A Vibrant City
Palm Springs has it all
September 6, 2016
Palm Springs is a great place to undertake outdoor endeavors like hiking and biking. A favorite place to hike for locals and visitors alike is the Coachella Valley Preserve. It is located outside Thousand Palms, CA nestled at the foot of the Indio Hills and is a short 30-minute drive from POSH Palm Springs Inn. The distinctive feature of this delightful haven is the Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve where you can picnic and hike without user fees (though donations are greatly appreciated). There is more than 20,000 acres of desert wilderness, wildlife and 25 miles of trails to explore in the Coachella Valley Preserve. Guided hikes are provided during regular park hours of 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. from May through September and from 7:00 am to 5:00 p.m. October through April.
The Palm House
A truly unique feature of the Coachella Valley Preserve is the rustic visitor center known as the “Palm House”. Built by Paul Wilhelm in the 1935 out of palm trees, the cabin was home to the Wilhelm family and even served as a restaurant called “Last Chance” run by a niece named Dolly. Using only downed palm trees cut to a length of 10 feet then set in a cement base, the house was finished with clay to fill in the gaps between the logs and topped with a palm frond roof. Today it serves as a comprehensive visitor center with an impressive collection of artifacts and historical records.
A Hollywood Connection
Hollywood has also had a fascination with the Thousand Palms Oasis at the Coachella Valley Preserve. The first film to use the oasis as a location was “The Sheik” in 1921 starring Rudolph Valentino and Agnes Ayres. “King of Kings” produced by Cecil B. DeMille was partially filmed in the preserve in 1927. The most recent motion picture to be filmed at the Coachella Valley Preserve was “Tell Them WIllie Boy Is Here” with Robert Redford and Katherine Ross in 1969.
Flora & Fauna
There are several one of a kind species to be found in the Coachella Valley Preserve. The Palm Boring Beetle is a California fan palm specialist first discovered in 1896. There was quite a bit of excitement around its discovery and the botanist W.G. Wright who made the discovery of the giant beetle kept its location a secret initially. Also native to the preserve is the Desert Pupfish, the only fish endemic to the Salton Sink. The Fringe-Toed Lizard prefers the dune areas of the Coachella Valley Preserve and has elongated scales on their hind feet that act like miniature snowshoes for extra traction on loose sand surfaces. A native plant along the sandy margins in and around dunes is the Coachella Valley Milkvetch, also known as “locoweed”. Pink to deep magenta colored flowers can be seen from February through May.
When you visit, please contribute as you see fit to the Coachella Valley Preserve. Your support will be used to preserve the “Palm House,” keep the bathrooms stocked, eradicate invasive species and improve trail access.
Photo Credit: Jordan Whitt, StockSnap.io