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Murray Peak Hike Palm Springs

Murray Peak Hike (Palm Springs)

In This Guide
  • Video and Turn-by-Turn Directions to Murray Peak (aka Murray Hill)
  • Parking For the Murray Peak Hike
  • Insider Tips and Recommendations
Total Distance7.5 miles (12.1 km)
Hike Time3-4 Hours (Total)
Difficulty (?)Moderate
Total Ascent (?)2,340 feet (713m)
Highest Elevation2,202 feet (671m)
Fees & PermitsFree
Dogs AllowedNo
Alerts & Closures (?)Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument
Park Phone760-862-9984

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.

Murray Peak Hike Directions 1
There’s a big sign at the entrance to the trailhead, which is at the end of a residential neighborhood.
Murray Peak Hike Directions 2
There’s a decent-sized parking lot here. The ground is dirt and okay for low-clearance vehicles.
Murray Peak Hike Directions 3
There’s a big trailhead sign where the hike starts.

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.

Altra Lone Peak

The Most Comfortable Hiking Shoe Ever
For most people, the Altra Lone Peak 4.5 (Women: REI | Amazon  + Men: REI | Amazonis 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!

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.

Gaiagps

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.

My February 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.

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.

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). 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.

Hike Brief

Welwod Murray 2
Murray Hill is named after Dr. Welwood Murray, a bearded dude in a healthy mood. Photo Palm Springs Historical Society

Murray Peak Hike Directions

It’s easy to say thank you for this guide!

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Video Directions

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

Turn by Turn Directions

Murray Peak Hike Directions 4
Head up the trail from the sign and trail board.
Murray Peak Hike Directions 5
In the beginning the trail is a wide dirt track.
Murray Peak Hike Directions 6
There’s a little turnoff to a viewpoint, keep right.
Murray Peak Hike Directions 7
After a short climb you’ll have a nice downhill section.
Murray Peak Hike Directions 8
Where the trail is washed out, use the small detour up the wash to go around it and come back.
Murray Peak Hike Directions 9
Avoid the side trails and say on the wide trail.
Murray Peak Hike Directions 10
Until you get to this turnoff, where the Frank Bogert trail heads uphill. Down to the left is an access road to the water tanks.
Murray Peak Hike Directions 11
Here’s your official welcome to the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument. From here you’re going to start a steeper uphill section.
Murray Peak Hike Directions 12
The trail is steep but there are some switchback sections to help you ease the gradient.
Murray Peak Hike Directions 13
When you get to the top of the climb, the trail levels out and winds around to the left. We’ll be climbing up the hill in front of you (which is not Murray Hill).
Murray Peak Hike Directions 14
When you get to the big intersection, make the hard right up the hill.
Murray Peak Hike Directions 15
Here’s the trail after making that right. We’ll be climbing up the Wildhorse Trail. And this is another steep section.
Murray Peak Hike Directions 16
The trail pretty steep and trekking poles help a ton here (both up and down).
Murray Peak Hike Directions 17
As you climb you’ll also start to get the view northeast into the Coachella Valley.
Murray Peak Hike Directions 19
Soon you’ll reach the summit, marked as “viewpoint” on my map. Enjoy the views and continue straight.
Murray Peak Hike Directions 20
After a short descent from the last viewpoint you’ll be following the spine of the ridge. It’s flat and easy to cruise on.
Murray Peak Hike Directions 21
This section along the spine is one of my favorites, with views to the right of the desert and mountains.
Murray Peak Hike Directions 22
At the end of that long flat stretch you’ll reach the intersection of the Clara Burgess Trail. Make the left on the Clara Burgess.
Murray Peak Hike Directions 23
The trail winds uphill.
Murray Peak Hike Directions 24
You’ll set some great views of the southern peaks in the Santa Rosa Mountains.
Murray Peak Hike Directions 25
And then Murray Hill will come into view once you crest a saddle.
Murray Peak Hike Directions 26
Head along the saddle and then look for the trail winding up Murray Peak.
Murray Peak Hike Directions 27
As you approach the top you’ll see the picnic benches.
Murray Peak Hike Directions 28
Enjoy a nice rest at the benches. Does anyone know how these got up here? Helicopter? Horseback? If you know, let me know, I’m curious.
Murray Peak Hike Directions 29
Look to the left to climb up the rock pile to the summit.
Murray Peak Hike Directions 30
From the top you get incredible views.
Murray Peak Hike Directions 31
To the west you’ll see Mt San Jacinto (covered in clouds here).
Murray Peak Hike Directions 32
And then to the north, Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley spread out in front of you.
Murray Peak Hike Directions 33
Once you’re done at the summit, just turn around and go back the way you came up. That’s the hike!

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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