Hikers now have a new hiking trailhead in Desert Hot Springs they can use to trek through Long Canyon Trail.
The Coachella Valley Mountains Conservancy, Friends of the Desert Mountains and Coachella Valley Conservation Commission held a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Long Canyon Trailhead on Friday.
It is an approximately 1.5-mile trail that connects the Coachella Valley to the Long Canyon Trail Route within Joshua Tree National Park. The trailhead is located on the dirt road portion of Long Canyon Road, near its intersection with Hacienda Avenue.
Councilmember Gary Gardner said he moved to Desert Hot Springs for its outdoor recreation. He said the trail is the only access to Joshua Tree National Park from the Coachella Valley.
“Long Canyon is a long time coming. So long that the city actually, in our archives, we found a resolution requesting this trail be put in going back to 1994,” Gardner said. “So this has been on the city’s wish list for a long, long time.”
He added that the city has had problems with trash dumping in the desert, but he hopes the trail will help.
“One of the things that I think is going to really help in that is having this trailhead here and having people coming up here more,” Gardner said. “I think that will discourage the illegal trash dumping and the activities that go on up here along that way.”
Other speakers at the trail's opening included La Quinta Councilmember and CVMC Chair Kathleen Fitzpatrick, La Quinta Mayor and CVCC Chair Linda Evans, FODM Executive Director Tammy Martin, Joshua Tree National Park Superintendent David Smith and Mojave Desert Land Trust Communications Director Jessica Dacey.
Evans said people come to the Coachella Valley for the weather and recreation opportunities.
“We have a very important but not endangered species and that’s us – the homo sapiens. And we’re here to enjoy the trail,” Evans said. “We’re here to learn about not only the wildlife and all the plant life that is part of the plan – what we need to protect and admire and respect – but also to get that (respite). Get that mind, body and soul connection with all that this valley has to offer.”
Several hikers expressed excitement about exploring the trail. FODM led an inaugural hike of the trail after the ceremony.
Jeff Bowman said it’s a monumental day for the trail, which has been cleaned up and marked.
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“It’s going to help people find it, first of all, and then explore a part of this aspect of the desert that you would not normally go through and to,” he said.
He added he has been on the trail before.
“I haven’t been on it since they’ve marked it out, but when you get a couple miles up the road it's really beautiful,” Bowman said. “It’s what you see here, but less touched by humans.”
Bethany Smith said she wanted to support the grand opening of the newest trail in Desert Hot Springs.
“We actually have a monthly hiking club based out of Mission Lakes Country Club and we can’t wait to bring the club out here, probably next month, to take advantage of the new trail,” she said.
Joel Clark said he is an avid hiker and is looking forward to learning more about the trail.
“I like to be able to see a trail for the first time with people that know the trail," he said. "So I thought this was a good opportunity to see this trail for the first time.”
This article originally appeared on Palm Springs Desert Sun: Desert Hot Springs unveils hiking trailhead that connects to Joshua Tree