It is a 17,000 acre site that is home to the Coachella Valley fringe-toed lizard, which is found nowhere else in the world. It is also home of the spectacular Thousand Palm Oasis which is fed by water seeping out of the San Andreas Fault. There are also several other palm oases, including the Paul Wilhelm Grove, Willis, Hidden Horseshoe, Pushawalla and Indian Palms oases.
The preserve has several hiking trails including the McCallum, Hidden Palms, Moon Country, Pushawalla and Willis Palms trails.
The Pushawalla trail, which is probably the most strenuous of the trails in the preserve. Climbing from the desert floor just east of the visitor’s center, this trail follows an uplifted section of the Mission Creek Fault, which is part of the San Andreas Fault system.
At the end of the trail is Pushawalla Palms Oasis, which is located in a deep canyon carved into the Indio Hills. It is about a six mile round trip hike, so be sure to take plenty of water, some food, and wear proper shoes and clothing and follow these hiking tips.
If you don’t want to hike that far you can do like I did on my recent hike and drop down from the Pushawalla trail unto the plateau to your right. There is a trail that branches off to your right after about a mile and a half. Just follow it down, and then to your west back to where you first made the climb up the hill.
To reach the Coachella Valley Preserve, take Interstate 10 to the Ramon Road exit. Turn left and follow Ramon Road for several miles and make a left turn on Thousand Palms Canyon Road. The parking area for the Pushawalla trail is a dirt turnout and is located on the right about a mile and a half after turning onto Thousand Palms Canyon Road.
You will see the markers for the trail head at the parking area; just follow the trail until you begin the climb up the side of the hill. At the top there is a sign for the Pushawalla trail pointing to the left. Follow the trail along the narrow uplifted section of the fault for about three miles until it begins the decent into the canyon.