palmdesertaswBeginning Elevation 1000′

Elevation Gain 1,300′

Location: Drive up Highway 74 from Palm Desert, the parking area is located on the right hand side about 1/4 mile after you pass Bighorn Country Club. After parking, follow the signs to the trailhead.

If you are ready to experience some of the most beautiful hiking the Palm Springs area has to offer, grab your CamelBak, other Hydration Pack or Hydroflask and get out on the trail!

The Art Smith Trail, named for Art Smith, Trail Boss of the Desert Riders, begins in Palm Desert, and links to the west with the Palm Canyon area trails. According to Art Smith’s granddaughter, ” The trail was named after him because he spent years working to develop many of the trails in Palm Springs. The other trails were named after other people for different reasons. His desire was for the betterment of trails in the Palm Springs area, and for all trails to be enjoyed by all that either walked, cycled or rode horses. At his memorial service, one gentleman spoke about visiting him in the hospital before he died.  He gave the man a list of the next things to do for the next trail.  He was always working in one way or another even after his health was failing on developing trails in Palm Springs”.

Art Smith on his horse. Photo courtesy of Vicki Piippo, Art Smith's Granddaughter.

Art Smith on his horse. Photo courtesy of Vicki Piippo, Art Smith’s Granddaughter.

This trail takes you through several palm oasis, and is decorated with abundant plant life. The first oasis is reached after a short hike, the others are a little more difficult to hike to. After about 5 miles the Art Smith Trail crosses the upper reaches of Magnesia Canyon, then on to the Hahn Buena Vista Trails. The trail intersects the Hahn Buena Vista trail at the Dunn Road. Near this intersection are picnic tables and a horse tie rack. This trail offers scenic overlooks, panoramic views, and the possibility of viewing Bighorn Sheep and other wildlife. During most of the year, this trail is restricted to hikers only, no dogs are allowed because of the Big Horn Sheep. There is also a ban on hikers for a good portion of the year ( yes, the best time of the year to hike . . . ) so check the trailhead before planning a hike here.

Remember to always bring more water than you think you will need and follow these hiking tips.