Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hiking in the Coachella Valley Preserve, Thousand Palms, California

Located in the Indio Hills north of the Coachella Valley is the Coachella Valley Preserve (free admission; donations are accepted at the Visitor's Center). This 17,000 acre preserve is a part of a larger system of preserve land designed to protect the threatened Coachella Valley fringe-toed lizard, found no where else in the world. The preserve offers visitors the opportunity to explore several desert palm oases (which are fed by a constant flow of water coming from the San Andreas Fault). The largest and most easily assessable by car is the Thousand Palms Oasis. This oasis is located at the Preserve’s Visitor Center and is right off Thousand Palms Road. Here you will find easy trails and board walks that take you through an amazing dense grove of fan palms, cattails and high reed grasses. The Visitor Center offers a wealth of information regarding the preserve’s history, the resident animals and the numerous hikes that you can take to other oasis and viewpoints. We decided to hike out to the McCallum Grove Oasis and then do the Moon Country loop trail totaling about 4.5 miles. McCallum Grove is about one mile north from the Visitor Center. The trail is level, well traveled and takes your through typical desert flora. What makes The McCallum Grove unique from the other oasis is it has a large pond and the water contains Desert Pupfish. These minnow sized fish were placed here to protect them against extinction. Near this oasis we picked up the Moon Country loop trail. This is an easy trail the takes you up the ridge along a large wash area and loops down back through the same wash area to the Visitor Center. The terrain is very open but the trail is well marked. It’s a nice desert hike with the oases being the prize destinations.



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2 comments:

Jerry and Suzy said...

Ooooh! That sounds great! Suzy and I do not take many hikes, since she has very limited walking ability, but these trails, at least some of them, sound like her mobility scooter could be put to good use.

I do take a short hike by myself occasianally, take pictures, and share them with her, so that could be a possibility here as well.

Thanks for sharing and opening another door that we can someday walk (or roll) through!

Jerry and Suzy

Suzanne and Brad said...

Suzy might be able to get the mobility scooter along the boardwalk, but there were some low points where there was a bit of water - no more than a puddle when it rains - so it could be an option!

Happy New Year!

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