We recently took a Spring Break trip to Southern California to get in some Coachella Valley running. Honestly, we have been a bit tired of the cold and wet and needed some blue skies and a tiny bit of sun to keep us going. And we got it!
PDX flies direct to Palm Springs, so it makes the trip nice and easy from the PNW. We had such a great time running, we thought we’d highlight some of our favorite routes from the trip. Bookmark them on AllTrails!
1. Cove to Lake Trail – La Quinta, CA | Run Oregon Instagram Post!
The Cove to Lake Trail is one of the most popular hiking trails in La Quinta, California, and was the first trail run we checked out on our recent trip. This six-mile trail is rated as moderate to difficult, featuring steep inclines, rocky terrain, and breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Starting from the Cove Trailhead, the trail takes you on a scenic out-and-back journey through the Santa Rosa Mountains and eventually leads you to the serene Lake Cahuilla Recreation Area.
As you begin your hike, you will immediately notice the stunning views of the Coachella Valley, which provide the perfect backdrop for your journey. The trail takes you through a variety of desert landscapes, including rocky outcroppings, rugged canyons, and sandy washes. Along the way, expect to encounter a diverse range of flora and fauna, including cacti, wildflowers, and desert wildlife such as lizards and snakes.
While you start near a neighborhood, the majority of the trail makes you feel like you are miles from civilization. The final stretch eventually lands you alongside a beautiful golf fairway and descends towards the lake, providing an opportunity to take a well-deserved break, dip your toes (or head) in the water before heading back.
Overall, the Cove to Lake Trail is a challenging yet rewarding hike that offers a unique opportunity to explore the beautiful landscapes and experience the natural beauty of the Coachella Valley. Whether you are an experienced hiker or a novice looking for a challenge, this trail is definitely worth adding to your bucket list.
2. Pushwalla Palms Trail – Coachella Valley Preserve | Run Oregon Instagram Reel & Post!
The Pushwalla Palms Trail in the Coachella Valley Preserve is an experience unlike any other. The trail, which stretches over 4.5 miles through the preserve, takes you through stunning desert landscapes, winding canyons, and even within lush palm groves, offering a unique glimpse into the diverse ecosystem of the Coachella Valley.
As you run, you’ll be surrounded by towering rock formations, vibrant wildflowers, and stunning views of the surrounding mountains. The trail is well-marked and relatively easy to navigate (though we’d recommend AllTrails just in case, as there are a few offshoot trails along the way). Despite being in the foothills, there were only a few moderate inclines to test your endurance and keep you on your toes. There is one short scramble section near the palm trees, but it’s worth it.
Thr Pushwalla Palms Trail is an incredibly rewarding experience. The quiet solitude of the desert landscape, combined with the physical challenge of the trail, creates a powerful sense of connection to the natural world. Winding up running under Palm Groves will be an forever-memory.
Depending on when you are in town, the real challenge of the Pushwalla Palms Trail is not in the terrain, but in the heat. There is not a lot of shade along the way. We went on an early March morning – and the temperatures were in the high 40’s – so pretty much amazing. But in the summer, you better pack ton of protection and get up early.
3. Sawtooth Loop – Pioneertown, CA | Run Oregon Instagram Post!
The 2023 John Wayne Grit Series Half in Pioneertown was an unforgettable experience. From the start on a dirt road right out of the wild, wild west to the amazing swag – it was just amazing. But what make it all the better was the 10+ miles on the Sawtooth Trail Loop.
The loop is approximately 10 miles long, with an elevation gain of around 3,000 feet. The trail is well-maintained, but it is also steep and technical in certain sections, requiring runners to pay close attention to their footing. However, the effort is definitely worth it, as the Sawtooth Trail Loop rewards adventurers with breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
The trail takes runners through a variety of landscapes, including dense forests, rocky outcroppings, and water crossings (as the season allows). As they climb higher, runners will have panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys, with stunning vistas stretching for miles in every direction. The beauty of the area is simply awe-inspiring, and it’s hard not to feel a sense of awe and reverence for the natural world while running the Sawtooth Trail Loop.
It is also a challenging physical experience. The elevation gain and technical terrain require runners to be in good physical shape. The trail is rocky and uneven in places, with steep inclines and sharp switchbacks that require runners to be both nimble and patient. However, the physical effort required is also part of what makes the experience so rewarding, as runners push themselves to their limits and feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of the journey.
Whether you are an experienced trail runner looking for a new challenge or a nature lover seeking to immerse yourself in the beauty of the natural world, the Sawtooth Trail Loop is a must-see destination that is sure to leave you breathless in more ways than one.