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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 Distance (?)4 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
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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.

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.

Lone Peak 5

Altra Lone Peak 5
For most people, the Altra Lone Peak is a solid choice that will leave your feet feeling great at the end of any hike. The feel is cushy and light, and if it had a car equivalent, this would be a Cadillac or Mercedes Sedan. The grip is great and they’re reasonably durable for this type of trail runner, which I think is better in most conditions than a hiking boot, and here’s why. The downside of this shoe is that it won’t last as long as something like the Moab 2 (see alternate footwear choices at the bottom of my gear page). I’ve been using mine for many miles and my feet always feel great. Watch my video explaining why they are a great shoe here.

Latest Price on Women’s Shoe
REI | Amazon

Latest Price on Men’s Shoe
REI | Amazon

Black Diamond Ergo Poles 2

Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork Trekking Poles
I’ve gone back and forth on trekking poles, but I think for most people they are a good investment. They help you dig in on the uphills, provide stability on loose downhills, act as a brace when crossing streams, and can probably poke away aggressive wildlife in a pinch. The Trail Ergo Cork poles are a good balance of light weight, durability, affordability, and ease of use. If you want something ultralight and a little more pricey, I’ve had great luck with the Black Diamond Z Poles too.

Latest Price
REI | Amazon

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

My October 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 keep the website ad and promotion free. 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

Explore Map on CalTopoView a Printable PDF Hike MapDownload the Hike GPX File

If you try to download the GPX file and your browser adds a “.txt” or “.xml” extension to it, simply rename it as a “.gpx” file.

Gaiagps

How Are You Going to Navigate This Hike?
If you are a hardcore hiker and/or hike in extreme conditions, I recommend getting a dedicated GPS like a GPSMAP 66sr or 66i, or a wrist-based GPS with maps like the Garmin Fenix 6. If you only hike in fair weather and a touchscreen is fine, or just want a solid tool, I highly recommend downloading the smartphone app, Gaia GPS. It’s a piece of cake to use and very powerful, just make sure your phone is in airplane mode so the battery doesn’t drain. You can also check for wildfires, weather, snow, and choose from dozens of map types with a premium membership (HikingGuy readers get a big discount here). Note that I also carry a paper map with me in case the phone dies or gets smashed.

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!

This guide last updated on October 1, 2021. Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.

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