Bump And Grind Trail

Bump and Grind Trail Guide (Palm Desert)

In This Guide
  • Video and Turn-by-Turn Bump and Grind Trail Directions
  • Where to Park for the Hike
  • Maps and Insider Tips
Total Distance4 miles (6.4 km)
Other Options 3 Miles Without Trip to Summit
Hike Time2 Hours (Total)
Difficulty (?)Moderate
Total Ascent (?)1,430 feet (436m)
Highest Elevation1,280 feet (390m)
Fees & PermitsFree
Dogs AllowedNo
Alerts & Closures (?)Palm Desert Parks & Recreation
Park Phone760-776-6481

The Bump and Grind Trail, one of the most popular in the Palm Springs area, is a short yet challenging loop hike that packs a lot of fun. You’ll get the incredible scenery of the desert foothills, a challenging but doable climb, a visit to a refuge for the endangered Peninsular bighorn sheep, and views of the two high peaks of Southern California, Mt San Jacinto and San Gorgonio. For the best experience, leave at sunrise or late in the afternoon to avoid the crowds and heat. This guide will show you how to navigate the Bump and Grind Trail and have a great time.

Bump and Grind Trail Address

The Bump and Grind Trail starts behind the Desert Crossing Shopping Center in Palm Desert, CA. It always amazes me that, although you are right behind a mall, you feel like you are a world away. Use this address:
72440 Painters Path, Palm Desert, CA, 92260

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There is plenty of parking along the street. The closest parking is just past the trailhead, but you can also park further down the street. Locals park further down in the shade when temps go up.

Parking is free.

Gear for the Hike

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Local hikers have left a cache of water along the trail for the unprepared. Make sure you aren’t the one who has to use this.

You don’t need hardcore hiking gear to do the Bump and Grind Trail, but you do need to be prepared. Although steps away from the mall’s air-conditioned world, this is a desert hike, and people need to get rescued relatively often.

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


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.

Bump and Grind Trail Maps

This hike follows the Bump and Grind Trail loop’s popular clockwise routing. It has a steeper climb on the way up and the more gradual, knee-saving, and slip-avoiding trail back down. The course has markers along the way to help you confirm that you’re in the right place (more in the directions below).

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

Bump And Grind Trail Elevation
There’s no getting around it; you have to “bump and grind” your way to the top on the first half of the hike. But you’re rewarded with views and a long and easy descent on the second half of the hike.

3D Map

Bump And Grind Trail 3d Map
The hike follows a clockwise loop with an out-and-back extension at the top. The extension is closed during part of the year to protect the bighorn raising their young. More below.

Bighorn On the Bump and Grind Trail

Pennisular Bighorn Sheep
Keep your eyes open for Peninsular Bighorn Sheep, an endangered species that frequent the hills here. Photo USFWS

There has been controversy around the Bump and Grind Trail and the endangered peninsular bighorn sheep. Regular bighorn, which inhabits the higher mountains, are not endangered, but the peninsular bighorn, found in the lower desert between Palm Springs and Baja, Mexico, is endangered. There are only about 3,000 left in the world. The upper sections of this hike pass through an area where the peninsular bighorn often raise their young (lambs).

Conservationists wanted to close the whole area to humans; community leaders realized that this hike is a major attraction and wanted to keep the space open. The two parties were able to compromise, and now the upper “out and back” portion of the hike is closed for three months a year to give the bighorn space to raise their young.

We saw a herd of Bighorn Sheep, which was amazing! TripAdvisor Reviewer

You can still do the hike if the upper portion is closed. The distance will be 3 miles instead of 4 and still offers a good workout and lots of natural beauty.

Bump Grind Closure Dates
The upper portion of the trail is closed from February 1 to April 30.

Bump and Grind Trail Directions

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Video Directions

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

Turn by Turn Directions

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Look for the dirt path to the trail junction along Painters Path (road).
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There are trail signs at the junction by the start. Ignore the sign pointing you to the right, and head left.
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Here’s another view. Go left (clockwise) from the signs at the beginning.
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Start heading uphill on the Hopalong Cassidy Trail, also marked as the Bump and Grind Loop.

Hopalong Cassidy was a fictional cowboy character that first came to life in 1904 through short stories, then on films, and then on a popular television show in the 1950s. The television character was played by William Boyd, who retired to Palm Desert. His widow and the city named the trail after him and his famous character.

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You’ll see the trail stretch in front of you as you climb gradually up.
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The climb has nice views into Palm Desert.
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After you round the first corner you’ll once again see the trail winding and climbing in front of you.
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Avoid a few small side trails to the left which connect other parking areas with the main trail.
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Soon you’ll reach the top of the first part of the climb, and you’ll see the zig-zag switchbacks in the distance. That’s the hardest part of the hike.
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When you get to the intersection before the switchbacks, make the left and then the right. You can also go straight. Pick your poison, it all goes up to the same place.
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Head up to the switchbacks.

You’re now on the Herb Jeffries Trail. Herb Jeffries was another Palm Desert resident, cowboy hero, and singer with the Duke Ellington Orchestra. His mixed ethnicity and the dynamics of American racism make his story an interesting read.

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The switchbacks “bump and grind” their way straight up the hillside. Take your time climbing up.
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At the top the trail levels off and follows the side of the ridge.
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You’ll round the ridge and get some great views into Palm Desert and Palm Springs.
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At the next junction you’ll reach the gate that protects the bighorn area. If it’s open, make the left and head uphill. If not, you’ll be doing a 3 mile loop, so just go right and downhill.
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Pass through the gate and start climbing. And FYI, we’re now officially on the Bump and Grind Trail.
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The trail winds around and soon you’ll be able to see the viewpoint and end of the trail in the distance.
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When you get to the top, make the right at the split.
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As you crest the hill you’ll have incredible views of Mount San Jacinto on the left, and San Gorgonio on the right, which is the highest point in Southern California at 11,503 feet. You can hike to both, but if you’re in the Palm Springs area, a hike to San Jacinto from the tram is a classic must-do.
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On the other side of the top loop you’ll see a fence blocking off access to trails into the bighorn area. Please give them the space that they need and respect the boundary.

Head back downhill after the loop, back to the gate that you came through.

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When you get to the gate, make the hard right to continue downhill.
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The trail is wide and winds downhill.
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Avoid the use trails to the right and keep left on the wider trail.
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You’ll be able to see the trail stretch out beneath you. We’ll be hiking around the loop and to the right at the bottom.
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When you get to the junction, keep right and heading downhill.
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Continue to head downhill. You’ll see the trail stretch out beneath you. And we’re now on the Mike Schuler Trail, named after the local resident and trail builder. Mike built many of the trails we were on today, and even some sections of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT).
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There’s a small uphill as you round the bend.
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And then you’ll descend a series of tight switchbacks to the parking area on Painters Path, where you started the hike.
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And before you know it, you’re back at the start. 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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