Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Indian Canyons, Moorten Botanical Garden, and Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

Palm Canyon - Indian Canyons
Last month while in Palm Springs we saw a couple of things that are worth doing compared to sitting by the pool. Previously, we mentioned visiting Joshua Tree, seeing the Cabazon Dinosaurs, grabbing a date shake, or heading south to the Salton Sea area to visit Bombay Beach or Salvation Mountain. Three other possible outings include a hike in Indian Canyons, a visit to Moorten Botanical Garden, or a ride on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway up to 8,516 feet to enjoy some cool mountain air and maybe some snow.

Indian Canyons refers to Palm Canyon, Andreas Canyon, and Murray Canyon which are part of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indian Reservation. Palm Canyon (and the namesake of Palm Springs?) is considered by some the largest California Fan Palm (Washingtonia filifera) oasis and this is what we explored for a few miles. It is a nice because you weave in out of the shade of the palms as you walk. At several places we saw people in the water splashing around or just resting on a rock dangling their feet in.

Moorten Botanical Garden is located just a few miles north of Indian Canyons on the same road, S. Palm Canyon Drive. This private garden costs just a few bucks to get into and is a worth a peek if you are at all interested in plants. At Moorten it’s all about desert plants and, of course, cacti. According to the garden’s web site the world’s first “cactarium” is located there – and the Moortens coined the term. (A cactarium as far as we can tell is a greenhouse with rare plants – including cacti.) The garden has been around since 1938 when it was founded by Chester “Cactus Slim” Moorten and his wife, Patricia Moorten. You can buy plants at Moorten.

The third thing we wanted to mention is The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. The ten minute ride brings you from the Valley Station at 2,643 ft to the Mountain Station at 8,516 ft. The tram car rotates 360 degrees twice as it travels the 2.5 miles so that everyone gets a great view. The Mountain Station is located just on the edge of the Mount San Jacinto State Wilderness and the Long Valley Ranger Station is located just a short distance from the tram drop off point. The San Jacinto Peak is at 10,804 ft. Don’t forget to bring a jacket as it may be cooler up top.
Palm Spring Aerial Tramway
Moorten Botanical Garden

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