ago, ancestors of the Agua Caliente Cahuilla (pronounced Kaw-we-ah)
Indians settled in the Palm Springs area and developed extensive
and complex communities in Palm, Murray, Andreas, Tahquitz and
Chino Canyons. Abundant water and hundreds of plants and animals
found throughout the area ensured stable living conditions. Crops
of melons, squash, beans and corn were grown, animals were hunted,
and plants and seeds were gathered for food, medicines, basketweaving
etc. Many traces of these communities exist in the canyons today,
including rock art, house pits and foundations, irrigation ditches,
dams, reservoirs, trails, and food processing areas.
The Agua Caliente Indians were industrious and creative with
a reputation for independence, integrity and peace.
Fifteen miles long, Palm Canyon is one of the great beauty spots
in Western North America. Its indigenous flora and fauna, which
the Cahuilla peoples so expertly used, and its abundant Washingtonia
filifera (California Fan palm trees), are breathtaking contrasts
to the stark, rocky gorges and barren desert lands beyond. A moderately
graded, paved foot path winds down into the canyon for picnicking
near the stream, meditating, exploring, hiking or horseback riding.
While in Palm Canyon, visit the Trading Post for hiking maps,
refreshments, Indian art and artifacts, books, jewelry, pottery,
baskets, weavings and conversational cultural lore.
Tahquitz Canyon is home to a spectacular 60 foot waterfall (seasonal),
rock art, ancient irrigation systems and artifacts, along with
cultural and educational exhibits. Self-guided hikes or Ranger-led
hikes are available. Located at the entrance to the canyon, the
Tahquitz Canyon Visitor Center, at 500 W. Mesquite, just west
of Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs, offers exhibits, an observation
deck, and a theatre room for viewing a video that narrates the
legend of Tahquitz Canyon. For more information or to reserve
a ranger-led interpretive hike, call the Visitors' Center at:
(760) 416-7044. Admission to Tahquitz Canyon is: Adults $12.50,
Children $6.00 (12 and under).
Murray Canyon is an easy hike south from Andreas Canyon. Foot
and equestrian trails lead to beautiful recreational spots among
the many palm trees. Peninsular Big Horn Sheep (an endangered
species), mule deer and other wild animals still roam the high
ground above the canyon and can be seen by the lucky visitor.
Being less visited, Murray Canyon has its own secluded beauty;
and at least one known endangered species of bird, the Least Bells
Vireo, is known to nest here.
The contrasting greens of magnificent fan palms and more than
150 species of plants within a half-mile radius beckon the desert-weary
traveler to this lush oasis. A favorite scenic foot trail leads
through the canyon, passing groves of stately skirted palms, unusual
rock formations and the perennial Andreas Creek, where one can
still see the bedrock mortars and metates used centuries ago for
preparing food. This tranquil setting is excellent for photography,
bird-watching or a picnic at one of the tables along the trail.
The canyons and associated resources noted above are especially
sacred to the Indians today and are historically important to scientists
and lovers of nature. Please enjoy the free gift of serene beauty
that you may take with you. Appreciate and respect.
The Agua Caliente people enjoyed a rich and varied ceremonial
life, with the sacred and medically beneficial hot springs often
serving as a focal point for these activities. The site of the
present day Palm Springs Spa Hotel and Mineral Springs ls located
on a Cahuilla Indian hot spring. There was first a rough-planked
structure in this location, followed years later by a building
containing private bathing cubicles. Today's spa and hotel is
noted throughout the world.
Photos: Cover "View of Andreas Canyon"-- Rand Larson; Hawk
& Murray Canyon -- George Service; Palm & Andreas Canyons -
Indian Canyons by Jeep plus Hiking Tour from Palm Springs
ADMISSION TO INDIAN CANYONS
Seniors (62+)............................. $7.00
Children (6-12)........................... $5.00
Students & Military...................... $7.00
Ranger led hikes are available for an additional charge
of $3 for Adults and $2 for Children. Register at Palm Canyon.
Tours are Approximately 1.5 hours and are 1 mile in length.
Daily 10:00 AM Palm Canyon 1:00 PM Andreas Canyon
Season Passes & Group Rates available in all categories
October thru June
Open Daily: 8am-5pm
July thru September
Fri, Sat & Sunday: 8am-5pm
** Indian Canyons by Jeep plus Hiking Tour from Palm Springs