Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Day Trips from Palm Springs & Indio, California

We took many days trips we took while in the Desert Hot Springs/Palm Springs/Indio area ~ you might want to consider one or more of these when you’re in the area:

The Salton Sea, Sonny Bono Salton Sea Wildlife Refuse, Slab City and Salvation Mountain (all along Highway 111) ~ The Salton Sea is larger than Lake Tahoe and is easily accessible for water activities such as boating. We wouldn’t recommend swimming, though not due to its salinity levels (we’ve both swum in the Great Salt Lake and Brad in the Dead Sea), but because there were dead fish all over the beaches – it just didn’t make for an enjoyable day in the sun. Towards the south end of the Salton Sea is the Sonny Bono Salton Sea Wildlife Refuge which houses a variety of mammals, amphibians, reptiles and fish. On the other side of Hwy 111, is the road to Slab City, with its colorful array of people - some transient and some permanent who live “off the grid” and enjoy a unique way of life. Part of Slab City, of course, is Salvation Mountain created over 19 years of work by one man.

Joshua Tree National Park ~ Starting east of Indio on Highway 10, stop at the Cottonwood Visitors Center for some information about the park, get your park pass, and learn about any hikes or ranger programs that may interest you. The southern part of the park does not contain any of the grand Joshua Trees for which the park was named. As you drive north along the main road, the valley is quite dry and (we’re told) the best place for viewing spring wildflowers in March and April. The north end of the park is where you’ll find the Joshua trees and incredible rock piles – each artistic in its own way. Retuned to Palm Spring via Route 62 to I-10. (You’ll even go through a windmill farm along the way!) We wrote a lot about Joshua Tree – look to the right, under the Index, and click on Joshua Tree for more information about hikes, etc….)

Idyllwild ~ This was a great day trip as well, and is written about in depth in our previous post. On this drive you will see incredibly views of the Coachella Valley, horse farms, snow in winter, the San Jacinto Mountains, Lake Hemet, a quaint village, incredible views on the return to I-10 via 243. If you’ d like, you can extend your day by stopping at the Cabazon and Desert Hills Premium Outlets and shop!

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