Murray Canyon Trail - Agua Caliente Reservation: Mar 2019

Updated: Feb 27

Hike distance: 6.4 miles


Murray Canyon = Water and Beauty


Murray Canyon is part of the Indian Canyons, which is home to the Agua Caliente Cahuilla tribe. In 1876, the US Federal Government deeded the Agua Caliente people 32,000 acres of land many of which are within Palm Springs city limits. Today, Murray and adjacent canyons remain part of the Agua Caliente Reservation and the $9.00 pp entrance fee they charge helps to maintain the trails and land.


A stream running through the Andreas and Murray canyons creating a small haven where vegetation thrives; quite the change from our typical desert trails.

Murray Canyon is part of the Indian Canyons, which is home to the Agua Caliente Reservation

At the start of the trail, there were some great examples of rocks deformed by the angular thrusting movement of the tectonic plates in this area.

Rocks deformed by the angular thrusting movement of the tectonic plates in the Indian Canyons in Agua Caliente Reservation

The trail follows the stream as it wanders through the canyon. Abundant California fan palms grow along the waters edge. The Washingtonia filifera or California fan palm is the only native palm to the United States (specifically the Southwest) and has been seen growing naturally in the wild as far east as Colorado and north to Wyoming. Fossils of the palm have been found dating back almost 50-70 million years.

Washingtonia filifera or California fan palm palms grow along the waters edge in Murray Canyon in Agua Caliente Reservation

The canyon winds up into the crevices of the San Jacinto Mountains, meandering among palm tree oases and crisscrossing a crystal-clear stream.

Washingtonia filifera or California fan palm palms grow along the waters edge in Murray Canyon in Agua Caliente Reservation

While the canyon was wide, stream crossings were easy.

Washingtonia filifera or California fan palm palms grow along the waters edge in Murray Canyon in Agua Caliente Reservation

A few spots required us to stretch just a little to make the crossing. Not bad when you consider I have to jump across while holding on to the camera.

There are multiple water crossings along the Murray Canyon trail in Agua Caliente Reservation. Jumping from rock to rock over stream in Murray Canyon

It may look like Dave is walking on water but he can't.

Careful balance at water crossing along the Murray Canyon trail in Agua Caliente Reservation

The further we went the deeper the water.

Stream along the along the Murray Canyon trail in Agua Caliente Reservation

But with this high water came 'crossing aids'.

Balancing on a log trying to cross stream along the Murray Canyon trail in Agua Caliente Reservation

The sound of rushing water filled the air.

Streams along the Murray Canyon trail in Agua Caliente Reservation

Finally, we reached the point where we could no longer cross the stream wearing our boots.

The water was so cool and refreshing.

With our boots back on, we continued hiking until it was time to break for lunch and then start the return trip.

Huge boulders in the streams along the Murray Canyon trail in Agua Caliente Reservation
Hiking Murray Canyon in Agua Caliente Reservation winds up into the crevices of San Jacinto Mountains
Hiking Murray Canyon in Agua Caliente Reservation winds up into the crevices of San Jacinto Mountains

The high water in the stream made this such an enjoyable hike. It was so different than our Palm Canyon Hike in the Agua Caliente Reservation from earlier in the winter. Click on the hyperlinked text above to navigate to to the Palm Canyon Hike from January 2019.

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