For an intimate look at the region’s amazing desert environment, plan a visit to one of the palm canyons that lie within Agua Caliente Reservation land. All of the palm canyons—Murray, Andreas, Tahquitz (pronounced “Tah-quits”), Chino, and Palm Canyons—are beautiful, but Palm Canyon is the showstopper. Easily accessed from the end of South Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs, this 15-mile/24-km-long canyon is home to the world's largest stand of California Fan Palm trees—more than 3,000 palms in all.
Native Cahuilla (“Kaw-we-ah”) Indians lived in these cool, natural retreats, and Palm Canyon was a favorite resting spot. Hike along Palm Canyon Trail, moving through a serene world punctuated by birdsong the castanet-click sounds made by the palm fronds moving in the wind. Fees are charged to enter the canyons, and some offer guided tours that shed light on Native American life.