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.
Give a cactus a second look. Change your point of view on a crag. Experience a canyon from the inside out. From spiky Joshua trees to rare palm oases, every step in the desert reveals something magnificent and surprising. Open sky, open mind. It's time to see the desert in a new way.
THIS ITINERARY: 4 days, 3 nights
ACCOMMODATIONS: Premiere Hotels
Start/End Palm Springs
Start/End locations may vary. Do not book flights until your trip details are confirmed.
DAY 1 Behold Joshua Tree National Park—a whimsical and mesmerizing landscape like no other | You can't help but marvel at the park's namesake flora—the cartoon-like Yucca brevifolia, more commonly known as Joshua trees | While you hike, revel in breathtaking vistas beneath vast desert skies | Take advantage of countless photo ops amid the jumbo boulders.
DAY 2 Enjoy some of the area's best hiking, soaking up views of otherworldly rocky outcroppings among the varied scenery | Journey through palm-filled ravines that lead to a hidden oasis where year-round water sustains the largest stand of native California fan palms | Bird lovers rejoice—these lush palm groves are great places to view many of the canyon's feathered inhabitants, including hummingbirds and orioles | Get set for a Palm Springs classic—a ride on the famous Aerial Tramway! | Take in vistas of Chino Canyon's sheer cliffs and rugged Coachella Valley as the tram cars rotate slowly, allowing you to relish the spectacular views | Relish a high-elevation walk through a ponderosa forest | Add a final flourish to the day with dinner in a dramatic cliff-side setting.
DAY 3 From Palm Springs, head into the hills and onto a section of the legendary Pacific Crest Trail, leading to the new Sand to Snow National Monument | Choose to descend to the rushing Whitewater River—an unexpected sight in the desert! | The afternoon brings time to indulge in our hotel's luxurious amenities.
DAY 4 Soak up some old Hollywood glamour during a guided tour of the historic Old Las Palmas neighborhood | Mid-century modern design and Spanish colonial architecture intermingle in the shadow of Mt. San Jacinto | Stroll through dynamic downtown to indulge in some classic California cuisine.
Set on a bluff overlooking glittering Palm Springs, this chic retreat complements its desert surroundings with elements of wood, stone and fire. (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. We know your pace may vary from one day to the next—and your traveling companion's may differ somewhat from yours. So we present a range of mileage options, and each day you decide exactly what and how much you want to do. LEARN MORE.
Note: The 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. Our hike at the top of the Palm Springs aerial tram takes place at 8,500 feet, which may make the route more challenging than the mileage may suggest.
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.