Ladies Peak P300 CS
Peak 1,500ft P300
Murray Hill P500
Peak 2,085ft P300

Feb 28, 2019
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 GPX Profiles: 1 2 3


I spent the night camped in the jeep in the Cove to Lake TH at the southeast end of La Quinta. I had checked all the signage to make sure there wasn't anything to restrict overnight camping. A bit surprising, but it seems this was totally legal, and fairly quiet after about 10p or so as most of the cars in the neighborhood have returned home. I was after a few stray peaks around La Quinta, before moving to a new area.

Ladies Peak

This modest-looking peak is found about a mile and half south of La Quinta at the head of the Bear Creek Wash. It looked easy enough on paper and as I started out from the TH where I'd slept. There are numerous trails in the wash, popular for walking and biking, that can be used to approach the peak from either the east or west side. I used the Boo Hoff Trail (the same I'd used the previous day from its other end) to get within about 0.4mi on the east side before leaving it to head cross-country up steep slopes. As I was making my way up, a bighorn ewe spotted me, then a second. They watched me as I returned the favor, but they eventually decided to leave when it looked like I was getting a bit too close. I reached the summit ridge, only to find the summit was still some ways off, with some tough scrambling terrain between. Three other ewes caught sight of me as I was descending around one pinnacle to a saddle, and pretty soon I was seeing more of them all over the mountain, a few with kids in tow. The ridge became class 3-4 as I found myself on a knife-edged section with cliffs on both sides offering no easy bypass. I spent about 20min on this final 1/10th mile stretch, cautiously making my way along, wondering if I was going to find myself cliffed-out. It seemed I'd picked a difficult route up the east side, though in retrospect I'm not sure there's any easy way to this summit. It was 7:30a, an hour and a half after I'd started out, before I topped out at the now-impressive summit. This was undoubtedly the toughest peak I'd been to on the entire roadtrip. Looking south and west, there appeared to be big cliffs off those sides. The Northwest Ridge seemed to offer a tamer descent, but before heading down, I left a register, giving the peak a name for all the bighorn I found on this peak, more than I'd ever seen in one place before. The NW Ridge started off steep and loose, but manageable, at least until I got to where it dropped off more precipitously. I had to scramble across a class 3-4 section of sketchy rock before reaching a small notch. The west side of this notch was dangerously steep, but the east side offered an easy class 3 exit onto tamer class 2 slopes. There were another dozen sheep found on this side of the mountain as well, though I didn't spot them until I was well below them on my way down. I soon found my way to one of the many bike trails and then cruised my way back to the start by 8:30a.

Peak 1,500ft

This summit is found immediately east of La Quinta. I could have started from the same spot, but chose to move the jeep about half a mile north to a closer starting location. The private Tradition Golf Course is a gated community that butts up against the mountain on this side, making access a little tricky. A quick study of the land usage in the area shows a corner of BLM lands just touching public Avenida Bermudas on the south side of the gated community. There is no fence along the road at this corner, and I was able to hike up and over a low rise to find my way to the wash basin on the south side of the golf resort. I walked up a concete flood control wash at the boundary between the two properties, amused that an expensive-looking camera had been set up in the channel, presumeably to watch for such riff-raff as myself. My ascent route went up a decent subsidiary ridgeline to the southeast, most of it within the BLM lands save for the very starting part. After a pleasant climb with just a bit of class 3 scrambling, I reached the main crest where a short hike to the north got me to the highpoint. Someone had left a 16oz can of Miller Lite tucked under a rock. By the faded paint on the can, I could tell that it was quite old. I left it back where I found it for some future, more adventurous person to sample. I then continued north a short distance to Pt. 1,482ft where a wooden cross with a couple of flags can be found. Why the Swedish flag? Good question, but no obvious answer to be found. I decided to descend the ridge directly west down from this point. The whole ridge appears to be outside the BLM lands and dumps one off at the bottom on the gated community's property. I figured at this point the worst they would do would be to kick me out, so I wasn't much worried about it. It made for an enjoyable descent, taking about 45min, and nobody bothered with me. I went back across the concrete wash at the south end, back on BLM property, then exited back to Aveneda Bermudas via a slightly different route, flatter and easier than the way in, but goes through DWA property for a short stretch before returning to the public thoroughfare.

Done by 11:30a, I had thought I would do the remaining two peaks that I'd skipped the previous day, but by now I had had enough of the bouldery scrambling and was looking for something more tame. I would leave La Quinta BM and its neighbor for another time.

Cahuilla Peak/Murray Hill/Peak 2,085ft

Looking for something easier, I decided to head northwest and the south end of Palm Springs. A patchwork of BLM and Indian lands is found in the hills on either side of Palm Canyon. There is a whole network of good trails on the east side of the canyon built over the past four decades, lovingly maintained by volunteers. I found a GPS track on PB by Mihai Giurgiulescu that I used, starting at the Garstin TH located at the end of Barona Rd. My primary goal was Murray Hill with almost 600ft of prominence, but the track also took in a PB-only summit, Cahuilla Peak. The trail network is very popular and I found dozens of folks along it on a Thursday afternoon. It took about 40min to find my way to Cahuilla Peak where a pair of retirees were engaged in conversation while taking in the views north to Palm Springs. Looking east, I could see several trails wandering off over hill and dale, part of the network in the area, including one I could use to continue on to Murray Hill without having to backtrack as was done on the GPS track. This connected me to the Wildhorse Trail which climbs up from a saddle along a ridgeline with several switchbacks. After reaching Pt. 1,770ft, the grade eases, continuing south to a trail junction at a saddle. The Wildhorse Trail continues downhill to the south while the Clara Burgess Trail goes west to Murray Hill. Reaching the summit around 2:15p, I found three picnic benches just below the summit and a small memorial with a poem to a lost loved one. It was pretty warm today, much like the previous day, but the views were less hazy. After spending about 20min at the summit, I returned to the last trail junction where I turned south to head for a last summit, Peak 2,085ft. This one lies just inside Indian lands, but there are no fences or signs to delineate the boundary along the way. There is also no trail going to this summit, so a bit of cross-country travel is needed. I left the Wildhorse Trail where it wanders through a sandy wash, about half a mile northeast of Peak 2,085ft. I then contoured around the southeast ridge of Pt. 2,055ft, aiming for the northeast slopes of Peak 2,085ft. The going here isn't so bad as there is much less of the boulder-strewn slopes I'd dealt with earlier in the La Quinta area. The slopes to the summit are steep but good footing, all class 2. I reached the summit around 3:20p, leaving a new register where I'd found none. I had several options for the return, the most straightforward being to return the way I came. I could also have shortcutted that route by going north, over Pt. 2,055ft to return to the Wildhorse Trail above the trail junction. A third option, which seemed more sporting and possibly faster, was to head northwest, cross-country to one of the other trailheads in the neighborhood. It was this last option I went with. The northwest side of Peak 2,085ft is quite a bit steeper than the northeast side, requiring some care in dropping the first 600ft. After that, the going gets quite a bit easier, with some minor uphill sections as I did some contouring across some drainages to get to a low saddle on the west side of Pt. 2,055ft. More downhill ensued as I followed the drainage to a wash that emptied out into the southeast end of the neighborhood. Unfortunately a dry waterfall is encountered near the very end, making that way more difficult. I spied a few hikers above me to the north and figured that was where I wanted to get, so with a bit of uphill climbing I landed on one of the trails that very quickly got me to the Frank Bogert TH. From there, it was another mile of hiking along dirt and paved roads through the neighborhood to get me back to the other TH where I'd started. It was less than 45min from the summit of Peak 2,085ft to the car, so I think I was a bit lucky in finding the fastest (and most fun) route back, finishing up at 4:45p. That would do it for the day, so I went off to find a place to shower, dinner in town somewhere, and then later someplace to spend the night. A good day overall...


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