No better time than winter for hiking in and around Palm Springs

You can only play so much tennis or golf. And hanging around the pool? It can get really boring.

So when visiting the Palm Springs area, head into the hills for some hiking. There are plenty of trails, from easy to strenuous, in this corner of the Sonoran Desert.

Trails covering more than 1,250 miles lie within a 60-mile radius of Palm Springs, said Nancy Bone, a member of the Coachella Valley Hiking Club and an outings leader, and the variety of topography and plant life make it one of the country’s best hiking destinations.

Layer in cooler fall and winter temperatures and it’s pretty close to hiking heaven.

The lush canyons were home to the Cahuilla people in centuries past, and you can see remnants of their house pits, irrigation ditches, dams and rock art.

The canyons also are filled with towering, shaggy California fan palms and creeks that flow almost year-round with snow melt from the looming San Jacinto Mountains.

Consider the Palm Canyon Trail to the Stone Pools, a six-mile out-and-back jaunt that has a moderate 800-foot elevation gain.

Once you leave the almost jungle-like stream bed and ascend to the desert plateaus, you’ll encounter water-sculpted rock gorges and cliffs that make great spots for a picnic.

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