The Garstin Trail is a moderate to strenuous hike of about 2 miles (4 miles round-trip) depending on how far you go, as this trail intersects with several other trails in the area. Your beginning elevation is about 740′, and you will have an elevation gain of about 760′ on this hike. The round trip hiking time is about 2 hours, depending on how much you stop to enjoy the views of Palm Springs, the San Jacinto Mountains, and the Coachella Valley that this trail offers.
The Garstin Trail immediately goes uphill, and winds up Smoke Tree Mountain with a series of switch backs. It rises to a plateau connecting with the Shannon, Berns, Wild Horse, and Eagle Canyon Trails. It offers magnificent panoramic views of the Canyon Country Club area, the San Jacinto and and Little San Bernardino Mountains, and Palm Canyon and Palm Springs. Once at the top you are also rewarded with great views of Cathedral City, and the eastern Coachella Valley.
At the top of the Garstin Trail ( elevation 15,22 feet ), there is a trail junction that can connect you with the trails mentioned above, as well with the Wild Horse Trail which can be used to climb Murray Hill (elevation 2,210 feet ), the highest peak in the immediate area. The Murray Hill hike is strenuous, but well worth it. To get to Murray Hill, follow the Garstin to the junction of the Wild Horse Trail (the junction is shortly after you reach the plateau of Smoke Tree Mountain at the top of the Garstin…). Take the Wild Horse Trail and follow the trailheads that lead you to the Clara Burgess Trail. You will keep to the left when you reach the junction of the Wild Horse and the Fern Canyon Trail, and follow that trail up to the top of Murray Hill. It is a hard hike, but well worth it, as you are rewarded with fantastic views of the Coachella Valley from the top of Murray Hill.
Map of the Garstin Trail
Here is a GPS map of the parking area, the traihead, and a hike up the Garstin Trail.