After attending a Shimano media camp in Palm Springs several years ago, it has remained high on our list of winter-worthy riding destinations. The trails are fun, physical, and full of rocks and chunder. Punchy, technical climbs yield to equally demanding downhills. Whether you’re doing the monstrous Palm Canyon Epic or sticking closer to the valley floor, there are more trails and offshoots to ride than you’ll have time for in a week-long trip. Be sure to bring sunscreen, heavy-duty tires, a first-aid kit with a comb or pliers for removing cactus, and some knee pads. Also, be sure to watch out for trail sabotage as we had daily run-ins with large boulders behind lips and around blind corners at one popular trail network.
Palm Springs is a fairly general name for a long list of desert cities that back up to the San Jacinto Mountain Range. We actually stayed in Cathedral City, at the Peach Residence, which is an incredibly awesome spot to base your trip from. The house backs up to the wilderness, has a hot tub that we used daily and a refreshing pool for a post-ride dip. Best of all, you can pedal just a short distance down the road to access a spider web of trails. If you go a bit farther south down Highway 111, you’ll also put yourself closer to the Hopalong Cassidy and Art Smith trailheads, which are a lot of fun to ride as well.