Blazing the wild western path in Palm Springs

Horseback riding in Indian Canyons

Horseback using in Indian Canyons, Palm Springs


There’s Palm Springs, a metropolis filled with 1950s structure – and there is Higher Palm Springs, a wealthy and surprisingly lush desert the place 9 small cities converge in a sprawl of palm bushes, spectacular vistas and massive skies.

That is an America the place ranches sit aspect by aspect, of sprawling resort lodges and the place the times are scorching.


Cowboys and Indians was a favorite sport throughout my childhood and at last I get to play it for actual. The desert panorama is surprisingly acquainted, like a scene straight out of a traditional Western.

Saddle up at Smoke Tree Stables ( and inside a couple of minutes you might be being led on horseback out into the wilderness.

Josh Wedel, our information, is a cowhand and rodeo rider and gave tips about each our using method and the surroundings alongside 5,000-year-old trails carved via the rocky terrain by the native Cahuilla tribe.

The secure’s information on the subject of selecting a horse is, “For those who’ve by no means ridden earlier than, don’t fret. We’ll type you out a horse that hasn’t been ridden both.”

Chino Canyon from the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

See Chino Canyon from the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

Fortunately, my mount was best. Regardless of if I needed him to go left or proper, he simply carried on following the horse in entrance and that was adequate for me.

My pal Richard, hiding his nerves forward of his first ever experience, received a mustang, full with authentication branding.

However not like the yellow soft-top sports activities automobile that we drove into city, his horse had simply the one gear, sluggish, and was happiest in plain outdated park. It had the branding however not the go-faster stripes.

The Spanish named the Cahuilla tribe Agua Caliente (scorching water), after the nice and cozy springs that come effervescent to the floor. And that continues to be the title of their reservation which we have been crossing. When it got here to creating most use of their environment, the tribe have been geniuses.

On medical issues, as an illustration, they have been centuries forward of their time utilizing what American botanists name “nature’s drugstore”, a yellow flowering bush referred to as creosote, or chaparral.

Josh calls our posse to a halt to level out the plant. The Native Individuals used it to sort out each conceivable harm or sickness and right this moment it’s underneath investigation as a doable remedy for most cancers.

It was actually in plentiful provide as we progressed via Murray Canyon and alongside the bottom of the Santa Rosa Mountains, climbing excessive via the hills, then down via the shade of towering palm bushes that line the occasional oasis, their splashes of vivid vibrant inexperienced a welcoming sight.

14,000-acre alpine forest

Views of the 14,000-acre alpine forest


Palm Springs Aerial Tramway (, the world’s largest rotating tram automobile, travels virtually three miles over the cliffs of Chino Canyon to the pristine wilderness of Mount San Jacinto State Park at eight,200ft.

The clear, recent air gives a welcome respite from the noon warmth.

Beneath us lies the desert that stretches so far as the attention can see.

It is so grandiose and in true American vogue even the sprawling windfarm, greater than a mile beneath, seems to be like a toy, its 2,800 pristine white wind generators in regimented traces, like some futuristic military, marching straight out of the pages of a sci-fi novel.

There are greater than 50 miles of mountain climbing trails right here on the summit, from a loop of lower than a mile to a 10-mile return journey to the second highest level in southern California.

On a transparent day you would possibly be capable of see Catalina Island off the Pacific coast, or the glow from Las Vegas at evening.

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree Nationwide Park


With the sinking solar offering a backdrop as purple as our open-top jeep our information, Morgan Levine of Purple Jeep Desert Adventures (, took us on a three-hour off-road drive to the San Andreas Fault.

Eight-hundred miles lengthy and stretching the size of California, that is the origin of a few of historical past’s most catastrophic earthquakes. Highly effective sufficient to shift mountain ranges or flatten cities, bedrock that has risen from the horizontal now types a towering pure panorama resembling gigantic gray waves frozen in time – and nonetheless, imperceptibly, on the transfer.

The Fault has moved the town of San Francisco 10ft since 1924, Morgan tells us, rapidly following up with “Watch your ft” as we stroll via the springs which were pressured to the floor.

It is not the water we ought to be cautious of, although, it is the snakes… a rattlesnake, loosely coiled deep inside a low rising palm.

“Nothing to fret about,” says Morgan, fastidiously parting the palm’s fronds so we might have a clearer look. Err. No thanks, ma’am.

“Even when they go for you, 25 per cent of the time it is a dry strike,” she says.

No venom, meaning. There are, although, three different ranges of bites, culminating in a class 4.

“That can provide you a coronary heart assault,” says Morgan. “Not from the chunk… from the hospital invoice for the remedy.”

Subsequent we arrive at a recreation of a typical Native American settlement, in an space wealthy in stays from the unique village.

We duck low coming into a communal hut, the partitions and roof produced from dried fronds and tied collectively by twine woven from dozens of fibres of grass-like strands, harvested from close by crops.

There are not any corners although. “Huts have been all the time spherical,” mentioned Morgan.

“The Cahuilla believed evil spirits lived in corners.”

Fewer hiding locations for snakes as effectively.

Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort and Spa

Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort and Spa


The Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort and Spa ( is in neighbouring Rancho Mirage.

Grand Pueblo Deco structure amid lush, palm-filled grounds is a dramatic distinction to the arid environment.

My unassuming but sensible room neglected a lake with dancing fountains.

Within the first mild of daybreak a row of sprinklers gently watered the golf course greens, the arching spray glowing and twinkling like polished diamonds.


America As You Like It (0208 742 8299/ affords seven nights in Higher Palm Springs from £1,275 (two sharing), room solely on the Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort and Spa. Worth consists of return flights from Heathrow to Los Angeles and 7 days automobile rent.

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