Lush, manicured green lawns fade away as the horse trailer rumbles behind the pick up truck we ride in. Cold air blasts our faces as we take in the desert view from inside our air-conditioned vehicle. The landscape of Coachella Valley in Palm Springs is dry and desolate, yet there is an oasis in the distance. Are those palm trees that I’m seeing?
Bent Palm, Andreas Canyon
Our Smoke Tree Stables wrangler, Corky, unloads three Quarter horses from the trailer. After cinch checks we mount up and ride through Bent Palm, an ideal picnic spot in Andreas Canyon, part of Indian Canyons in Palm Springs, California.
As a Northern California native, this is my first trip to Palm Springs and I am pleasantly surprised of the desert beauty. We ride by a group of park employees who rest in the shade of the giant palms. On this day, they are clearing Agua Caliente Cahuilla Indian reservation owned land of non native, invasive grasses between breaks from the desert heat. Now I see why our saddle bags were each loaded with four water bottles. It is important to stay hydrated in this sweltering heat.
We leave the picnic grounds and palm trees behind us and ride an hour up into the Indian Canyons. The horses carefully pick their way along the shale rock path as our guide points out the different types of cactus and obligingly stops for pictures along the trail.
Other than a group of equestrians from Smoke Tree Stables, no man or animal crosses our path. We are alone with our thoughts. The city of Palm Springs beckons in the distance and a road snakes along the valley floor.
Indian Canyons horseback riding vacation
I imagine how the Native Americans must have felt when they came across this natural palm oasis in Andreas Canyon, with its clear running water and shaded refuge. It’s quite amazing seeing the vibrant green colors against the back drop of the San Jacinto mountain range.
The next time you find yourself in Palm Springs, leave the golf course behind and go on a horseback riding vacation with Smoke Tree Stables. What a trip.
If You Go:
2500 Toledo Avenue, Palm Springs, CA 92264
More information about Palm Springs is available here; www.visitpalmsprings.com