Randall Henderson Trail - Trail, Palm Desert, California

Randall Henderson Trail - Trail, Palm Desert, California


This easy trail offers a good introduction to desert biking for the novice. Starting at the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor Center on Highway 74, this loop trail—named for a founder of Palm Desert—gently rises about 350 feet over its 2.5-mile route. Typical plants of the Colorado Desert, such as creosote bush and cholla cactus, adorn the trail as it meanders through small canyons and across low ridges. Check with Visitor Center staff for times and dates of guided hikes during the fall and winter months. Parking is available at the Visitor Center during operating hours from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

From the visitors center head south on the entry road until you reach the trail head on your left. From here follow the trail down to the first marker, to the left leads up a stair case, don't go that way. It turns into 6 inch deep sand shortly after the stairs. Head the the right (south) and follow the trail to begin climbing. There are three spots where the trail splits, stay to the right at both of these and you'll eventually end up at a washed out dirt road. Head to the left (east) and follow the road up the mountain. Shortly after the road flattens out there is a fence that marks the end of the road, take a tight left turn and begin the descent along a steep and narrow rocky trail. From here you can make a loop and climb back up again or follow the trail back the way you came to the trail head.

Watch out for cactus and avoid this trail in the summer heat.


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[May 26, 2016]
Cross Country Rider

This trail system consists of 3 interconnected loops: 1) Desert Wash Loop 2) Cholla Loop 3) Canyon Loop. It was made this way, to allow walkers several bailout options. Everything is well-signed and relatively easy to ride. For us bikers - this means we can do repeats, and improve our lap times.

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Counter-clockwise, at the first trail fork from the parking lot. Bear right and follow all the signs. Continue past the left-facing intersections until the trail starts pointing downhill, just past the "Trail Closed" Bighorn Sanctuary. Follow downhill until you reach the Cholla trail fork and go left. From this point, you will soon meet the way you came going up this trail, effectively riding in a "Lollipop" pattern, as you return to your car.

Alternatively, you can go RIGHT at the Cholla fork intersection and continue down until you a reach a rocky, quarter-mile sandy wash Hike-a-bike section, but it is an energy-sucking exercise and not fun at all.

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~ Bump n' Grind Trail
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~ Art Smith Trail
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