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Andreas Canyon

Started: 2020-03-02 21:34:32

Submitted: 2020-03-02 23:22:20

Visibility: World-readable

In which the intrepid narrator wraps up his week in the Southern California sun with a visit to a fan palm oasis

On our last full day in the Southern California sun, I wanted to hike in the Indian Canyons, south of the city of Palm Springs.

By the time we made it out of the villa, it was after noon. We drove towards Palm Springs, skirting the southern part of the city, and turned south into Palm Canyon, a wide canyon stretching gently up to the south from the valley into the mountains flanking the valley.

Palm trees growing in Andreas Canyon
Palm trees growing in Andreas Canyon

Palm Canyon is owned by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, who operate the canyon as a park, charging admission to gain access to the miles of hiking trails. We drove to Andreas Canyon, ate lunch under a towering fan palm tree, then set out on the trail leading into the canyon.

Andreas Canyon Creek
Andreas Canyon Creek

According to the marketing material, Andreas Canyon is the second-largest California fan palm oasis in the world, second only to nearby Palm Canyon. (California fan palms are only native to the deserts of Southern California, which limit the range for this superlative claim.) I can confirm that the valley had a large selection of palm trees running along the creek.

Julian, Calvin, and Kiesa walk up Andreas Canyon
Julian, Calvin, and Kiesa walk up Andreas Canyon

We set out on the portion of the loop trail on the south of the creek, which stayed above the creek on the gentle slope, giving us a view of the palm trees just below us, and of the ridge flanking the creek and the Santa Rosa Mountains climbing above the canyons.

Trail leading around Andreas Canyon
Trail leading around Andreas Canyon

After half a mile in the bright mid-day sun, the trail dropped down to the creek, crossed the creek on a narrow bridge, and turned back down the canyon. A fence blocked the way further into the canyon; it appeared that the fence included gates that would allow flood debris to flow through without getting snagged in the fence, potentially threatening the structural integrity of the fence.

Calvin, Julian, and Kiesa in Andreas Canyon
Calvin, Julian, and Kiesa in Andreas Canyon

The trail clung to the edge of the creek below the canyon walls. The towering palm trees shaded us from the sun, forming a small patch of forest at the bottom of the canyon.

Calvin, Kiesa, and Julian hike in Andreas Canyon
Calvin, Kiesa, and Julian hike in Andreas Canyon

It was quiet and peaceful at the bottom of the canyon, with the breeze blowing softly through the palm trees and the water in the creek babbling happily to itself, rushing over the rocks.

Palm trees along Andreas Canyon Creek
Palm trees along Andreas Canyon Creek

Then we reached the parking lot at the end of the trail, our short hike over. (I would have selected a hike longer than one mile but for Julian. He hiked one mile in about one hour, which seems normal for him.) Calvin and Julian played in the creek for a few minutes before we returned to our resort for the rest of the day.

Julian and Calvin play in Andreas Canyon Creek
Julian and Calvin play in Andreas Canyon Creek

After several days in the pool, Julian decided he didn't want to go swimming again. I took Calvin to the small pool across the parking lot from our villa late in the afternoon, and he swam for an hour before we returned to the villa for the night, ending our visit to the Southern California sun, with only the flight back to Seattle to occupy us on Friday.

Palm Springs from Indian Canyons
Palm Springs from Indian Canyons

I have a few more photos from Andreas Canyon at Photos on 2020-02-20.

this is a neat, if unintelligable, hack
- Jaeger's comment in BMAS::Service::Domain, 11 October 2002