Best outdoor activities in Palm Springs

Isabelle, the ‘vanishing woman’

Palm Springs is most definitely one of the best places to visit if you are in the Coachella Valley region. Of course, you could spend time indoors walking through various museums or trying out all of the best restaurants, but you could also spend entire days outdoors just soaking in the California sun. While the options seem endless, read on for some great outdoor activities to consider during your trip to Palm Springs.

Best outdoor activities in Palm Springs

Hiking in Palm Springs & area

Just looking up at the massive San Jacinto Mountains that surround Palm Springs gives visitors a strong idea that hiking is a common activity in the area. Palm Springs has countless trails available for everyone regardless of age or expertise level. Sites like AllTrails can help you figure out which trek would be right for you and your group (if applicable) and many even offer reviews from other hikers so you can read about people’s first-hand experiences with each trail. Pro tip: It is normally advised to take hikes in the early mornings or evenings, as midday hikes in Palm Springs might get too hot.

Joshua Tree Park

Visit parks: Palm Springs’ best parks & green spaces

As with hiking trails, there are countless parks in the Palm Springs region. Of course, Joshua Tree National Park is probably the most popular one due to its beauty, special ecosystem, and rare species of mammals, lizards, insects, and more, but there are also many other smaller parks to visit whether you’re looking for a playground or just a nice spot for a picnic. Ruth Hardy Park is one of the greatest for all kinds of activities, as it offers sand volleyball, tennis, play structures, a basketball court, picnic tables, and more. You also can’t go wrong visiting DeMuth Park, which offers pickleball and tennis courts, baseball and soccer fields, a large playground, and plenty of picnic tables and pedestrian/bike paths. Overall, there is no shortage of parks for you to visit in the area.

Just walk: best walking trails

You could truly spend all day just walking through Palm Springs and basking in the beauty of it all. The expanding 40-mile CV Link transportation system offers a pathway next to busy Highway 111 that allows pedestrians, bicycles, and low-speed vehicles to safely explore the Coachella Valley. Several different segments are currently open and the supporting/funding organizations hope to open many more miles of pathways in the near future.

You can also go for a walk on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars, which features extremely prominent Palm Springs figures including Marilyn Monroe, Bob Hope, Elvis Presley, and many more. The Chamber of Commerce even offers a free smartphone app that guides visitors along the Walk of Stars and explains the significance of the honored celebrities.

See public artwork: Palm Springs babies, the ‘vanishing woman’

Palm Springs is also one of the greatest destinations to see public artwork, as paintings, murals, statues, and other pieces of work are scattered throughout the entire city. Regardless of where you are in Palm Springs, chances are there is some sort of public artwork gem near you. One of the most popular in Palm Springs itself is “Isabelle,” located at 100 W. Tahquitz Canyon Way. A former quantum physicist created the piece, which is a stainless-steel statue of a woman that has strategically-placed see-through features; walk around her 360 degrees and she appears then vanishes.

Across the street from the towerig Kimpton Hotel is another must-see artwork: an old building site that’s so far just a sandy pit has been converted into a giant playpen for the Palm Springs Babies. These giant crawling children will either haunt or fascinate you.

At 200 S. Palm Canyon Drive, you’ll find a mural featuring Marilyn Monroe with a crown of flowers and at 500 N. Palm Canyon Drive, you’ll find the so-called “Rainmaker Fountain,” which seems to “bounce” water up and down. You can also find the “Woman in Glasses” mural at 2481-2483 N. Palm Canyon Drive, which integrates numerous colors and truly shows the “fun” and “retro” vibe of Palm Springs.

the living desert palm desert

The Living Desert

Outdoor outings: Visit the zoo

If you love animals, the outdoor zoo has you covered. Spanning across 80-acres, the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens is one of the greatest attractions in Palm Springs for people of all ages. The zoo has numerous exotic plants and animals as well as incredible seasonal exhibits, interactive activities, live shows, special events, and even the ability to get nose-to-nose with a giraffe during giraffe feeding. Be sure to set aside a few hours for the zoo, as there is so much to take in during your visit.

Enjoy the outdoors and stay dry: Take a driving tour

Modern Tours Palm Springs self-guided driving tours

Want to be outdoors, but not really? Take a driving tour that gives you the option to remain in your car or get out to view legendary homes and landmarks. The Palm Springs area has many driving tours available but Modern Tours Palm Springs is the best with go-anytime self-driving tour options that range from tours that cover the basics of modern architecture, celebrity homes, and even a new Rancho Mirage Driving Tour. You can’t go wrong learning some history while having a good time and seeing amazing architecture and works of art. Many driving tours are free, and some are paid tours that include interactive maps, audio, and visuals to accompany you on your exploration.

Ultimately, there is no need to stay indoors if you are in Palm Springs, so get out and enjoy the sun!

Palm Springs Traveller Staff