The Boo Hoff Trail, which follows a native path into the foothills of the Santa Rosa Mountains, is filled with desert beauty and panoramic views. This loop is a challenging route that offers a solid climb, a descent into Devil Canyon and around Lake Cahuilla, and a hike back on the Cove to Lake Trail. Overall the Boo Hoff loop is a challenging hike that offers a little of everything.
This is a rough backcountry hike and you should prepare accordingly. Trekking poles and good hiking footwear are handy on the slopes. If you have low gaiters they can be helpful hiking through the loose rock and sand. I bring 3L of water but usually use around 2L unless it’s very hot. And when it’s very hot, as with most hikes in the desert, the hike can be deadly. It’s best done in the cooler months.
Boo Hoff was a member and president of the famous Desert Riders Club, an equestrian group founded in 1930. In Palm Spring’s heyday the Desert Riders became “a place to be” in social circles, and included the old movie stars like Clark Gable, Henry Fonda and Cary Grant.
The Desert Riders are responsible for most of the current trail network in the Palm Springs area. Their trail work fortified many of the native paths in the area, and today many of the trails are named after prominent Desert Riders (including the Boo Hoff Trail). I have guides to many more of these trails in the Palm Springs area if you want to explore others.
Why “Boo?” He was born as Mered Arthur Hoff in the Philadelphia suburb of Lansdale in 1911, and when he was a kid, there was a famous Philly gangster (and Al Capone buddy) named Boo-Boo Hoff. His buddies nicknamed him “Boo” after the gangster and it stuck when he moved to the Palm Springs area in the 1950s.
The Boo Hoff Trail was originally a native path called the Old Guadalupe Trail. Boo was known for protecting and rebuilding historic native paths, and in 1979 the trail was renamed after him. At the dedication he was lauded as the man whose “mission is to introduce the beauty and mystery of the Old Guadalupe Trail to those prepared for the challenge.”
When you return, you’ll come back on the Cove to Lake trail from the left.
Why do the trail counters have American flags on them? Land managers have found that when a trail sign has an American flag on it, it doesn’t get vandalized or stolen.
Golf Digest has rated the golf course here as one of “America’s 100 Greatest” every year since the list started in 1994. The course is limited to only 250 members at a time. The course was built on top of the old quarry known as “Keller Pit.”
Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.
Hi, I’m Cris Hazzard, aka Hiking Guy, a professional outdoors guide, hiking expert, and author based in Southern California. I created this website to share all the great hikes I do with everyone else out there. This site is different because it gives detailed directions that even the beginning hiker can follow. I also share what hiking gear works and doesn’t so you don’t waste money. I don’t do sponsored or promoted content; I share only the gear recommendations, hikes, and tips that I would with my family and friends. If you like the website and YouTube channel, please support these free guides (I couldn’t do it without folks like you!).