Up for a challenge? Prove your hiking mettle in the shadow of the massive Mt. San Jacinto.
Sitting in the warm, sunny Coachella Valley, Palm Springs provides numerous options for adventurous explorers. San Bernardino National Forest is to the west and Joshua Tree National Park to the east. Palm Springs itself is overlooked by the impressive Mt. San Jacinto. The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is an absolute don't miss—unless you're scared of heights! This 10-minute trip gives you a tremendous view of the valley of Chino Canyon. The 2.5-mile trip ends in Mt. San Jacinto State Park at an elevation of about 8,500 feet. Enjoy the beautiful overlooks from the park's observation decks and hiking trails. Hipcampers looking for a real hiking challenge can get to Mt. San Jacinto's peak the old-fashioned way. The 14.5-mile Cactus to Clouds Trail goes all the way from Palm Springs to the mountaintop. It also gains just over 10,000 feet of elevation on the way! This exceptionally tough hike is unmarked in parts and is recommended for advanced and ambitious hikers only. If heights aren't really your thing, explore the enormous Joshua Tree National Park. This 800,000-acre area sits at the intersection of two major deserts—the Mojave and Colorado. This is an extremely popular camping area, especially from mid-February to mid-May. It can be a little easier to score a campsite during the hot months of summer.