Route: Cove to Grove Traverse (CA)

Submitted by Rob Manley on Sat, 03/11/2023 - 09:09pm
California, US
31 mi
Vertical Gain
6,200 ft

This 50k traverse is a point to point grand tour of trails that form a horseshoe between the La Quinta Cove and the Palm Springs Indian Canyons which holds the worlds largest grove of Filifera (Washingtonian Palms). The views are stunning, the trails are challenging and depending on the time of year, it can be done in multiple styles.

It begins in the southeast end of the La Quinta cove at the Boo Hoff trail. You get a little over a mile of flatish warm up before the climb begins on a well managed trail. After about 3.5 miles and 1500ft of climbing, you'll connect to the Guadalupe Trail which is a unmaintained Cahuilla Indian path. If you're paying attention, you should be able to stay with it but download the route just in case. You'll continue to climb another 2700ft (about 6.9 miles at this point) to an old cowboy camp outfitted with an old iron stove. The trail climbs a little more and utilizes sandy drainages and eventually the Cactus Spring Trail as you begin to descend about 1500ft to Horsethief Creek (about mile 12). Its deep in a canyon so you can't miss it. Depending on the time of year, you may or may not have water here so plan accordingly. If not, don't worry, at about 2.5 miles later, you will arrive at the trailhead for Cactus Spring Trail and can connect to Pinyon Flat campground nearby for water and a bathroom if needed if you want to stay unsupported (otherwise to can drive here to self-support water cache or receive support). It won't take you much out of the way at all to make this adjustment and it's well within the rules of the route.

If you don't need it, you can continue your run to Pinyon Trail which will eventually drop you down a few hundred feet into Palm Canyon at just under 16 miles total at this point. From here, you will run the rest of the route following Palm Canyon which may or may not also have water running depending on the season. Either way, it's a beautiful trip through the canyon with interesting rock formations with the Santa Rosa mountains on your right and the San Jacinto's on your left. Stay with the canyon trail until it connects to the Potrero Trail. This is an ancient Indian Flat with stunning views and it will eventually reconnect you to the main canyon trail. Just before you finish the route, you will find yourself engulfed by the magnificent Palm Grove that borders the finish point of your journey which is the parking lot of the Trading Post (gift shop/snack shack) run by the Cahuilla Indians. Grab some food while you're there! 

If you don't have a ride back to your car, you can obviously Uber which can be expensive or you can hop the Sunbus ($3) at South Palm Canyon which will eventually connect you back to the top of the La Quinta cove. You can look up their website for details. 

Have fun!! And...oh yeah...just don't do this in summer, cuz that would be dumb!