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.
1 Enjoy some of the area's best hiking today as you journey through palm filled ravines that lead to a hidden palm 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 Add a final flourish to the day with dinner at a dramatic cliff-side setting.
2 Behold Joshua Tree National Park—a 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, soak up breathtaking vistas beneath the vast blue skies Take advantage of countless photo ops amid the jumbo-sized boulders, such as aptly named Skull Rock.
3 From Palm Springs, head into the hills and onto a section of the legendary Pacific Crest Trail After a steady uphill, take in impressive views of San Gorgonio Mountain (also known as Old Greyback) and the Salton Sea Descend to Whitewater River—the sparkle of rushing water is an unexpected sight in the middle of the desert!
4 Get set for a classic Palm Springs activity—a ride on the famous Aerial Tramway, featuring the largest rotating tram cars in the world Sit back and soak up the views of Chino Canyon's sheer cliffs and the rugged Coachella Valley After the gondola carries you to the Mountain Station at 8,516 feet, take an easy walk through a peaceful ponderosa forest Don't be surprised by the temperature change at this height—you might even encounter snow!