Hike Distance: 11.6 miles
Elevation Gain: 2,392 feet over 4.7 miles
I had hiked a small portion of the Cathedral Canyon trail as part of the Citizens Science projects with Friends of the Desert Mountains and wanted to experience the entire loop trail. So we started out early on the morning of April 3rd from the entrance in the Cathedral Canyon neighborhood.
The trail started out with a reminder that it is all uphill for the first 4.7 miles until we reach the Hahn Point trailhead.
After a 700-800 foot climb, you have views over the Cathedral City Cove neighborhood.
We reached a narrow plateau with views of the surrounding hills.
The pyramid peak in the distance (right of center) is Murray Hill, a hike we completed back in Feb 2020. Here's a link to that hike and blog.
We began to climb again but at least the views were worth it. Despite starting out in the neighborhood, it wasn't long before we had that 'isolated' sensation.
The hills and mountains of the National Monument surrounded us.
There were lots of flowering cacti in the wash. This strawberry hedgehog cactus or Engelmann's hedgehog cactus is common in desert areas of the southwestern US. It usually grows in clusters, sometimes up to 20 or more stems. It has bright magenta flowers that bloom in April. Perfect timing for us.
In addition there were plenty of flowering beaver tail cactus. These cactus can grow to include hundreds of fleshy, flattened blue-gray pads. They are typically spineless, but have many small barbed bristles that can easily penetrate the skin. Beaver tail cactus have pink to red flowers and bloom from spring to early summer.
Dave was obsessed with taking pictures of the these flowers.
But his obsession paid off with some great pictures.
We entered a large wash and followed it until the trail intersected with Dunn Road. We took the Dunn Road branch and would need to follow it for 2 miles. The trail/road weaves through the foothills of the northern Santa Rosa Mountains.
In the early 1970s, desert entrepreneur Michael Dunn of Rancho Mirage bulldozed a dirt road (Dunn Road) with the hope that it would lead to a mountainside hotel. The hotel never materialized and the dirt road remained Dunn Road, which he often had to restore after canyon floods. Unfortunately, the Bureau of Land Management did not agree that Dunn had the right to build this road. The Bureau locked off that part of the road which touches public land, thereby rendering the road unusable and with it destroying Dunn's dreams.
Murry Hill dominated the view looking back at Cathedral City and Palm Springs. You can see how Dunn Road cuts through the hills.
Isolated patches of wild flowers lined the trail including these rosy apricot mallow.
After one mile we encountered the first of the abandoned road construction vehicles that were used by Dunn.
One mile later we found more abandoned construction equipment and a multi trail crossroads with picnic tables. Here is the spot where Dunn Rd connects to the Art Smith Trail and Hahn Vista Trail.
We've hiked Art Smith multiple times (click here) but for today we'll take the Hahn Vista Trail which joins up with the Cathedral Canyon Loop.
Lots of plant lined the path.
We climb quickly leaving Dunn Road in the distance.
We saw this amazing plant called a Panamint Liveforever growing out of a rock wall. This perennial succulent desert plant is native to the rocky slopes of the many Southern California and Arizona mountain ranges.
When these flowers open they will have yellow petals
Beautiful views of the San Jacinto range.
We climbed quickly leaving Dunn Road in the distance. The yellow bulldozer is still visible on the road (far right of center).
The trail continued to follow the ridge line. We were heading NW back toward our starting point for this hike but still had about 5 miles to travel.
They call it the Hahn Vista Trail for a reason with great views across the valley.
From here it was mostly downhill through the hills of the National Monument.
People wonder if we get bored when we begin the second half of a loop trail since it's often the same or similar terrain that we're crossing. The answer is easy - NO!' It may be the same terrain but it's also different views and angles. For me this scenery never gets old. Sometimes it's easy to see the beauty.
Sometimes you need to get closer to the ground to see why.
Sometimes you need to look quickly or you'll miss the opportunity.
Sometimes you need to look up.
My rule of thumb - be patient and look all around. There is so much more to see than different shades of brown.
Over the course of an hour we gradually made our way back onto the flats. We needed to reach Dunn Road which is barely visible (upper far right) in this picture.
We crossed the intersection with Dunn Road and rejoined the Cathedral trail.
On the last leg of the trail as it runs parallel to Cathedral Canyon.
Soon the neighborhoods were in sight and so was our car.
Here's the hike from the MapMyRun app.