Ultimate Oasis

Hiking Victor Loop in the Agua Caliente Reservation Palm Canyon

Water is life in the desert, and nowhere does the desert come to life more dramatically than in Palm Canyon in the Agua Caliente Reservation's Indian Canyons. Here a walk on the 2.9-mile Victor Loop takes you through the world’s largest California fan palm oasis in the heart of a place the Cahuilla have called home for thousands of years.

Victor Loop begins at the trailhead for Palm Canyon Trail just behind the trading post, which sells maps, books, and refreshments. You will come across a fork almost immediately. Turn right to descend into Palm Canyon. Follow the trail alongside Palm Canyon Creek under the shade of the California fan palms. It's hard to miss the local granite spiny lizards and geckos cooling down in the shade or scurrying across the trail. California tree frogs can also be seen swimming in the water.

After a mile you’ll come across a small trail junction. Follow the sign for Victor Trail and head left. This leg of the trail ascends 250 feet to the canyon’s ridgeline to give you a bird’s-eye view of the oasis. Over the next mile and a half you'll traverse ups and downs, and you may catch a glimpse of a rattlesnake. From here follow the signs directing you back to the trading post. The final quarter-mile of the trail drops you back down beside palm trees and crosses the creek to perfectly bookend this desert adventure.

From the I-10, take the exit for CA-111 toward Palm Springs. Continue straight onto N. Palm Canyon Dr. After 3 miles make a slight right onto S. Palm Canyon Dr. and continue into the Agua Caliente Indian Reservation, where you will pay an entry fee that covers parking and trail access. S. Palm Canyon Dr. ends at the trading post, where you can park for the hike. No dogs.

Trending Stories NorCal

View all Stories
  1. Up Umunhum

    Rising from the Santa Cruz Mountains, Mount Umunhum is one of the Bay Area’s highest points, reaching an impressive 3,486 feet. With the new 7.4-mile (round-trip) addition to the Bay Area Ridge Trail, locals can finally step up to its peak.

    View
  2. Napa's Wild Side

    It’s wine country’s Amazon. Cutting 50 miles through the famous Napa Valley and emptying into San Pablo Bay, the gentle Napa River is an ecological—and recreational—delight. And Napa Valley Paddle helps you enjoy it.

    View
  3. Strolling With Sam

    Most people come to Samuel P. Taylor State Park for the beautiful creekside campground and picnic areas. But the hiking here can be pleasantly peaceful on a short trail featuring old-growth redwood trees.

    View
  4. Sponsored

    Four Ways to Fall for North Lake Tahoe

    As vivid autumn colors start to line the sky and crowds begin to dwindle, North Lake Tahoe’s breathtaking secret season takes over and is a favorite among locals. With turning leaves, crisp air, and 12 towns to explore, North Lake Tahoe is the place to disconnect.

    View

Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Apple of Your Eye

    That fall feeling is definitely in the air and on display at the Oak Glen Preserve. Apple orchards and colorful leaves are a bonus, as are the apple cider donuts and slushies you can enjoy post-hike.

    View
  2. Secluded Royale

    Panoramic coastal views and a killer leg workout combine on this 2.7-mile (round-trip) out-and-back hike to secluded Coast Royale Beach in Orange County

    View
  3. Rock Star Hike

    The sandstone giants of Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park might be the coolest damn formations in SoCal. Explore the craggy slabs on a 2.5-mile hike.

    View
  4. Clarity in Claremont

    The majority of Claremont Hills Wilderness Park is inaccessible, rugged terrain but there’s a 4.9-mile moderate loop that’s well-maintained and feels gloriously far away, despite being close to the city.

    View