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“It' just a fun loop” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Painted Canyon

Painted Canyon
Palm Springs, CA
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Ranked #9 of 105 things to do in Palm Springs
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.
Yucaipa, California
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
24 attraction reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
79 helpful votes 79 helpful votes
“It' just a fun loop”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 11, 2014

Hiker's Rule - never judge a hike based on your view of the general environs and gut feeling. You never know how good a hike is until you do it. This is indeed a very nice hike, and fun, with some geology as well. And varied. I would never do it in summer, or if it looks like rain (I'm sure flash floods have to do with the slot formation - and you never know if it looks inclement).

GPS coordinates for intersection of Box Canyon Road (66th avenue) and Painted Canyon Road are Lat 33.575712 / Long 115.996056. The dirt Road ends at the Parking Lot (don't pull off at a parking place until you know your road has ended, i.e. can't go any further). I think it's a little over 4 miles. It is marked. No cars were broken into when we were there. Regarding wash board - In my Kia Sorento, I found that going 35-40 miles an hour on the washboard was more comfortable than going slower. Watch for on-coming traffic, and don't loose control (I have AWD).

Regarding the trail - at .4 miles into the lovely canyon walk, look on your left for the easy scramble on your left to the slot/ladder part. It is marked with a huge rock arrow on the ground, and a small sign on your right - but unbelievably people still miss it. Do the loop clockwise (meaning the slot part first). If your in a hurry, do the slot up, then back the same way. At the very top of the slot/canyon, you will see some radio towers off in the distance. To find the way into the painted canyon on your right, you will head toward the radio towers in the distance. The trail down into the painted canyon is a little over a mile up, and well marked. Note, the last 100 feet into the canyon is steep, for most, you will be on your butt for at least some of it (not dangerous though). Big note though - when you get to the top of the slot area where you can see the radio towers, there will be a trail down on your right overlooking the painted canyon, going downhill (back toward the parking area). At the very end of that trail is a very nice photo-op into the canyon.

Few last notes - bring water. The high desert trail at the top is very dry! There is no greenery and no blooms (California drought). This part can be attractive in wetter years, but looks scorched now. Total elevation gain is 750 feets (top elevation is around 1400 foot elevation). The Salton Sea is apparent from up there.

Visited March 2014
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70 reviews from our community

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English first
Seattle, Washington
Top Contributor
75 reviews 75 reviews
37 attraction reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
41 helpful votes 41 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saskatoon, Sk
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
14 attraction reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
23 helpful votes 23 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
Top Contributor
69 reviews 69 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 41 cities Reviews in 41 cities
239 helpful votes 239 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
14 reviews 14 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
15 helpful votes 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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