One of the most unique places in the Coachella Valley is the Coachella Valley Preserve – Thousand Palms Oasis. If you live in the desert, or are just visiting Greater Palm Springs for a few days, it is definitely a place you should check out. I mean, it’s an oasis…in the desert!  With water and everything!!  Here’s what you should know about it.

What is the Coachella Valley Preserve?

The 17,000 acre site is preserved as it is home to the fringe-toed lizard, which is a creature you won’t find anywhere else in the world (so don’t take one while you’re there, thanks!). The area has 25 miles of hiking trails, and several palm oasis including the biggie: the Thousand Palm Oasis.  These stay full of water thanks to water seeping out of the San Andreas Fault. The hike from the visitor center to the McCallum Pond at the Thousand Palms Oasis is a fairly easy one, mostly flat, and about a mile.

And, since you were afraid to ask, yes, it has some great photo spots for all of your Instagramming needs.

Coachella Valley Preserve walkway through the oasis in Thousand Palms
Coachella Valley Preserve walkway through the oasis

If you are not planning to go (or you want to have all the surprises spoiled for you) you can check out what the preserve is like by watching this video:

Oh and leave your trunks at home people.  Yes, there is water here, but there is no swimming because it’s not allowed (and, honestly, would be gross).

A no swimming sign at the Coachella Valley Preserve Thousand Palms Oasis
Don’t do it!

Where is it?

The Coachella Valley Preserve is on Thousand Palms Canyon Road, which you can access off of Ramon or Washington – depending if you are coming from the east valley or west. At the end of your day, you can head west on Ramon that will lead you to an In-n-Out Burger – which you deserve after a morning of hiking or east to Washington where you will find La Quinta Brewing Company – which you also deserve after a morning of hiking.

Do note: the parking at the Visitor Center is pretty small. Be sure to carpool and get there early. 

Does it cost anything?

No. It’s free. But, they do accept donations – so, if you enjoy your time there, drop some money off before you leave.

A sign from the McCallum Grove at the Thousand Palm Oasis
The trail from the Visitor Center to the McCallum Pond / Thousand Palm Oasis

When should you go?

The CNLM Preserve gates are open from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm most of the year and from 7 am to 5 pm from May through September, when it is super hot.  Even in the winter, the afternoon can be a little toast, so try to get out there earlier rather than later.

Signs posted on the hiking trail inside the Coachella Valley Preserve Thousand Palm Oasis
Signs to guide you on your hike

Is it just an Oasis?  What About those Other Hiking Trails?

Most visitors do the oasis and then bolt.  Which is fine, there are other things in the Coachella Valley to see and do.  But, if you have the time, explore the other trails inside the area – especially if there has been any winter rain as the Spring Bloom can be incredible.

Coachella Valley preserve super bloom
The 2017 Super Bloom at the Coachella Valley Preserve

You can plan out your hike by checking out a map of the trails here and plan your trip by checking out the Preserve’s website.

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