7 Hikes 7 Days ~ Day 4: Carrizo Canyon, Palm Desert

Because of bighorn lambing (breeding) season, the Carrizo Canyon Ecological Reserve is only open 3 months out of the year (October, November, December) making it extra special.

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The trail starts in this lush wash

The trailhead is a 5 minute drive from the bustling El Paseo shopping district but you would never know it once you enter the pristine wilderness. The hike starts through a wide sandy wash filled with healthy Smoke Trees, creosote bush and Desert Willows.

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The mysterious gent behind the camera

 

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A verdin nest nestled in desert lavender

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The mouth of the canyon

Once you enter the mouth of the canyon, look up often, you have a really good chance of spotting a bighorn sheep, we did!  When my husband saw the ram, it already had its eye on us. He’s so regal looking isn’t he? I have to say, all my years of living in the Coachella Valley and hiking, I’ve only seen a bighorn in the wild a couple of times.

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Evidence that bighorn are near

Even if you don’t see a bighorn on this hike, you will see plenty of evidence that bighorn often roam the canyon floor!

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Barrel and Cholla cacti line the ridge

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An oasis of one

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A siesta in the shade of a California fan palm

Cholla and Barrel cactus line canyon walls and peppered along the tops, some very large Ocotillos. A lone California fan palm is the perfect spot for a rest before moving on to explore the falls.

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Small waterfall and Ian-diana Jones WATCH OUT FOR THAT ROCK!

All the falls are mostly dry unless we’ve had a pretty good rain. You can scramble the side of the first falls and explore several  others complete with a small palm oasis and cottonwood trees.

Of note: 3 miles , moderate, takes approx 2 hours, no dogs

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