Coral Mountain P300
Boo Hoff Peak P300
Indio Mountain P500
Peak 2,100ft
Eisenhower Mountain

Wed, Feb 27, 2019
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 GPX Profiles: 1 2


Today's peaks were a collection of summits around the community of La Quinta on the west side of the Coachella Valley. The hills here, really the western edge of the Santa Rosa Mtns, are very rugged and make for a stunning backdrop to the retirement and golf communities that use them for a backdrop. Despite their proximity to pavement and civilization, they seem to get very little traffic. I'd spent the night camped further south in the valley where agriculture is still dominant and it isn't hard to find a flat, quiet field, far from traffic. In the morning I was up early and finding my way towards the Lake Cahuilla Recreation Area.

Coral Mountain

Though little more than 500ft in height, the summit has 360ft of prominence, sitting detached from the other peaks of the Santa Rosa Mtns. Though unofficially named, there are numerous references to it in the surrounding communities including the Coral Mtn Estates to the north, the Estate Collection of Coral Mountain to the southeast, and a Coral Mtn Trailhead shown on Google Maps to the north. This isn't any sort of official trailhead, at least currently, lying on undeveloped land on the south side of 58th Ave adjacent to a development that fell by the wayside after being initially graded. There are several dirt roads that can be accesses from the west end of 58th, just before entering Cahuilla Park. The BLM land is signed for no vehicles near the start, but then there are numerous BLM road markers following this that contradict the initial sign. It appears to be regularly driven and the area is also used for overnight stays. It would make for an excellent car camping spot, all perfectly legal, far as I could tell. The highpoint of Coral Mtn is found at the southern end of a modest ridge with access from the west or east. I didn't know about the BLM road on the west side that would make for a shorter approach, so I used another road on the east side. Lots of trash and shooting debris in the area. I managed to drive the jeep to within 1/3mi of the summit to the northeast and went up from there, initially up a wide, steep gully, then along a portion of the summit ridge with some easy class 3. The granitic rock had various soft colors including a light pink that seemed to give credence to the Coral Mtn name. I used this in a register I left at the summit since I found none. While at the summit I noticed the wash to the west that looked to have a road along its length that I thought might be helpful for the next peak. I descended to the southeast as an alternative, finding a trail system at the bottom that I could use to take me up and over a levee and back to my starting point. There were other users of the area on foot, walking and jogging in the early morning, suggesting it's regularly used for recreation.

Boo Hoff Peak

This summit is found about 2mi west of Coral Mtn. I drove back out to 58th Ave and then made my way to the dirt road I'd seen from Coral Mtn's summit. I drove about 2mi to the south and southwest on this decent road (any high-clearance can use it) up Devil Canyon wash to the Wilderness boundary at a TH sign, getting me conveniently within a mile and a quarter of Boo Hoff Peak. I informally named it for the trail that starts at this trailhead and goes for five or six miles through the hills to the southern end of La Quinta. I only discovered the trail upon starting out from the Wilderness sign. I knew my peak was hidden behind a lower summit that is prominent from the trailhead, so I was happy to find there was a trail going at least part way towards my objective to make things easier. After a poorly-defined start where the trail wanders up the main wash, a steel sign points one to the trail exiting the wash to begin the climb through the hills where it is then easy to follow. I hiked along the trail for about a mile until it was skirting the lower summit on the southwest side and within about half a mile of Boo Hoff Peak. Here, I left the trail to head more directly towards the summit, easy cross-country at first, becoming steep for the final 1/5mi up the SE Slopes. I took just under an hour to reach the top with hazy views overlooking Coachella Valley, much like the previous day. I left a register at the rocky summit before starting back down. I took an all-cross-country route as an alternate and a more direct route back to the starting point, but I doubt it saved any time over using the trail. When I got back to the jeep I found another car parked there, its occupants taking a leisurely stroll along the road they'd just driven. I drove back out to 58th Ave before finding my way to La Quinta for the big hike of the day.

Indio Mtn/Peak 2,100ft/Eisenhower Mtn

There is a stretch of rugged ridgeline more than six miles long separating La Quinta to the east from Palm Desert/Deep Canyon/Hidden Valley to the west. There are six summits along the ridge from the highpoint to the south at Coytote BM stretching to La Quinta BM at the other end. I had done Coyote BM some five years earlier so today's effort was intended to take in the other five summits. I managed only to do three of them before growing weary and quitting, done in by a combination of warm temperatures and God-awful amounts of rock. All of the peaks around La Quinta are primarily granite, the terrain covered in tons of rocks that come in all sizes. There's just no easy travel in this area unless you're on the desert floor or one of the trails to the south of La Quinta.

I parked in a suburban cul-de-sac on the west side of La Quinta with easy access to the Bear Creek Trail, an asphalt bike/hike path atop the levy that protects this side of La Quinta from flash floods. There was a convenient set of stairs that cross the levee near where I started, linking to an unsigned trail I found on the opposite side. I followed it only a short distance to get around a bend in a subsidiary ridge, then headed northwest and west up a wash system to reach the main crest. The wash narrowed to a rock-chocked gully, the combination of which I followed for almost an hour. I eventually climbed out of the gully to ascend a subsidiary ridge to the crest, then a short distance north to find my way to the top of Indio Mtn. It was a longish haul in warm weather, taking me more than an hour and a half from the start to reach the summit, a distance of about 2mi with 2,000ft of gain. I found no register here so left a new one before continuing on.

The route ahead looked to be more of the same bouldery terrain, saved only by a bit of breeze blowing along the crest and the fact that most of the elevation gain was done. Still, it was pretty slow going, taking an hour to reach each of the next two peaks, each separated by about a mile of scrambling. For about 20min during this effort, a large black raven seemed to take interest in me, following me along the ridge, flying overhead and making some interesting sounds before finally deciding I was rather boring after all. It was 1:40p by the time I reached the third summit, Eisenhower Mtn, where a partial cross of black PVC pipe can be found. I had plenty of daylight but not enough will to continue along the ridge to the last two summits which looked to be more of the same I'd been working through. I decided to cut my losses before I was really starting to dislike the ridge, figuring I could do the last two at some future date. The return is not as straightforward as the ascent because the north side of La Quinta does not have the convenient Bear Creek Trail access. Instead, there are private golf and tennis communities that own the land right up to the edge of the BLM and state lands. I continued northeast along the ridge to a low saddle where I then descended an unpleasant, rocky gully into the La Quinta Resort Mountain Course. I came out at one of the tees, wondering how long it would take the course marshall to take note of me and run me off. I waited for one party to play through before exiting, then found my way onto the private roads of the La Quinta Resort & Club. This last hour hiking along the roads of La Quinta were less fun, but at least I was done with the boulders for the day. I waved to, and greeted neighbors I came across; they didn't seem to mind me too much, though without sidewalks, it is obvious that walking in the gated community is highly unusual. I was happy that no course marshall or other security forces came by to pester me. Once out onto the more public parts of La Quinta, sidewalks resumed and I found my way back to the start, once again using the Bear Creek Trail. I was done before 4p but felt like I'd put in more than a full day. Temps were in the high 70s and it was just too warm to be out hiking for this long. What happened to all that cold weather from just a few days ago?


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This page last updated: Mon Mar 11 09:27:30 2019
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