Muchas Palmas

Visiting Dos Palmas Preserve and the International Banana Museum Near the Salton Sea

No California desert trip is complete without a visit to an oasis, and on a Salton Sea sojourn, that means a 1-mile (round-trip) out-and-back walk to palm tree heaven: Dos Palmas Preserve just northeast of the sea.

Park in the small lot and take the rock-bordered San Andres Trail, named for (but not spelled like) the famous fault line. Pass under a gate and after just a half-mile, head straight into the shaded grove. It is an impressive array of bushy, spring-fed fan palms (definitely more than _dos _of them grow here), and the perfect spot for picnic on a sunny day. Look for the hardy desert pupfish in the water, dragonflies skimming over it, and soaring peregrine and prairie falcons high above, scouting for a meal.

The path meanders around the oasis before connecting with the wider dirt road that connects to the main path outside of the grove. Take this back toward your car and the Orocopia Mountains in the distance. Before leaving the area, check out an artistic oasis just a short drive away at 70th Avenue and Sea View Way—part of the 2019 Desert X art project that runs through April 21. An exhibit consisting of five sets of stairs with inscriptions in Spanish and English offers viewpoints on the Salton Sea and its neighboring environments. As with the palm oasis, it’s a great chance to change your perspective on the Salton Sea and the beauty of the desert that surrounds it.

BONUS WEIRDNESS: Make your journey truly fruitful with a stop at the nearby International Banana Museum. Its _appeel _lies in a seemingly endless assemblage of banana-themed gee-gaws. Browse at will; then stay for the delicious banana shakes that the owners make by hand. Enjoy it (or any of their other banana treats) at the bar while taking in all the various whatchamacallits that honor our favorite yellow fruit.

To get to Dos Palmas, take the I-10 east to Indio to CA-86 south to CA-111. After 11 miles, head east on Parkside Dr. Turn right onto Powerline Rd. for 1.5 miles followed by a left onto Sea Breeze Dr. (dirt road). After 2 miles you will reach the small lot and trailhead. To get to the International Banana Museum, return to CA-111 and head north 2 miles. Dog-friendly!

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