The hike to Pushawalla Palms in the Coachella Valley Preserve is a must-do hike in the Palm Springs area. You'll follow a ridge on top of the San Andreas Fault to the hidden Pushawalla Palms grove, fed by water that has risen to the surface through cracks in the fault. On the way back, you'll hike through Hidden Palms, full of thick growth fan palms. The Pushawalla Palms loop is a spectacular hike and not to be missed.
In this Guide:
Video and Turn-by-Turn Directions for the Pushawalla Palms Trail Loop
Where to Park for the Pushawalla Palms Trail
Insider Tips and Gear Recommendations for the Hike
The Pushawalla Palms Trail is located in the Coachella Valley Preserve. Unlike other trails that start at the gated visitor center and are closed some days, the Pushawalla Palms trailhead is just off the road outside of the visitor center, and is generally open all the time. Check the park website link at the beginning of the guide to confirm.
This is an exposed desert hike, and you should plan accordingly. I bring 2L of water and plenty of sun protection. It's not a summer hike, ass it's almost completely exposed (except for the oasis areas). Some folks find trekking poles helpful on the sandy slopes.
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Overall the trail is well-marked, with some spots that are a little confusing if you don't look at my turn-by-turn directions below. The trail is a mix of hard-packed sand and loose sand.
Another thing to note is that there are a fair amount of other trails and unmarked trails. If you look at other guides, you'll see that many of them are different variations of some of these trails. I picked this routing and loop because I think it's the most scenic and fun. But it's easy enough to choose your own adventure if the fancy strikes you. I included an alternate route to the palms in the map and GPX below. Also note that many of the trails are not shown on OSM and similar trail maps. I'd highly recommend using my GPX file on your GPS device to confirm your position, and knowing how to read a topographic map is a great skill to navigate this desert hike.
The palms you see on this hike are native California Fan Palms, not the ornamental palm trees you'll see in planned landscaping. California Fan Palms usually have a thick "skirt" of dead palm fronds attached to them.
When you visit the oasis, you might notice water flowing on the ground. That's because the groves are near the San Andreas Fault, and the movement on the fault line has let groundwater rise to the surface. If you see a white powder on the water, it's alkaline and salt deposits.
Why is it called Pushawalla? Legend has it that Pushawalla was the name of a local Native American who lived to be over 100 years old. Allegedly he died when a summer cloudburst flooded the canyon he was in and swept him away. The canyon where he was found (and where the grove is) is called Pushawalla Canyon.