The first hike of seven just had to be in my hometown, Palm Springs. I have blazed many trails in these mountains just minutes from my house. I grew up playing hide and go seek on the hillsides, shoving pieces of it in my pockets for a grand rock collection and picking handfuls of yellow, rain-scented creosote flowers to sit as centerpieces at our family table. I certainly feel most comfortable on these trails.
Today I wanted to tackle Araby Trail with my wild at heart companion, Willow. My dear pup somehow gives me a better sense of adventure. With her at my side, it always feels like play time! Plus she’s the size of a (small) horse and can lend my legs some muscle, if they need it.
So there we went snaking up the San Jacinto mountains behind the exclusive Southridge neighborhood. This hike provides some of the best views of Bob Hope’s former home you will ever see. You will also see the John Lautner designed Elrod House which was featured as a swank bachelor pad in the 1971 James Bond movie Diamonds are Forever. Sean Connery famously took a dip in the pool there. Willow and I would have loved to join him for a quick cool-off!
Oh the elevation gain…it’s fast and furious with heart-pounding switchbacks a plenty! Pant, pant, pant. Catch your breath quickly because the views of the valley will take it away again. You can truly see from the windmills to the Indio Hills. You can spy the hustle and bustle below but hear a pin drop in the mountains. Not much flora and fauna to speak of…some beautiful barrel cactus and creosote.
At the top, the trail connects to a few others, Berns, Garstin and Henderson and you can take any of those to drop down the backside of the hill, watch the valley disappear and see only endless rolling landscape.
Of note: This hike is about 6 miles and takes 4 hours-ish. Dogs (of course) and horses are welcome.