It’s hot. It’s arid. It’s the equivalent of a tough story in most movies, but deserts have always drawn the attention of people (if for a day) and will continue to do so. It’s because of this that exploring the desert when in Palm Springs is pretty much a must. Not only will you get to learn about the desert itself, but also about the San Andreas fault and- hopefully- will be able to enjoy some spectacular start gazing at the end. And it was this last part of it that I was looking forward to most.
Red Jeep Desert Tours
Our desert exploration with Red Jeep Desert Tours started with stress. We got lost and were not able to find the meeting point on time, but eventually found it just as the car was about to leave us behind. They’d been waiting for us for about ten minutes, and we were thankful for that. We were given some instructions, hopped on the back of the jeep and were off a few minutes later, heading towards the 840 acre private ranch where the tour takes place.
After a 20 minute drive we reached the gate entrance and were given an introduction to the area, some interesting facts about the San Andreas fault…and a bottle of water. Remember to drink water often even if you might not feel sweaty or thirsty: like it or not you’re loosing water through sweat all the time, but the arid climate makes it evaporate before you feel it.
Our guide was extremely knowledgeable and very funny, which made the trip a lot more exciting. At this point (see photo below) he was looking for a rattlesnake he had seen the day before, but it was nowhere to be found.
Yet the tour continued, and as we drove between the canyons or walked around the arid ranch we enjoyed the many faces of the tour which include:
- Experiencing the twisted and tortured landscape of an active earthquake fault system as your guide describes the geology of the area and you explore the skeleton of the earth.
- Walking between the steep walls of deep canyons created by the powerful forces of plate tectonics, water, wind, and time.
- Exploring a natural palm oasis where crystal clear water bubbles up from the underground aquifer.
- Learning about the culture and lifestyle of the Cahuilla Indians and how they used the desert’s plants for food, medicine, tools, weapons, shelter, and more.
- Learning about the plants and animals of the California desert.
- Discovering the fascinating history of the Coachella Valley.
- Enjoying spectacular views as the guide describes the geologic forces and local history that shaped the Coachella Valley.
As the sun began to set we drove to a section of the canyon where walking through narrow crevasses was possible, a good photo opportunity during the day but not as much during the night.
The walk was still fun though thanks to the detailed explanations and fun facts given by our guide.
Stargazing in the Desert
This is the final part of the tour, and was the one I was looking forward to most, but as luck may have it, it didn’t happen. We did reach the best viewing spot in the area, but there was a full moon and therefor too much light to even see the stars. Our guide pointed out some fun facts with an electronic start gazing device he had, but there really wasn’t much to be seen, so we left early. Bummer.
The Desert Adventure and Stargazing Tour by Red Jeep tours is a fun, easy, outdoor tour for pretty much anyone. Aimed to entertain and teach, I can imagine families with kids and groups of adults enjoying the experience of being in the desert at sunset, taking pictures and having some good fun. I do recommend that you choose a tour that includes star gazing, but make sure that you plan the tour when there’s no full moon, otherwise you won’t see anything and you’ll be wasting part of your money. And two final tips: bring layered clothing and drink plenty of water!
I was a guest of Red Jeep Tours , however all opinions and pictures in this post are entirely my own. Do visit their website for more information and current rates!