I recently returned from a work trip to southern California, and was able to spend a little time adventuring around before I returned to New York. One of the coolest things I did was go hiking with my coworkers at Mecca Hills Painted Canyon, located just outside of Palm Springs.
Before you even consider doing this hike, be sure you’re driving either an SUV or a rental car with a great insurance policy. The dirt road leading up to the canyon is a couple miles long and super rocky, so it’s easy to damage your car if you’re not careful. (Not that I speak from experience or anything…cough cough.)
I’m not an experienced hiker by any means, so I was a little nervous about the ladder portions of this hike. You’re essentially hiking on rock face, but some spots are too steep or lack footholds for scrambling. Instead, you’ll find ladders propped up against the steepest or most inaccessible portions of the hike. The ladders aren’t really secured in any way, so climbing up and down them can be a little nerve-racking. I have all the balance and grace of a newborn deer on roller skates, but I managed just fine. It’s really not too difficult of a hike, but keep in mind that you’re in the desert and conditions are harsh. Use common sense: drink more water than you think you need, and avoid doing this hike midday.
Also be careful where you put your hands when climbing on the rocks because rattlesnakes. Yay!
I’m cool, guys. Totally cool.
The hike itself is breathtakingly gorgeous, and so different from any others I’ve done. The canyon landscape is at once striking and severe, and each view was better than the last.
If you’re in the Palm Springs area, be sure to check out the Ladder Hike at Mecca Hills Painted Canyon. It’s absolutely stunning!