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“Fun hike!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Painted Canyon

Painted Canyon
, Palm Springs, CA
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Ranked #16 of 100 things to do in Palm Springs
Certificate of Excellence
Activities: Hiking, Walking
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Attraction details
Owner description: A variety of colors paint the rocks here, giving this unique location its name.
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
93 reviews
47 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
“Fun hike!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 3, 2014

The painted canyon and ladders canyon loop trail is definitely a highlight of the Palm Springs area. There are actually ladders to help hikers up/down the dry falls in the slot-like canyons. Very cool! I highly recommend this hike as a great introduction to the Mecca Hills. Incidentally, even though the road says 4WD only, I've never seen it not be passable by a car.... as long as you don't drive off the road.

Visited February 2014
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Saskatoon, Sk
Level Contributor
63 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“End of ladder”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 12, 2014

You will be right among the canyon walls, able to see the geckos and the slurry on the canyon walls. Stay on the well used path unless you are a scrambler.
End of one ladder is about 3 feet short to the top, so be prepared to boast yourselves or ask for assistance.

Visited February 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saskatchewan, Canada
Level Contributor
71 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 241 helpful votes
“Better be reasonably fit and agile”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 1, 2014

We clambered over the large rock pile to start the Ladder/Painted Canyon hike. After the first two ladders we thought," Hey, OK then". After the next three we realized that some ladders are less equal and helpful than others. By the time we got to the top of Ladder Canyon, I was glad that the rest of the way would be down hill with only two more ladders to scale.

This is one scenic hike in all directions with some stunning views particularly at the top of Ladder Canyon. Painted canyon is just scenic in itself and is an easy downhill walk.

Pay very close attention to all the rock arrows.

Visited January 2014
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Saginaw, Michigan
Level Contributor
14 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“The most memorable hike we have ever been on!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 22, 2014

This place was absolutely amazing! The scenery was just...wow! We parked our car in the little parking area and set off on the large canyon trail straight in front of the cars (to the east I believe) Hiked in roughly 1/4 of a mile when we came across a huge arrow on the ground made of rocks, pointing us left. It didn't look like much more than a rock fall but we decided to explore it. This is the beginning of the ladder canyon trail. We followed the trails and just took in all of the amazing sights. The ladders were all in good condition, but still be sure to heed caution. Once we reached the top, there was a huge pile of rocks that people have made. I added a rock for myself and we moved on. At the top, there were several different paths we could have taken and weren't sure which one to take. We found another arrow on the ground made of rocks and decided that it must be there for a reason. A bit of advice, follow the little arrows kind of heading in the direction of the cell towers in the distance. Just stay on the little path, following the arrows. This will lead you back down into the main canyon and eventually back to your car. Pack plenty of water, and then pack some more. Snacks as well. We used our GPS to track our movements and round trip was just about 6 miles.

Visited January 2014
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London
Level Contributor
48 reviews
41 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 106 helpful votes
“Rated 22 - Rubbish - it should be No 1”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 10, 2013

You have read this far so you must be interested in hiking/visiting this site. Don't think further, just get on and do it ASAP. It is well worth while. Speaking as a 70 year old pensioner (in good shape, but not fit in the true sense of the word), & taking my 65 y/o wife on this trek (not quite as agile, and needing a slight hand occasionally), we would say this was an average difficulty hike. But let me give you some more (truely honest) tips to convince you.

1. The Canyon is nowhere near Palm Springs - it is 40m south, near Mecca! The dirt road in (Painted Canyon rd) is not difficult to find.

2. The road in should be no problem for a 2w/d, or it was on the day we went. But take it sensibly of course - keeping away from sandy areas

3. Go all the way in on Painted Canyon Rd (4/5miles?), until you hit the obvious 'dead end'/car park. Leave nothing visible in the car/open glove compartment etc - there have been thefts!

4. Get a map off the internet (they are not that good, but do give you a rough guide of terrain, and distances - do NOT go without one. VERY broadly the main hike route of 2/3 hours involves (using VERY rough measurements) .3m up the main canyon, to take a left into the slot canyon. (As other readers say, there are big stone built arrows to give you directions at crucial points mostly - and this is the first one). Then .2m you come to 2 or 3 ladders. Then some .5m of great deep slot walking, to another ladder (I think?). Then another .5m to a fork. I think you should take the right (we took the left and went a bit too far West I believe - but not a major problem - with a basic map - and some confidence!). Then about .5 after the right fork I believe you would see an obvious route to climb out of the top end of the slot canyon onto a v/g 360 degree view point of the surrounds - and particularly the main deep canyon you started in - to your right. In front of you are radio masts - follow the clear path towards them for about 1m. then there is a clear path off to the right, down into the main canyon. This is the painted canyon - called this because it has different colour bands of sedimentary sandstone rock, and black and white striped gneiss metamorphic rock. These are best seen wet - but that is rare here of course! The 'painted' effect is not the same, or as good, as that at the Painted Hills, John Day in Oregon, but there is no 'slot' in Oregon! From here it is a 2m walk on the canyon riverbed back to the car park.

5. You can do this 'loop' the other way - but I suggest not. The 2m walk on the river bed is on sand/gravel, and hard work - much harder if you go uphill!

6. You only need trainers, though hiking boots are much better.

7. We saw a family of 7 , including a girl of 6 & boy of 7 completing the trek.

So if you are in reasonable shape, adventurous, up for it - you have no excuse - get on with it.

Visited December 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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