The Cross Hike in Palm Desert is a great out-and-back hike for all levels. You'll hike through classic desert hill terrain to reach the cross, standing 30 feet tall on the hilltop, a religious experience for some and a fun destination for all. Whatever you believe, the views from the top are great, and the workout is a good one. This hike is a local favorite for a quick hiking fix.
- Video and Turn-by-Turn Directions to The Cross
- Parking For The Cross Hike in Palm Desert
- Insider Tips and Recommendations for the Hike
When planning, always check the park website and social media to make sure the trails are open. Similarly, check the weather and road conditions.
The Cross Hike Palm Desert Address
Gear for the Hike
You don't need any special gear to do the Cross Hike, and fitness gear works well. Good footwear and trekking poles will help on the steep sections. The main thing here is the desert environment - bring at least 1L of water and avoid the day and year's hotter times. There is no shade on the hike. There is no shade on the hike.
I waste my time with lousy hiking gear so you don't have to. Only the winners get onto my gear page. There's no fluff, sponsorships, or promotions. It's just gear I personally use, have tested, and recommend. Right now I'm liking my inReach Mini 2, Garmin Epix, and Lone Peak 6 shoes.
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Palm Desert Cross Trail Maps
The nice thing about this hike is that you can see the cross for most of the way, making navigating straightforward. You'll be starting on the Homestead Trail, and then heading onto the Hopalong Cassidy Trail. I'll show you how to do it later, but for now, here are the trail maps.
Guides to Help You Navigate
What Is The Cross in Palm Desert?
- College of the Desert students erected the original cross during the 1981 Christmas season.
- St Margaret's Episcopal Church, which you may have passed on your way to the trailhead, maintains the cross, and sometimes has services there.
- In 1996 the current cross was erected, standing 30 feet high by 16 feet wide. Eagle Scouts laid underground wiring to light the cross.
- People leave stones with inscriptions at the base. Please don't leave anything there, and if you really need to, make sure that the local endangered peninsular bighorn sheep can't eat it. They will eat paper, plastic, basically anything that isn't rock, and could potentially die.
The Cross Hike Directions
Turn by Turn Directions
Hopalong Cassidy was a fictional cowboy character that first came to life in 1904 through short stories, then on films, and then on a popular television show in the 1950s. The television character was played by William Boyd, who retired to Palm Desert. His widow and the city named the trail after him and his famous character.
This Guide Was Written by Cris Hazzard
Hi, I'm Cris Hazzard, aka Hiking Guy, a professional outdoors guide, hiking expert, and author based in Southern California. I created this website to share all the great hikes I do with everyone else out there. This site is different because it gives detailed directions that even the beginning hiker can follow. I also share what hiking gear works and doesn't so you don't waste money. I don't do sponsored or promoted content; I share only the gear recommendations, hikes, and tips that I would with my family and friends. If you like the website and YouTube channel, please support these free guides (I couldn't do it without folks like you!).
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