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“One of my favourite hikes” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Painted Canyon

Painted Canyon
Palm Springs, CA
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Ranked #18 of 103 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.
Level Contributor
86 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
“One of my favourite hikes”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 12, 2014

Having hiked extensively on both coasts and in the rockies, appalachians and smoky mountains, this still ranks as one of my favourite day hikes. Starting at the foot of the canyon, rambling over some rocks and up ladders to snake through a narrow crevice, then gradually reaching the summit, this is a spectacular trail. The descent is much easier, and much of the hike back is through a dry river bed. The kids really liked the part of the trail with hundreds of small rock statues that have been assembled by hikers passing through. There are only a few tricky areas where the ladders are a little broken or don't quite reach the top, and young kids or older adults might need assistance.

Visited March 2014
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English first
Yucaipa, California
Level Contributor
52 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 94 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
94 reviews
47 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 63 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.
Saskatoon, Sk
Level Contributor
63 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 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
72 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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