The Living Desert
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Trails & Natural Wildlife

Hiking Trails of Eisenhower Peak

The Living Desert is more than a collection of exhibits. It is also a nature preserve. In fact, 1080 of our 1200 acres are undisturbed Sonoran Desert. Within this preserve is a series of nature trails. From The Living Desert, a hiker can select one of three trails to suit their desired experience of the real undisturbed desert.

Remember… what to know before you go

  • Sign in and sign out at the trail head.
  • Carry and drink plenty of water. At least two quarts for the Wilderness Loop.
  • Wear a hat and sunscreen.
  • STAY ON THE TRAIL. This is a nature preserve.
  • Carry out whatever you carry in.
  • Understand that you travel at your own risk. Watch where you put your hands and feet.
  • Make sure a family member or a friend knows where you are hiking before you go.
  • The trailhead gate closes at 4pm
  1. The Inner Loop is a flat, sandy trail through a palo verde and smoketree desert riparian woodland. Graphic signs along the path will help you interpret the desert world. This 1/4 mile trail is a brief fifteen minute interlude from your tour of our exhibits. A quiet place with unimpeded desert views.
  2. The Middle Loop has more excitement and adventure. You travel through the same desert riparian woodland and then onto a rocky desert mountain slope or bajada. You will also experience a desert wash or arroyo and can climb, if you choose, to an interpretive exhibit of the San Andreas Fault with broad views of this world famous fault. This trail is about one mile long on a smooth dirt path, and includes interpretive signage. Excepting the dip into the wash, it is a very gentle rise and fall as you travel the loop.
  3. The Wilderness Loop is for the adventurous or those ready to be adventurous. This trail traverses a very rocky desert canyon if you travel the loop in a counter clockwise manner, or a desert mountain ridge if you travel in a clockwise manner. Either way you peak at a covered picnic area at 1000 feet elevation and can clearly see Eisenhower Peak at 1952 feet. The path is narrow, but well marked. You will climb over, scramble around, or jump from one boulder to another in the canyon. This desert experience is intimate, the opportunities for wildlife viewing exceptional and the views of the Coachella Valley at the top are spectacular. The trail is 3.5 miles long from the junction with the Middle Loop or 5 miles from the parking lot. Expect to spend three to five hours on this loop.

CAUTION: Do not start this trail after 12 noon, the park may be closed upon your return (5:00 p.m.). This loop is closed during the summer due to the extreme heat. This trail is not patrolled, so we recommend that you do not hike the Wilderness Loop alone. Hike at your own risk.

What You Might See Along the Way

The nature trails take you through various Sonoran Desert biological communities and habitats, including desert riparian woodland with smoketree, palo verde and desert willow, and desert scrub of creosote bush and white bursage in the canyon and on the ridge, plus a small dune near the Fault exhibit. The number of animals that you might see along the nature trail or wild on our developed grounds is extensive. To view complete lists of the flora and fauna you can expect to see, click on the links provided to the right.

Trails and Natural Wildlife


Trails and Natural Wildlife

Download these pdfs to learn more about what you might find along the way:

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