Peak 1,500ft P300
Peak 1,393ft P300

Wed, Dec 21, 2022
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 GPX


Switching gears from desert roadtripping, I was now in Palm Desert with the family for the Christmas holiday. While the family members were sleeping in this morning, I got up around sunrise to pay a visit to the Indio Hills, sandwiched between the Coachella Valley and Joshua Tree NP. This collection of low hills is exceedingly dry and there is very little vegetation. In decades past, the area was mainly used for OHVs, target practice, and dumping garbage. In recent years, much of this BLM has been added to the Coachella Valley Preserve, but fences have been cut and OHVs continue to have the run of the place. I would like to imagine that as the Coachella Valley becomes more developed, the preserve boundary will become more policed. The few THs that are found along the roadways (particularly 1000 Palms Canyon Rd) seem to be popular. There is a great deal of trash that will require extensive efforts to clean up, but I can see these hills someday becoming a more cherished OSP.

Peak 1,500ft

This summit is found about a mile NW of the range HP which I visited in 2018. I drove to the corner of 30th Ave and Happy Valley Dr, then up a short ways on a dirt road to park under a transmission line on BLM lands. There is a boundary sign here indicating no vehicles, but the fenceline has been cut and the road shows continuing use. I hiked the mile distance to the rounded summit using a combination of the road and easy cross-country, passing by a good deal of trash, sadly, a result of its close proximity to human settlements. It took less than 25min to reach the summit with views overlooking the Coachella Valley to the southwest and the Little San Bernardino Mtns to the northeast. There is a 1960 benchmark placed by the State of California Department of Water Resources. I left a register at the summit under a small cairn before returning via much the same route.

Peak 1,393ft

This one is found towards the NW end of the range, above the Sky Valley rural development. I drove to the south end of Cortney Ln, then dirt road to the boundary with the preserve. Fences have been cut here, too, but there doesn't seem to be as much recent traffic as the other location. Again, I hiked road and cross-country for about a mile to reach the summit in about 30min. Areas to the south, west and northwest are badlands, with deeply eroded gullies and canyons, fed by loosely held together slopes of rock, gravel and soft earth. Coloradans Alyson and John Kirk had visited this summit in 2017, but oddly no records from the usual California suspects. I found my descent route a bit better than the ascent, avoiding some side-hilling and elevation change compared to the ascent route.


This minor summit lies in the heart of the preserve, part of the original parcel around 1000 Palms Canyon. On the topo it is called "Squaw Hill," a name no longer deemed acceptable. 1000 Palms Canyon is a neat little drainage fed by a perennial spring, lined with hundreds of palms (a thousand seems kinda high). The preserve HQ where the hill is located is closed Mondays and Tuesdays. On a Wednesday, the gate was closed, but vehicles lined the road outside and it seems to be fairly popular. I followed one of the trails to the left and then up to the top of Mumawet. It takes all of five minutes to reach the summit with a view overlooking 1000 Palm Canyon Oasis and a portion of the Indio Hills. I will have to come back with some of the family to tour the palms along the creek.


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