Tahquitz Canyon Loop Trail

Tahquitz Canyon is in the Agua Caliente Indian Preserve in Palm Springs. The hike to the falls is an easy 1.7 miles roundtrip. This is one of my favorite hikes we’ve done! The big payoff is a 60 foot waterfall with a large swimming hole!

Hours & Admission

We did this hike at the end of June and it was HOT! The trail is accessible 7:30am – 5pm. It’s open every day Sept 1 – July 4 and Friday, Saturday & Sunday only between July 5 – August 31. We arrived at 8am and it was already 90 degrees! When we checked in at the Visitor’s Center they were strictly enforcing that every hiker had to carry a minimum of 32oz of water. Admission was $12.50/adult and $6 for ages 6-12 (under 6 is free).

During non-Covid times, there are free (with paid admission) ranger led hikes several times a day to learn more about the flora, fauna, and history of the canyon.

The Hike

Starting the hike at 8am - already 90 degrees! Tahquitz Falls Palm Springs, California
Starting the hike at 8am – already 90 degrees!

About 10 minutes into our hike we noticed a group of people staring off into the distance. So naturally we stopped to see what they were looking at – a big horn sheep! It blended in so well – we probably would have walked right past it!

Ran into this Big Horn Sheep within the first 10 minutes of the hike! Tahquitz Falls Hike, Palm Springs California
Ran into this Big Horn Sheep within the first 10 minutes of the hike!

The trail starts off in full sun. It’s mostly sandy & flat, but there were some rocky parts too. About a third of the way there, we began hiking along a stream and the dry landscape changed to lush & green.

The trail turned surprisingly lush! Tahquitz Falls Hike; Palm Springs, California
The trail turned surprisingly lush!

We came across this small waterfall (about 5 feet tall) and my kids were disappointed because they thought I had really oversold the waterfall! I panicked for a few seconds and then assured them (and myself) that we weren’t there yet!

This is the decoy waterfall! Tahquitz Falls Hike Palm Springs CA
This is the decoy waterfall!

When we finally made it to the end it was obvious! We arrived before 8:30 and there were already about 15 other people there. We left our shoes & socks on the rocks and jumped into the frigid water in our clothes! Usually, I’m a wimp when it comes to cold water, but I got all the way in and even swam out to the base of the waterfall!

Tahquitz Falls! A hidden oasis! Palm Springs, California
Tahquitz Falls! A hidden oasis!
The frigid water felt amazing! Tahquitz Falls Hike. Palm Springs, California
The frigid water felt amazing!
Rock hopping at the falls. Tahquitz Falls Hike, Palm Springs California
Rock hopping at the falls

We stayed for about 30 minutes to swim and relax in the shade. The temperature near the water was significantly cooler than in the sun! I was glad we started the hike so early because I imagine the trail & falls become much more crowded as the day goes on.

The hike back seemed far shorter since it was slightly downhill and we were thoroughly soaked which helped us stay cool.

Leaving the falls and heading back down the trail. Tahquitz Falls Hike. Palm Springs, California
Leaving the falls and heading back down the trail
So many details up close! Tahquitz Falls Hike. Palm Springs, California
So many details up close!
The sandy part of the trail. Tahquitz Falls Hike. Palm Springs, California
The sandy part of the trail

The waterfall and swimming hole were definitely what made this hike so fun for us. The only thing that was strenuous about this hike was the heat. So while this hike would be much cooler in the fall or winter, the highlight for us was being able to swim at the waterfall.

Towards downtown Palm Springs California
Towards downtown Palm Springs

Summary

The roundtrip hike including the 30 minute stop at the waterfall took us less than 90 minutes. We were back at the Visitor’s Center by 9:30am and still had the entire day ahead of us!

I wasn’t thrilled about having to pay $56 for all of us to hike 2 miles, but I’d definitely do it again, especially in the summer. This was a memorable hike and the trail was well-maintained so I’d say it was worth it!

Have you done this hike? What did you think?

Read about all of our favorite things to do in Palm Springs here!

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