Pushawalla Palms Trail Loop
|In This Guide|
|Total Distance (?)||5 miles (8.1 km)|
|Hike Time||2-3 Hours (Total)|
|Total Ascent (?)||880 feet (268m)|
|Highest Elevation||860 feet (262m)|
|Fees & Permits||Free|
|Alerts & Closures (?)||Coachella Valley Preserve|
|Weather & Forecast||Latest Conditions|
|Stay Safe||Copy this webpage link to the clipobard and share with a friend before you hike. Let them know when to expect you back.|
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.
Where is the Pushawalla Palms Trail?
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.
You can use this trailhead address:
Pushawalla Palms Trailhead, Thousand Palms Canyon Rd, Desert Hot Springs, CA 92241
Gear For the Hike
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.
Garmin InReach Mini 2
I’m a firm believer in carrying a satellite communications device which works where cell phones don’t. I use a Garmin InReach which lets me send text messages back and forth to my family to let them know that I’m okay or if my plans change when I’m out in the backcountry. It also has an SOS subscription built-in so that you can reach first-responders in an emergency. The devices also offer weather reports, GPS, and navigation functionality (what’s the difference between a GPS and satellite communicator?). For a few hundred bucks they could save your life, so for me it’s a no brainer to have something like a Garmin InReach. If you use a smartphone to navigate and want a more affordable option that integrates with your phone easily, check out the ZOLEO.
Latest Prices: Amazon | REI
Altra Lone Peak 6
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 Terraventure 3 or 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. I have a video on the details of the Altra Lone Peak 6 here.
Women’s Latest Prices: REI | Amazon
Men’s Latest Prices: 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.
Trail Ergo Poles: REI | Amazon
Z-Poles: REI | Amazon
Gregory Zulu 30 & Jade 28
After testing quite a few backpacks, the Gregory Zulu 30 (and Jade 28 for women) is, for most hikers, the best all-season day-pack. First off, it’s very comfortable, and the mesh “trampoline” back keeps your back dry. Its 30L capacity is enough for all the essentials and plenty of layers for winter hiking. External pockets make it easy to grab gear. It’s hard to find something wrong with the pack; if anything, it could be a bit lighter, but overall, it’s not heavy. And its price-point makes it not only affordable but generally a great value.
Women’s Latest Prices: REI | Amazon
Men’s Latest Prices: REI | Amazon
Here’s my complete gear list that I personally use, have tested, and recommend, updated June 2022.
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.
Pushawalla Palms Trail Maps
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.
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?
Here’s what I use. 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 7 or Epix. 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.
- 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.
Pushawalla Palms Trail Directions
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Turn by Turn Directions
This guide last updated on January 11, 2022. Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.