Palm Canyon


The palm canyon is definitely one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. Not only is it stunning but it is also a place where Native Americans lived for many years. As I have always had a special interest in Native American people and the culture it was an amazing feeling to walk where they had gone before.

Fifteen miles long, Palm Canyon is one of the areas of great beauty in Western North America. Its indigenous flora and fauna, which the Cahuilla people so expertly used, and its abundant Washingtonia filifera (California Fan Palm) are breathtaking contrasts to the stark rocky gorges and barren desert lands beyond. A moderately graded foot path winds down into the canyon for picnicking near the stream, meditation, exploring, hiking or horseback riding.

Centuries ago, ancestors of the Agua Caliente Cahuilla Indians settled in the area. They developed complex communities in the Palm, Murray, Andreas, Tahquitz and Chino Canyons. With an abundant water supply, the plants, animals and Cahuilla Indians thrived. They grew crops of melons, squash, beans and corn. They gathered plants and seeds for food, medicines and basket weaving. The Cahuilla Indians were industrious and creative with a reputation for independence, integrity and peace. They believed this productive land of their ancestors would always be theirs. However in 1876, the US federal government deeded in trust to the Cahuilla people 32000 acres for their homeland. At the same time, they gave the southern Californian railroad 10 miles of odd sections of land to induce them to build the railroad. Of the reservation’s 32000 acres, some 6700 lie within the Palm Springs city limits. The remaining sections fan out across the desert and mountains in a checkerboard pattern.

Below are a selection of photographs from my visit there.