Indian Canyons (And Six Other Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Palm Springs)
Embrace the breathtaking landscape, history, art, and unique pieces of Americana in an unforgettable destination.
The many resorts of Palm Springs are surrounded by desert terrain, mountains, and valleys. That’s why tourism here has been in development for over a century. There are hotels, restaurants, golf courses, and gorgeous mid-century architecture for you to check out.
Besides that, there are festivals to visit and culture to enjoy. Man-made wonders stand out in contrast to the incredible natural landscape, combining for an experience of a lifetime.
If you’re looking for more than just relaxation, there’s so much to see here. A weekend won’t be enough to take in everything the area has to offer. That’s why you should check out this list of tourist attractions in Palm Springs to maximize your trip.
1. Experience Indian Canyons
There are several Indian canyons in the wider Palm Springs area. And all of them are unique and present a window into a complex world and a rich past.
The Indian canyons have an aura of detachment from the surrounding landscape and a balance with their environment at the same time. And it consists of three main canyons.
The Palm Canyon simultaneously showcases various indigenous peoples and stands out from the desert landscape, as if belonging to another world. While there, you can find maps, books, Indian art, and handmade artifacts in the Trading Post
Meanwhile, the Andreas Canyon is home to numerous plant species and exotic rock formations that give it a distinct look. Surrounding it is a lush, otherworldly, natural ambience. And in this idyllic and peaceful area, you can find remnants of the ancient Cahuilla culture.
South of Andreas Canyon lies Murray Canyon, which is not as frequently visited as the others. It’s populated by wildlife rarely seen anywhere else. The fauna of Murray Canyon includes several endangered species that have found refuge in this secluded gem.
2. Walk with the Dinosaurs
Right at the edge of the town of Cabazon, passers-by will be surprised by the sight of a gigantic brontosaurus. And lurking behind it is a T-Rex, with its stare fixed firmly on the road.
This is the famous Cabazon Dinosaurs roadside attraction.
The hulking reptilians greet visitors to the small complex, which contains a museum, restaurants, and an open dinosaur exhibition. There are currently over 50 dinosaurs at the display.
The two towering dinos are the unrivaled stars of the show. But they aren’t just sculptures – they’re actual buildings you can enter. Dinny the Dinosaur houses a gift shop and can be visited free of charge, while there’s an admittance fee for Mr. Rex. Once inside, you can climb several flights of stairs to get to the head and view the surrounding area right through its jaws.
3. Take off with the Aerial Tramway
Near the renowned Palm Springs sign and the visitor center that looks like it landed straight from the Star Wars universe lies Tramway Road. This road goes through the desert and into the San Jacinto mountain. And at the end, Palm Springs Aerial Tramway awaits.
The world’s largest rotating gondola travels for about 10 minutes, taking passengers up a further 6,000 feet, and to a 40-degree colder viewpoint. Waiting at the top are observation points, restaurants, theaters, a museum, and a gift shop. Below lies the vast mountain expanse with numerous hiking trails.
Even without all those commodities, the Aerial Tramway ride is fascinating enough. Its line seems to hug the mountainside, and the rotating gondola offers a panoramic view to remember.
4. Explore the Tahquitz Canyon
The one thing you wouldn’t expect to see in a hot, dry environment is a majestic waterfall. That’s why the Tahquitz Canyon will take you by surprise with just that – and plenty more. This oasis abounds with native plants and wildlife thriving around the water.
However, that’s only the natural treasure that can be found in the canyon.
Tahquitz Canyon was historically the home to the Agua Caliente Indians. That’s why it’s filled with numerous traces of their culture. You can still see the early Agua Caliente artifacts in rock art, irrigation systems, and the remnants of villages. Most of these artifacts are millennia old.
5. Take a Stroll in the Garden
Close to the Tahquitz Canyon is the Moorten Botanical Garden.
While not a very large area, the garden has a wonderful nature trail. It houses over 3,000 species and a special area dubbed Cactarium exhibits the rarest plants. The nursery offers a selection of young desert plants you can take home and plant in your own garden.
It’s hard to describe the serenity and beauty of this garden. The only way to experience the feeling is to visit the place yourself.
6. Dive Into the Museums
Museums housed in Palm Springs are a must-see. Their exhibitions cover a wide range of subjects, from nature and art to history and military. But the two you shouldn’t miss out on are the Air Museum and the Art Museum.
Palm Springs Air Museum has more than 40 aircraft on display, most of which are combat planes from the World War II era. The exhibition includes the famed “Flying Fortress” B-17 and many other models. You can also fly in some of the historical planes at a considerable price.
Meanwhile, Palm Springs Art Museum has an impressive collection of pieces, including works by Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, and Marc Chagall. The museum building is a piece of artwork in itself, and it’s small enough to explore in a couple of hours.
7. Pay a Visit to the King
Whether you’re an Elvis Presley fan or not, you should visit the Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway. It’s an excellent opportunity to see a stunning piece of architecture. This is the estate Presley rented with his newly-wed wife in the ’60s for their honeymoon.
Annual concerts and other events also take place on the site. And you’ll often find the King’s tribute artists escorting the tours.
Enjoy Palm Springs, a Place to Be Revisited
There’s something for everyone when visiting Palm Springs. From ancient history to pop-culture, from wonders of nature to modern art and shows, it’s a place always worth returning to.
Much more than a resort haven, there are countless treasures to explore in Palm Springs.