Murray Peak Hike (Palm Springs)
|In This Guide|
|Total Distance||7.5 miles (12.1 km)|
|Hike Time||3-4 Hours (Total)|
|Total Ascent (?)||2,340 feet (713m)|
|Highest Elevation||2,202 feet (671m)|
|Fees & Permits||Free|
|Alerts & Closures (?)||Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument|
Most hikes in the Palm Springs area are up and down desert tracks in the foothills. But if you venture a little farther (7.5 miles total) and do the Murray Peak hike, you’ll leave the big crowds behind and get a taste of the raw beauty of the Santa Rosa Mountains. You’ll climb up along a quiet canyon in the shadow of the San Jacintos, crest a ridge with views into the Santa Rosas, and then end at a panoramic viewpoint where you can see the Coachella Valley, San Jacinto, San Gorgonio, and Joshua Tree. It’s one of my favorite peaks and worth a visit.
The summit is officially called Murray Hill, but the unofficial moniker of Murry Peak is more appropriate on this pyramid-shaped dome.
Murray Peak Hike Parking
There are many ways to hike to Murray Peak, but I find that this routing is the best for most folks. Why? Because we’re going to start at the Frank Bogert trailhead, which has a parking lot and usually doesn’t get too full. And the climb up the Frank Bogert is quiet and shaded in the first half of the day, with great views across to the San Jacinto area. The other approaches work, but the parking can be tougher and the trails more confusing. Overall the Frank Bogert approach is much more user-friendly.
Use this trailhead address:
Frank Bogert Trailhead, Andreas Hills Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92264
The Frank Bogert trailhead is not on all maps, but it is on Google Maps, and is a “real” trailhead with parking lot and signage.
There is no water or bathrooms at the trailhead.
Gear for the Hike
This is a desert hike in the backcountry and you should plan accordingly. I take 2L of water and sun protection. In the warmer months this hike should only be done at sunrise or at night, it’s totally exposed. Trekking poles help on the steep sandy slopes.
The Most Comfortable Hiking Shoe Ever
For most people, the Altra Lone Peak 4.5 (Women: REI | Amazon + Men: REI | Amazon) 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 work great on the trail. It’s a favorite of PCT and AT hikers for a good reason!
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.
Gaia GPS Mapping App
Smartphones are not backcountry instruments, but almost everyone has one today. And they all have GPS onboard. So I recommend getting a good GPS hiking app like Gaia GPS that supports offline maps. Just make sure to put your phone in airplane mode so the battery doesn’t drain. GaiaGPS not only has smartphone and tablet apps, but also an online planning tool. You can drag the GPX hike tracks from my (or any) guides into the online map and they will sync to your phone. You can also check for wildfires, weather, snow, and choose from dozens of map types with a premium membership (HikingGuy readers get up to 40% off here). Note that I also carry a paper map with me in case the phone dies or gets smashed.
Here’s my complete gear list that I personally use, have tested, and recommend, updated February 2021.
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.
Murray Peak Trail Maps
The hie starts on the Frank Bogert trail, which is relatively new (2009). Then it joins the Wildhorse and Clara Burgess trails. The trails are all easy enough to spot on the ground, and have sporadic signage.
Download the Hike GPX FileView a Printable PDF Hike Map
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). The GPS smartwatch is nice because it’s rugged, works if your phone dies, and also has a billion other features like sleep tracking, workout recording, etc.
- Dr. Welwood Murray (1832-1914) left Scotland for California to improve his ailing health, eventually settling in Palm Springs. He was one of the first gringo settlers, and he built a hotel, library, garden that catered to people dealing with health issues. He’s known as “The Patriarch of Palm Springs” and you’ll see his name all over the place, including Murray Hill.
- If you poke around at other guides, you may see other elevations for Murray Hill. The official USGS datasheet says 2169 feet, other maps say 2200, and some have it between 2200-2220 feet. Whatever it is, the prominence is great and you have nice 360 views from the summit.
- Frank Bogert, who the first trail is named after, was a 4-term Palm Springs mayor and cowboy who helped build the city up as a tourist destination in the 1930s and on. Today his legacy is being re-examined.
- The area you will hike through endangered peninsular bighorn territory (read more about them in this guide). Keep your eyes on the hillsides for them. They blend in very well here and can be tough to spot.
Murray Peak Hike Directions
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This guide last updated on February 8, 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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