Don’t let the desert stereotype fool you: Palm Springs has a wet-and-wild side beyond hotel swimming pools. A 3.8-mile (round-trip) hike in Murray Canyon showcases Palm Springs as the Agua Caliente Indians knew it: stately fan palms, towering rock formations, and a spring-fed stream. Murray Canyon Trail traverses a sandy wash and quickly enters the canyon mouth, guarded by tilted rock outcrops pointing toward the sky. Clusters of reeds, grasses, and wild grapes hug the streambanks. Palm trees rustle their fronds, and birds serenade you as you rock-hop across the creek (watch for the endangered least Bell’s vireo, which nests here). The canyon twists and turns, its 50-foot-high walls closing in tighter as you progress. Too soon you reach the trail’s end at a series of small cascades known as the Seven Sisters, a perfect spot to cool your heels.
From the southern end of S. Palm Canyon Dr., bear right at the sign for Palm Canyon/Andreas Canyon. Stop at the toll gate (entrance fee is $9 adult, $5 children), drive about 200 yards, and turn right. Drive past the Andreas Canyon trailhead to the Murray Canyon trailhead. The Indian Canyons Visitor Center has additional info. No dogs.