Has the illuminated cross atop the mountains in Palm Desert seemed a bit of a mystery to you? Truth be told, it was to me too until a few years ago. Living here in the Coachella Valley I had obviously seen it for years (I can see it from my backyard) but never took a moment to find out why it was there. I also, until a few years ago, didn’t know that there was a trail leading to the top.
If you too are unfamiliar with the Homestead ‘Cross’ Trail…finish reading this blog, of course, then stop everything and head up the side of the mountain to experience it for yourself.
A bit of history: a wooden cross was first put at the peak in 1981 by a College of the Desert Student. It was replaced by the current 16x 30 foot illuminated version in 1996. The cross is maintained by Saint Margaret’s Church at the base of the mountain.
For purposes of the 7hikes7days video series, we chose to do this hike at sunrise. The views this time of day are extra special, you can see every curve of the silhouetted mountains, gentle and sharp against a pink glowing sky. Below, swarms of lush palm trees look like blankets of varying greens.
This is a spiritual trek for a lot of people and a popular meditation spot as well. Along the way you’ll see a collection of heart shaped rocks, find your own and add it to the mountainside. Once you make it to the top, grab a seat on the generous sized rocks and contemplate the climb or life itself. Attached to the base of the cross is a box containing a notepad and pen, take time to share your thoughts and enjoy the wrap around vistas before heading back down the trail.
This hike starts at the base of the Homme Adams Park which is an off leash dog park. Dogs are welcome on the trail too but must be leashed.
Of note ~ 3 miles, moderate, elevation gain 700 ft, takes about 1 hour