You have to get up pretty early in the morning to enjoy the great outdoors in the desert summer. We’ve been there, done that, and discovered beauty most people never see. Here are some of our favorite ideas. Remember to dress light, take water, give yourself breaks, and plan to finish by 10 a.m. Here we go.
Lace up for Bear Creek Trail, a 4.75-mile La Quinta route that includes a 1.6-mile oasis loop and a 1.5-mile stretch along the wash and mountains with sweeping vistas of Martinez Mountain and the Santa Rosa Mountains and foothills.
Salute the Mighty Sun
Hold your mountain pose in full view of majestic San Jacinto Mountain at Yoga in the Park, an hourlong class offered by Power Yoga Palm Springs Saturdays at 8 a.m. at the Wellness Park in Palm Springs. (Suggested $10 donation benefits local charities.)
Connect with Nature
A surprising variety of plants and wildlife hides in plain sight at Whitewater Preserve off Interstate 10 northwest of Palm Springs. Arrive when this trout farm turned recreation area opens at 8 a.m. to ensure a couple hours of easy hiking. A river does, in fact, run through it.
Take a Dip
Get your cardio in refreshing fashion: freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly. Palm Springs Swim Center and Palm Desert Aquatic Center open for lap swimming at 5:30 a.m. weekdays and 7 a.m. on weekends, and John H. Furbee Aquatics Center in Desert Hot Springs opens weekdays from 6 to 8 a.m.
PHOTO BY ERIN PETERS
View the interior and exterior of artist Doug Aitken’s Mirage, which was part of the Desert X exhibit earlier this year.
Marvel at Great Art
Watch the sunrise reflect off Mirage, a ranch-style house completely surfaced in mirrors by Doug Aitken for the Desert X juggernaut. It’s located in Chino Canyon at the westernmost point of Racquet Club Drive in Palm Springs. Open until October, Monday through Friday, 3:30-7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Occupancy is 25 people at a time inside the house.
See Modern Architecture
Take a walking tour of historic inns in the Palm Springs Tennis Club District or ride a bicycle to iconic landmarks around town. Pro tip: Use the Star Map on our website.
Spot Wild Birds
Take binoculars and a guidebook to Big Morongo Canyon Preserve, a popular birding site with 254 species recorded. Located southeast of Morongo Valley in the Little San Bernardino Mountains, the preserve opens daily at 7:30 a.m. Dogs, bikes, camping, and firearms are prohibited.
Find an Oasis
Traverse the San Andreas Fault en route to Willis Palms Trail, a 3.81-mile loop in the Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve at the northern edge of Indio Hills. Water from the springs along the fault feeds the seeps, creeks, and ponds in the preserve, which opens at 7 a.m.