Friday, April 22, 2016

Tahquitz Canyon, 4/18/2016

The Agua Caliente Cahuilla people lived for centuries in this canyon where they found an abundant water supply, gathered seeds for food and medicines, and plants fibers for weaving baskets, sandals, and mats. The Cahuilla People were known for their integrity, independence, and peaceful ways. In 1876, the US Government deeded 32,000 acres (in a checkerboard pattern) as their homeland while deeding 10 miles of land in odd sections to the Southern California Railroad. 

Today there is a Visitor Center and 2-mile loop trail through the canyon that takes you past a large, beautiful waterfall. Be sure to check out the displays in the visitor center. A video about the Cahuilla People and the canyon can also be seen here.

Admission is $12.50/adults, although we had a brochure that provided for a $2.50 discount per ticket. We did a self-guided hike (be sure to pick up a trail guide when you pay your admission), although ranger-led interpretive hikes are also offered at 8 am10 am, noon, and 2 pm. Be sure to bring plenty of water, wear hiking boots and a hat, as the trail is steep and rocky in places and there is little shade. 

The trail begins next to the Visitor Center. 

The trail continues deeper into the canyon along the banks of Tahquitz Creek, crossing over it a couple of times. There are many small waterfalls that create the beautiful sound of rushing water even when the creek is not in sight.

Below are two views in the canyon: one towards the city of Palm Springs; the other in the opposite direction (towards the large waterfall).

It is easy to discern the path of the creek as vegetation grows in abundance along it. And then we came to a sandy beach area with the beautiful Tahquitz Falls. Some hikers were swimming here with the waterfall crashing down on them! 

For the Cahuilla People, this is a place of power. If you enter tired and weak, you are rejuvenated and energized when you leave. And we felt that, too! We crossed the creek and continued on the loop trail. There are other small waterfalls along the creek and lots of lizards, too!

This is a US Geological Survey Gaging Station that was built in 1947 and continues to be monitored today.

Built in 1830 by the Cahuilla People, remnants of the Lebacho-Tahquitz Creek Ditch can be seen along the trail. It brought water from the canyon to the village for drinking and irrigation. 

This Cahuilla village site is where artifacts dating 1,000 to 1,600 years ago have been found. Considered a sacred site, rock art has been found here as well.

As we continued along the trail back to the Visitor Center, we saw this lone cactus growing out of, what appears to be, sheer rock.

I initially felt that the price of admission to this canyon was a bit steep, but we really did enjoy the hike, the gurgling creek, and, of course, the impressive Tahquitz Falls. It has been interesting learning about the Cahuilla People while visiting the Palm Springs area. Check out the canyon website for additional information about hours of operation, etc. 

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