Hiking is a rewarding outdoor activity, but there are a few things that every Hiker should know before they head out for the trail. Here in the desert bringing plenty of water Bringing plenty of water along with you in a good Hydration Pack or Hydroflask along with you is probably the most important thing to remember. On average a hiker will consume approximately two gallons of water per person per day when the temperature is around 100 degrees Fahrenheit; and even more as the temperature goes higher ( as it tends to do here in Palm Springs). It can also get very cold during the winter months here in the desert, especially when attempting to hike to the Palm Springs Tram. Always wear proper clothing and have additional clothing available in case the weather conditions turn extreme (hotter or colder than expected). Failure to do so may result in your having to be rescued, or in your death.
I can’t say enough about the need to carry enough water, for more information on water needs while hiking in Palm Springs, click HERE
You should also have good hiking boots instead of walking shoes. Many of the trails have loose sand and dirt and you will need the extra traction. Be sure to check out the bottoms to look for good traction when buying your boots. The hiking boots being sold today are much lighter and more comfortable than the hiking boots of a few years ago.
Another helpful hint for any hiker may sound funny, but don’t forget to trim your toenails! On the downhill part of the hike you will be VERY glad you did. If you don’t, your big toe will be pushed into the front of your boots, and it will cause much MISERY !
You should always check out the weather reports before heading off into the backcountry. Even here in the desert, you can be caught by a storm and get into trouble. Some of the storms can be brutal up in the hills surrounding Palm Springs.
It is a good idea to let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return just in case something happens to you. You should also never hike alone, and you should always carry a cell phone.
Items To Take With You On A Hike
- Water ( like I said, you can’t have enough)
- Food. We usually carry Apples or other fruit, some string cheese, and energy bars like Cliff or Luna Bars.
- Trekking Poles or a walking sticks. You can have one, or two whatever your prefer. They really help absorb the shock on your knees while going downhill, and they add power on the ascent. There are some nice trekking poles out there starting around $35. If that is not in your budget, do like I did and find ski poles at a thrift store for about $2.
- Compass and a map of the area. Most of the trails listed on this website are really easy to follow, but it is a good idea to carry these items. I also recommend a good and a handheld GPS unit, but don’t rely on modern technology, have a Compass as well. You can purchase Philip Ferranti’s book 140 Great Hikes in and Near Palm Springs; which is a great companion for hiking in the Palm Springs area.
- A good breathable Hiking Hat to keep the sun off your head and face. Baseball hats tend to trap heat.
- An outdoor safety and survival kit , or matches, a lighter, or a dependable fire starter of some kind (you just never know when you will need them).
- A flashlight. I know, you are going on a DAY HIKE right? But if something happens and you are out there after dark, you will be glad you did.
- Good sunblock that can resist sweat ( the higher the SPF number the better ).
- Aspirin, ibuprofen, or whatever pain reliever you prefer.
- A good first aid kit. Here in the desert it is also a good idea to carry a snakebite kit (it is rare to see Rattlesnakes if you STAY ON THE TRAIL, but it does happen).
- A good outdoor survival knife.
- A good camera (don’t depend on cellphone photos, get a good camera …) and binoculars.
- Imodium … What can I say?
- A ChapStick or other lip balm.
- Kleenex and Toilet paper (Kind of speaks for itself…)
- And always have a cell phone in case of emergency (but only in emergency, stay off it and enjoy nature).
Always remember to use common sense when hiking, and STAY ON THE TRAIL. Please pack EVERYTHING that you bring on the hike back out with you. Please don’t leave trash behind on the trail when you leave.
Also, please leave plants, rocks and any historical artifacts as you find them.
Please use your brain hikers!
No matter when you go hiking in the desert always have the correct equipment and lots and lots of water. Every week several hikers are having to be rescued because they either wander off the trails and get lost, or run out of water. Please don’t be one of those folks. Always carry more water than you think you will need, and don’t wander off the established trails.
Hiking in and around Palm Springs can be very dangerous. Just because it is a desert doesn’t mean it will not get cold in the winter, and it definitely gets very hot in the summer. As much as I like hiking in the Palm Springs area I recommend that you don’t hike in the area in the summer unless you are a very experienced hiker and you have the proper equipment and lots of water. Desert weather can be very hot in the summer, and very cold in the winter, and it can be windy and very dangerous. Wear proper clothing, have proper equipment and follow these hiking tips or you may pay with your life.