Tahquitz Canyon

A 60-foot waterfall in a most unexpected spot
Balmy weather in the dry Coachella Valley makes this month a rare opportunity for a fair-weather hike to a rushing waterfall in Tahquitz Canyon, part of the Agua Caliente Reservation, just west of Palm Springs.

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

But you don't have to take the guided option ― wander the trails on your own and take time to revel in the canyon's beauty and tranquility. Smell the creosote bushes, listen to the rustle of native desert willow and live oak, watch the bluish black phainopepla birds flit between Western sycamores, and look for the spectacular wildflowers ― California desert bluebells, forget-me-nots, and heliotrope ― just starting to bloom this month.

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