Region Overviews: California Travel Guide: Overview
Take some time to explore California, and you'll understand why visitors from all over the world flock here.
Couples, Friends & Solos
5 days 4 nights
Activity Levels 1-3
From: $3,299 - $3,699 pp dbl occ
($700 for sgl occ)
In the California desert, less is more. A single white cloud stands out above the San Jacinto Mountains in Palm Springs' vast blue sky. Joshua trees take center stage against the infinite landscape of the national park. Shady spots feel even more welcome in the arid warmth of the sun. And a day of adventure ends with the simple joys of an ice-cold libation. Vacation in classic California style on this one-of-a-kind desert escape.
Start/End Palm Springs
Start/End locations may vary. Do not book flights until your trip details are confirmed.
Meet your Backroads Trip Leaders in Palm Springs, the jewel of California's low desert, before traveling into the high desert landscapes nestled between Joshua Tree National Park and the San Bernardino National Forest | Hike piney ridge trails in Pioneertown's geologically rich wildlands preserve | Immerse yourself in quirky desert culture in rugged one-street Pioneertown, built as a Western film façade in the 1940s | Take in the scene at a local saloon and relax at our one-of-a-kind American West hotel.
Once frequented by film stars here shooting old Westerns, this coolly revamped desert hideaway spotlights local artisans and celebrates the town's quirky history, culture and setting.
Journey to Joshua Tree National Park and be awed by its fascinating rock formations and iconic yucca trees | It's a full-day adventure amid the park's surreal labyrinths of sculpted granite, massive boulders and secret craggy passageways | Hike past pockets of native flora in the park's aptly named Hidden Valley | Rock climb, scramble and rappel in an all-levels experience with an expert guide in one of the world's top climbing destinations | Bike through historic Palm Springs neighborhoods on an architectural cycling tour | Witness the lush oases of Indian Canyons | Follow desert trails in Mission Creek and Whitewater Preserves, where a dry rocky valley gives way to a cascading river | Discover tranquil wetlands and craggy mountain ridges | Relish a desert sunset from our chic downtown hotel's rooftop pool | Weather and crowd permitting, rise early for a ride up to Mt. San Jacinto State Park on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway | Marvel at the views of Chino Canyon's breathtaking cliffs | Walk amid pine trees and rocky ridgelines, pausing at overlooks with picturesque panoramas of the surrounding desert | Roll out one of the hotel's yoga mats for an evening stretch or sip a craft cocktail at stylish Window Bar | Extend your getaway in one of Old Hollywood's favorite escapes.
Desert luxury, epic views and superb hospitality await at this ultra-stylish Kimpton retreat in the heart of Palm Springs. (pool, spa)
The earlier you book, the more choice you'll have and the lower your price. And you can always change your mind — you won't be charged to transfer to a different trip before your final payment is due. View cancellation policy
Click on dates for pricing, itinerary variations and to book your trip. Price is per person, double occupancy.
Every Backroads trip is designed to appeal to a wide variety of interests and fitness levels. Several routes and a range of levels are offered each day so you can choose how much or how little activity you want to do. Learn more about how we determine activity levels.
The hiking terrain on this trip includes well-maintained paths and rugged desert trails with some rocky and sandy sections, and a few steeper climbs and descents. Weather permitting, we may hike at the top of the Palm Springs aerial tram, which takes place at 8,500 feet and may make the route more challenging than the mileage may suggest. The biking terrain varies from level to rolling with a few steeper hills. Possible extreme weather conditions, such as heat and wind (or colder temperatures in winter months), can make biking more strenuous. Authorized Permittee of the National Park Service.
The key to a stellar day's ride is a bike that's perfectly in tune with your cycling style… Backroads has you covered with the best bike fleet in the world! Read on for your available bike options for this trip. (click the arrow to see all available options)
We want to make sure you're on the right trip and that you have the best experience possible. Every Backroads trip is unique and this one is no exception.
To bring you to our favorite parts of Joshua Tree National Park and Palm Springs, we make liberal use of shuttles on this trip. Although you'll see the inside of the Backroads van on each day and will experience some longer rides (1–1½ hours) as we shuttle between highlights, consider it an opportunity to view some spectacular scenery while resting your legs in preparation for your next adventure.
This trip includes a one-night stay at the Pioneertown Motel in Pioneertown. This unique property doesn’t have a restaurant or common indoor spaces, so at least one meal will be outdoors. Be sure to pack layers as mornings can be chilly! We’ve chosen this property because of its proximity to Joshua Tree National Park as well as its quirky charms and historic location – we think you’ll enjoy this one-of-a-kind property as part of your desert adventure.