Cahuilla Canyon is an often-overlooked area as the masses head south to Indian Canyons. And to be honest, it’s not the most interesting of desert hikes, but it does provide a nice view of south Palm Springs on a relatively easy trail.
From the parking area along South Palm Canyon Drive, you can choose a number of paths through the desert as long as you keep heading due west. Eventually, you’ll come to a ridge and then a gulley, and you’ll want to stay south of both. At this point, there is only one easy-to-follow trail (although I did deviate on a side trip down through the gulley in the map below).
Continue west until the canyon walls start to close in and the vegetation gets thicker. The trail will end at a single palm tree, and there is a seasonal waterfall nearby, although when I visited in mid-February, it was dry. The palm tree is a good place to relax and take in the view of south Palm Springs before heading back the way you came.
The round-trip is about 3 miles and includes a deceptively easy 670-foot elevation gain.