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.
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.
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 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.
REI | Amazon
Here’s my complete gear list that I personally use, have tested, and recommend, updated October 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 keep the website ad and promotion free. 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.
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.
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.
- 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 May 4, 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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