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California's Palm Springs & Joshua Tree Family Walking & Hiking Tour - Active Weekend Getaway - 20s & Beyond

National Park Jumbo Rocks & Desert Oases

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

FROM: $2,699 - $2,899 pp dbl occ
($700 for sgl occ)

California

Start/End Palm Springs

Start/End locations may vary. Do not book flights until your trip details are confirmed.

Highlights
  • Explore Joshua Tree National Park's remarkable landscape strewn with gigantic boulders and shady palm oases 
  • Marvel at the desert's distinctive beauty—from Joshua trees to unique wildlife like roadrunners and desert bighorn sheep 
  • Admire the expansive vistas from the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, an exhilarating vertical ascent
  • Hike a section of the famous Pacific Crest Trail with your family, taking in impressive views of San Gorgonio Mountain 
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Meet Our Leaders
Itinerary
Accommodations may vary based on departure date.
4 Days Premiere Hotels
Accommodations may vary based on departure.

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 family 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 | Add a final flourish to the day with a family dinner in a dramatic cliffside 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! ​

DAY 4 Weather permitting, get set for a Palm Springs classic—a ride on the famous Aerial Tramway, with the world's largest rotating tram cars | 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 | A gondola carries you 8,000 feet up to Mountain Station for a high-elevation walk through a ponderosa forest. 

Ritz Carlton, Rancho Mirage
Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage
Palm Springs
| Premiere Hotel

Set on a bluff overlooking glittering Palm Springs, this chic retreat complements its desert surroundings with elements of wood, stone and fire. (pool, spa) 

Dates & Prices

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.

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Activity Level: 1-3

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.

Day 1
Walking & Hiking
Level 1 | 1 mile* | 100 ft. gain
Level 2 | 7 miles | 300 ft. gain
Day 2
Walking & Hiking
Level 1 | 1 mile | 200 ft. gain
Level 2 | 4 miles | 500 ft. gain
Level 3 | 5 miles | 700 ft. gain
Day 3
Walking & Hiking
Level 1 | 4 miles* | 400 ft. gain
Level 2 | 6 miles | 700 ft. gain
Level 3 | 8 miles | 1100 ft. gain
Day 4
Walking & Hiking
Level 1 | 2 miles | 300 ft. gain
* Includes shuttle.

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.

What's Included

  • All breakfasts, 4 lunches, 3 dinners
  • Expertise and services of our experienced Trip Leaders
  • Snacks and beverages between meals
  • Additional guides and experts from the region on many trips
  • Van shuttles to support a variety of route options
  • Comprehensive Travel Planner with detailed pre-trip information
  • Private guided tours at museums, historic sites, wineries and other select attractions as noted in the Travel Planner
  • All gratuities at hotels and restaurants
  • Special events, including wine tastings and other select attractions as mentioned in the Travel Planner
  • On biking and multi-adventure trips, use of fully equipped Backroads titanium bike plus helmet and accessories
  • Trailercycles, carriers, and kid-sized helmets for Family Trips
  • Equipment and experienced guides for kayaking, rafting, snorkeling, sailing and canoeing as described
  • Park and other entry fees
  • Fares for trains, ferries and other modes of travel as listed in the Travel Planner
  • Select coach transfers
  • Baggage transfers and porterage

Straight talk

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.

Shuttles

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 most days and will experience some longer rides (1–1.5 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.

Ask a trip expert

Have a question and need expert advice? Our team of Trip Consultants is here to help! You can also visit our FAQ's.

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