Desert Adventures Red Jeep Tours are a must for anyone who likes a little untraditional sightseeing—and a little dose of adrenaline. Hop into an open-air Jeep for a range of desert adventure. Our favorites? The sunset tour of the private Metate Ranch to see the desert hills bathed in pastel (and the nighttime version for open-sky stargazing), or the Palm Springs Canyon expedition that takes you through Stark-Trek style landscapes and ancient, rainbow-colored rock formations overlooking the Salton Sea.
MOUNTAINTOP TRAM RIDE
The largest rotating tram-car in the world, the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway starts next to the Welcome to Palm Springs ‘selfie sign’ as you come into town and takes you in a full-glass gondola up 2.5 glorious miles to the top of the Mt. San Jacinto Mountains. Make sure to bring a jacket, as there’s a 20-degree drop in temperature (and sometimes snow) at the ascent. There are 50 miles of hiking trails to wander once you get there, plus a casual café and a special-occasion restaurant. Time your return trip to be right before dusk for views of the Coachella Valley as sunset turns the sky cotton-candy shades and the city lights start to glow.
A LEGENDARY WATERFALL OASIS
Head to the mystical Tahquitz Canyon, an oasis in the desert with rock art, ancient irrigation systems, and a seasonal 60-foot waterfall. Within the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians Reservation, Tahquitz is known for its beautiful terrain and legends that have been passed down through generations. Try one of the rocky-lined trails or a ranger-led tour to hear stories of the Canyon’s past—and take in the beauty of native lands surrounded by Insta-worthy views.
See the desert from a birds-eye view with a flight on an open-cockpit, 1940s Stearman Biplane with Palm Springs Biplanes. With goggles on and the wind in your hair, soar over the city, the canyons and the Coachella Valley—and try a sunrise flight for a uniquely spectacular, one-of-a-kind journey to a bygone era.
CACTUS TO CLOUDS
Called the hardest dayhike in the world by Backpack Magazine, the Cactus to Clouds trail is a must for outdoor enthusiasts. The 20-mile hike starts on the desert floor in downtown Palm Springs and climbs more than 10,000 feet to the summit of Mt. San Jacinto, past stunning scenery and beautiful wildflowers along the way. Only recommended for very experienced adventurers, and is best from March through October.