A 60-foot waterfall in a most unexpected spot

Balmy weather in the dry Coachella Valley makes this month a rareopportunity for a fair-weather hike to a rushing waterfall inTahquitz Canyon, part of the Agua Caliente Reservation, just westof Palm Springs.

In recent years, the Tahquitz Canyon waterfall was little morethan a trickle for much of the time. These days it's a spectacularreward for those willing to make the modestly strenuous 2-mile trekalong clear and fast-running Tahquitz Creek. Ranger-led tours ofthe canyon leave the visitor center every two hours from 8 a.m. to2 p.m.

But you don't have to take the guided option ― wander thetrails on your own and take time to revel in the canyon's beautyand tranquility. Smell the creosote bushes, listen to the rustle ofnative desert willow and live oak, watch the bluish blackphainopepla birds flit between Western sycamores, and look for thespectacular wildflowers ― California desert bluebells,forget-me-nots, and heliotrope ― just starting to bloom thismonth.

Info: Tahquitz Canyon (7:30-5daily, last canyon entry 3:30; $13; 500 W. Mesquite Ave., just westof Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs; 760/416-7044)

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