Our favorite destination for December vacation is always a warm location. This year we drove down south to Palm Springs. Its a desert resort city located in the Coachella Valley. Temperature during the day was very comfortable (around 80 deg F) and the nights were a little cold (50 deg F). A thin sweater was enough to keep us comfortable in this weather. The city looks beautiful with umpteen Palm trees everywhere around.
Drove there with our friends. There are so many options these days for accommodation. With kids renting a home or a condo is very comfortable. All of us enjoy the space :). This time we rented a beautiful condo in one of the resorts in Rancho Mirage. The condos were built around a golf course. This vacation was not very packed with things to do outdoors. Took it easy, had a relaxed breakfast every morning and saved time to cook some yummy snacks. We enjoy cooking as a groupHere is a glimpse of some of the stuff we had.
Since the weather was warm, did outdoor activities at the places below.
day 1 – Joshua Tree National Park
From the park entrance we drove for 2 miles and stopped at one of the points to take pictures with the beautiful Joshua trees. There were also huge rocks which we climbed up to get a beautiful views of the area. Kids were very enthusiastic, they went up in not time. The ascend/descend was very exciting and adventurous.
It was close to sunset, but we wanted to hike a small trail. Drove to the Barker Dam trail which is a 1.5 miles loop. Very easy to hike, saw some stunning views on the way to the dam. We spotted a lake which had very still water almost looked like a mirror. This hike took about an hour. Desert also had some pretty colored plants.
day 2 – Painted Canyon – Mecca ladder canyon trail
This trail is a hidden gem, named by the many ladders that help the hikers to get around the steep areas in the beautiful canyon. Painted canyon is in the desert city of Mecca that is located 40 miles southeast of Palm Springs. The approach road is very muddy and narrow. We had to take extra care driving(@ 5-10 miles/hr speed) there. The dead end of dirt road will lead to the parking lot. Trail starts after a 0.5 mile walk from the parking lot.
We walked in to the path thru the huge rocks which lead to the first ladder. Some part of the hike had very narrow paths with beautifully colored huge rocks and more ladders.
Hiked to the top of the Mecca hills which was about 450 ft of elevation.
Distant view for the Salton Sea..
There were no sign boards or markings of any kind that directs the hikers. We had decided to return back on the path we had climbed up. Most of the folks were returning in the path they climbed up, very few knew about exact path to the loop. Met a local family on the top of the hill, they told us about the path back to the parking lot, so that we could complete the loop. The climb down was much longer but easier path with only 2 ladders. Spotted some really beautiful colored rocks along the path. The entire loop was about 6 miles which took 4 hours to complete. We really enjoyed this hike. I would say the best, experience is great as we went in a big group.
More colored rocks and the view during sunset.
Palm Springs is also known to have many windmills.