Palm Springs is a delight any time of year and these 10 experiences make it even more so

Palm Springs

Palm Springs is a popular destination for sun seekers, golfers and celebrities, but there is more to this desert oasis than meets the eye. There are several other less-travelled hidden gems waiting to be explored. From scenic mountain trails to off-the-beaten-path museums and galleries, here are some of the intriguing hidden treasures of Palm Springs, California.

Fly back in time at the Palm Springs Air Museum

If you are a fan of aviation history, you will love the Palm Springs Air Museum. This museum showcases one of the world’s largest collections of flying Second World War warplanes, many of which were built in Southern California. You can admire the restored aircraft, learn about their roles in the war and even take a flight in some of them. The museum also features related artifacts, artwork and library sources that tell the stories of the pilots and American citizens who contributed to the war effort.

Discover the beauty and culture of Tahquitz Canyon

Tahquitz Canyon is a breathtaking and culturally significant area located on the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians Reservation. Visitors can witness the sheer beauty of the canyon, complete with a magnificent 60-foot waterfall, ancient rock art and intricate native irrigation systems. The Tahquitz Visitor Center provides educational exhibits that delve into the rich history and culture of the area. You can also hike the two-mile loop trail that leads to the waterfall and enjoy the stunning views along the way.

Learn about the Cahuilla people at the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum

The Agua Caliente Cultural Museum is a culture and history museum that focuses on the Cahuilla people of the Coachella Valley. The museum displays an array of artifacts, such as baskets, pottery, tools and clothing, that illustrate the life and traditions of the Cahuilla people. The museum also hosts various programs and events that celebrate and educate about the Cahuilla culture, such as film screenings, lectures, workshops and festivals.

Explore the diverse flora and fauna of the Indian Canyons

The Indian Canyons are deeply revered by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians as their ancestral home. These canyons hold immense importance for both the Cahuilla people and nature enthusiasts alike. From rock art and house pits to irrigation ditches and reservoirs, the canyons offer a glimpse into thousands of years of thriving civilization. You can also explore the diverse flora and fauna of the canyons, such as palm trees, cacti, bighorn sheep and hummingbirds. The canyons offer several hiking trails for different levels of difficulty and scenic views.

Marvel at the whimsical and bizarre Robo Lights

Robo Lights is an outdoor sculpture park of giant pink robots and post-apocalyptic Christmas scenes created by artist Kenny Irwin Jr. This whimsical and bizarre attraction features thousands of recycled materials, such as car parts, mannequins, toilets and toys, that are transformed into colourful and imaginative sculptures. You can walk through the park and marvel at the creativity and eccentricity of Irwin’s vision. Robo Lights is especially spectacular at night when it is illuminated by millions of lights.

Enjoy panoramic views on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

One of the most thrilling and scenic ways to experience Palm Springs is by riding the Aerial Tramway. This is the largest rotating tramway in the world that carries visitors from the desert floor up to an Alpine forest at an elevation of more than 8500 feet. You can enjoy panoramic views of the valley and the mountains as you ascend in a rotating tram car. At the top, you can explore Mount San Jacinto State Park, which offers hiking trails, picnic areas, a natural history museum and even a restaurant.

Visit the unique Cabot’s Pueblo Museum

Cabot’s Pueblo Museum is a Hopi-styled structure that was painstakingly crafted over a 20-year period by Cabot Yerxa, a pioneer, adventurer and artist. The four-storey building is made of reclaimed materials, such as wood, stone and adobe, and contains 35 rooms and 150 windows. The museum displays Yerxa’s collection of Native American art and artifacts, as well as his own paintings and sculptures. The museum also features a Native American art gallery and an authentic trading post.

See the Volkswagen Spider Sculpture

If you are looking for something quirky and fun, you might want to check out the Volkswagen Spider Sculpture. This is a giant spider sculpture made from the iconic Volkswagen Beetle car. The sculpture was created by artist David Nelson Kinney, who used parts from six different cars to create the eight legs, body and head of the spider. The sculpture is located on the side of the road near the Palm Springs International Airport, and is a popular spot for taking photos.

Admire the ancient shiprock

Shiprock is a 250 million-year-old rock formation that has earned a rather unique nickname. The rock resembles a ship’s hull that has been stranded in the desert. The rock is actually a remnant of an ancient volcanic eruption that occurred when the area was covered by an ocean. The rock is composed of basalt, which is a dark and dense volcanic rock. Shiprock is located near the Palm Springs Visitor Center, and is visible from Highway 111.

Relax at the Desert Hot Springs

If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of Palm Springs, you might want to head to the nearby town of Desert Hot Springs. This town is famous for its natural mineral water pools that are heated by geothermal energy. The water is said to have healing properties and can soothe your muscles and joints. You can find several spas and resorts that offer access to these pools, as well as massages, facials and other treatments. You can also enjoy the views of the San Jacinto Mountains and the Coachella Valley from these pools.

Hotels in Palm Springs, California

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