You’ll see the peak at the end of the trail in front of you.
Araby Trail Directions 25
At the intersection, make the right on the Berns / Garstin Trail.
Araby Trail Directions 26
And then make the right for the next stretch to the summit.
Araby Trail Directions 27
And here you are! Enjoy the views into Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley.
Araby Trail Directions 28
To the west are the high peaks toward San Jacinto.
Araby Trail Directions 29
And to the south, the rugged interior of the Santa Rosa Mountains.

From here, just turn around and head back the way you came up. And that’s the hike!

Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.

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