Thursday, December 1, 2011

Hiking “Tire Canyon” near Catalina Spa & RV Resort

Between the Palm Springs/Palm Desert metro areas and the mountains of Joshua Tree NP are hills that follow the San Andreas Fault to the southeast. These hills start very close to the Catalina Spa & RV resort, so today hiked this area with fellow RV'ers Jim & Sharon from the park. We hiked about one mile south until we hit the main drainage wash that runs the length of this range of hills. We followed this wash southeast into the heart of this range (about two miles). 

Deep inside the wash
 As we moved up the wash the canyon it formed got deeper and the terrain became more interesting. There are plenty of interesting eroded areas and side canyons to explore. 
Face Rock
It seems this area is frequented by many people on quads that like to leave automobile tires and gauging from the amount of scat, a popular place for coyotes as well.  Fortunately we saw no coyotes nor people on noisy quads, so it was a peaceful hike. Due to the number of tires we saw, we started referring to this canyon as Tire Canyon. Once we reached the end of the wash, we had to scramble up the steep north side of the canyon to the ridge. Once on the ridge, there are great views of Desert Hot Springs and valley to the southeast. From the ridge we hiked straight down the other side and picked up the main wash channel following it north until we were right back to our RV Park.
Pointing to the scramble we took to the north ridge

If you are staying in the Catalina Spa & RV Park or any nearby RV resorts, this is a fun hike. It was an easy-to-moderate hike except for the 100 yard scrambling up the side of the canyon. This section of the hike could be considered very difficult because of the lose rocks, no proven path to follow and it was darn steep. To make this an easy/moderate hike the whole way, just retrace your steps back down the wash.

View of Desert Hot Springs and cluster of RV parks in foreground
From north ridge into wash with San Jacinto mountains in background

We hiked about 4-5 miles total which took us around 3 hours at an easy pace. 

Enjoy and Happy Trails!

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