Outdoor Recreation in Coachella Valley
Activities keep locals and visitors busy in La Quinta the entire year, from hiking and biking trails to local and regional parks and attractions. As the gateway to national parks and with monuments like the Joshua Tree National Monument only an hour away, La Quinta provides something for everyone. In fact, most adventures begin within a few minutes of La Quinta. We invite you to explore. The desert holds much more than what is readily apparent to the casual observer.
La Quinta Hiking Trails
La Quinta offers some of the most spectacular hiking trails in the Coachella Valley. Listed are the names and corresponding lengths of the trails. Maps and more detailed information are available at the La Quinta Chamber of Commerce and City Hall or at www.playinlaquinta.com.
Cove Oasis Trailhead is 114 open natural acres located at the southernmost part of the Cove. Access to the Cove Oasis area is located on Calle Tecate. Trails such as the Boo Hoff and Bear Creek can be accessed from the trailhead.
Bear Creek Trail runs along Montezuma and Madero in the Cove of La Quinta. This hiking path is 4.75 acres starting on the corner of Eisenhower and Calle Tampico, traveling south toward the Fred Wolff Nature Preserve and the Cove Oasis Trailhead.
The Fred Wolff Nature Preserve is a 20-acre natural open space area that is located just off the Bear Creek Trail.
La Quinta Parks
The local parks in La Quinta are abundant and offer amenities for every occasion. For additional information.
Adams Park is equipped with a playground, interactive water feature and a large field area. This park is located on the corner of Adams and Las Palma.
The La Quinta Civic Center Campus is a 17.5-acre park adjacent to La Quinta City Hall, La Quinta Senior Center and La Quinta Library. It is located on the corner of Washington and Calle Tampico.
Desert Pride Park is a one-acre park located on Birchcrest Circle off Bayberry and Adams.
Eisenhower Park is a half-acre park located on the corner of Eisenhower Drive and Calle Colima.
La Quinta Community Center/Francis Hack Park is located in the heart of the Village and boasts not only a great play space for kids but a baseball field, basketball court, and a BBQ/grill area for family outings.
Fritz Burns Park for kids is a 12-acre park located on the corner of Avenue 52 and Avenida Bermudas.
La Quinta Park, with 18 acres, is the City’s largest park, located across from La Quinta High School on the corner of Adams and Westward Ho.
La Quinta Sports Complex is a 16.75-acre park located across from La Quinta Middle School on Park Avenue.
Monticello Park is a four-acre park located on the corner of Jefferson and Fred Waring.
Saguaro Park is a one-acre park located between Saguaro and Bottlebrush off Washington.
Seasons Park is a park located at Calle Las Ramblas and Cloud View Way, near Adams Elementary School.
Velasco Park is a quarter-acre park located on the corner of Avenida Velasco and Calle Temecula.
Regional Parks & Attractions
A unique regional park, Lake Cahuilla is located approximately four miles southeast of La Quinta. Lake Cahuilla has RV campsites available with electricity and water hookups and individual camping on a first-come first-served basis. Other amenities include shore fishing in the 135-acre stocked lake, centrally located showers, a dump station, equestrian and hiking trails, and picnicking. The swimming pool is open to the public from mid-April to mid-October, Saturday and Sunday only. 58-075 Jefferson Street, La Quinta, CA 92253. (760) 564-4712
The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
The Aerial Tramway is the world’s largest rotating tramcar system. Built in 1963 as a way of getting to Mount San Jacinto State Park and Wilderness from the floor of the Coachella Valley, the ride up North America’s sheerest mountain face passes through several temperate zones on its way to the Mountain Station at over 8,500 feet above sea level. Some say it is like a motor trip from Mexico to Canada representing various geologic and climatic changes.
With breathtaking views year round, there are four seasons that offer many outdoor activities to include areas to camp, hike, cross-country ski and more. Or, just relax and enjoy the scenery and outdoors!
Dine, shop and enjoy the spectacular views at the top of the mountain. The tram ride lasts 10-15 minutes each way and departs every 30 minutes. For hours of operation and reservations, call toll free at (800) 208-4421.
San Andreas Fault
The Southern segment of the San Andreas Fault is from Cajon Pass and runs about 180 miles to its end on the shores of the Salton Sea. It splits into two strands in the San Bernardino Mountains that rejoin near Indio, in the low-lying Coachella Valley. There is some seismic creep documented in parts of this segment. At its south end, the motion between the Pacific and North American plates shift to a stair step series of spreading centers and faults that run down the Gulf of California. The southern segment has not ruptured since some time before 1700, and it is widely considered “overdue” for an earthquake of approximately magnitude 8.
National Monuments and Parks
Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument
Just a short drive away is the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument that was established by an Act of Congress on October 24, 2000. The Santa Rosa and San Jacinto mountains rise abruptly from the desert floor, reaching an elevation of 10,834 feet at the summit of Mount San Jacinto.
Providing a picturesque backdrop to local communities, the National Monument significantly contributes to the Coachella Valley’s lure as a popular resort and retirement community. It is also a desirable backcountry destination that can be accessed via trails from both the valley floor and the alpine village of Idyllwild. For more information contact the Monument Visitor Center at (760) 862-9984.
Joshua Tree National Monument
Joshua Tree National Park, which is approximately 70 miles or 1.5 hour’s drive from La Quinta, offers visitors endless opportunities for exploration and discovery. The park is always open and may be visited anytime of year. Visitation increases as temperatures moderate in the fall, peaks during spring wildflower season and diminishes during the heat of summer. There are three park entrance stations:
- The west entrance is located five miles south of the junction of Highway 62 and Park Boulevard at Joshua Tree Village.
- The north entrance is in Twentynine Palms, three miles south of the junction of Highway 62 and Utah Trail.
- The south entrance at Cottonwood Spring, which lies 25 miles east of Indio, can be approached from the east or west, also via Interstate 10.
Depending on the number of hours you have to spend, your interests and energy, here are some ideas to consider:
If you have four hours or less, stop by a visitor center where park staff will be happy to help you plan your visit to one or more of the 12 self-guiding nature trails. Consider experiencing at least one of these walks during a short park visit. On clear days, the vista from Keys View extends beyond the Salton Sea to Mexico and is well worth the additional 20-minute drive.
If you plan to spend an entire day, there will be time to sample one or more hiking trails. A ranger program will add enjoyment and understanding to your visit. Or, October through May, call ahead and reserve a spot on the popular Keys Ranch guided walking tour.
If solitude is what you are after, plan an all-day hike into the backcountry. If you would like to experience the desert from the seat of a mountain bike, the park offers an extensive network of dirt roads that make for safer cycling with fewer crowds than the paved main roads. Joshua Tree is a popular rock-climbing area. Many visitors enjoy just watching the climbers in action.
With more than one day in the park, your options increase. There are nine campgrounds, and backcountry camping is permitted. For “peak baggers,” the park has 10 mountains greater than 5,000 feet in elevation. Or, make it your goal to hike to all five of the park’s fan palm oases. Other trails lead you to remnants of the gold mining era, a colorful part of the park’s cultural history. Whatever you choose, your time will be rewarding.
For additional information contact the Joshua Tree National Park Association at joshuatree.org or (760) 367-5525.