Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Palm Canyon to Stone Pools (Indian Canyons - Agua Caliente Indian Reservation - Palm Springs, CA) - 12/14/14

Palm Canyon

Stone Pools (Dry)

Beginning Hike Down from Trading Post

 The southwest acreage near Palm Springs is owned by the Agua Caliente Indian tribe. Here, the tribe maintains a collection of trails called Indian Canyons. One of the main canyons is called Palm Canyon. The trailhead for this hike is located at the Trading Post parking lot where a flock of hummingbirds greet the visitors. Today's hike would travel a length of Palm Canyon to a place the tribe have named Stone Pools. Ten hikers dropped down the switchback from the Trading Post to the palm tree lined canyon stream.

Crossing the Palm Canyon Stream
 The very well-maintained trail leads hikers up the canyon along the stream with one stream crossing on flat rocks placed in the water.

Starting Up the Stone Pools Trail
 In the upper portion of this part of the canyon, there is evidence of a forest fire from years ago. The California Palms are burned at the trunk but the tops are still alive.

View Back

 At a signed junction, we turned right to stay in the main Palm Canyon leading uphill to the right. This started a formidable climb on a nice trail that hung above the main canyon fork. We were climbing up toward the saddle ridges in a straight line. The desert terrain was colorful after the rain that had fallen two days before. Partially burnt chollas stuck up around us and the San Jacinto Mountains rose steeply up to our right.

Hikers and Bikers Meeting in the Middle of Nowhere

 The only place providing different scenery was a wide wash crossing. When we got there, there was a group of bikers taking a break. They had come in from the wash. We continued after speaking, going across the wash and a bit further to a signed junction. Stone Pools were indicated to the right going down the small canyon. Indian Potrero was indicated in the opposite direction.

Stone Pools Upstream
 Not far downstream, we came to an area of granite in the middle of the wash. The granite had several potholes, some of which were quite large. There was a smattering of water held in a few of these holes presumably from the small amount of recent rain.

Stone Pools Downstream
 This was our turnaround point so we sat and enjoyed our break. The Stone Pools are probably much more interesting during a rainy period but, the area was pretty and different.

Return Hike

 We returned the way we came passing several recreational hikers on the way. The views going down were more beautiful than going up as we could see more of the canyon beside us. It was a nice hike to end the Palm Springs weekend.

6 miles; 1100 feet elevation gain; 2.75 hours

Dropping Back Down to Canyon

John Hikes Palm Canyon

Burned Area in Palm Canyon

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