When we first came down the long, bleak stretch into Desert Hot Springs the place looked very much like yet another massive desert. As it turns out, this little gem of a location hides a bunch of well-kept secrets. From underground mineral spa’s, to alpine forests (no, I’m not kidding) and the unique Joshua Tree National Park, this is truly a gem in the wild.

The story of Desert Hot Springs goes back to the wild west, as all the best stories do, and specifically to a most astonishing man called Cabot Yerxa. A pioneer of his time, and most definitely a consummate optimist he bought a small burro in Desert Hot Springs around 1913 which he named Merry Christmas. Convinced he would find water in this bone-dry environment he started digging and sure enough, 27 feet down he hit some natural hot springs. Through sheer guts and luck, the healing mineral waters of Desert Hot Springs had just been discovered, and the town eventually built around that event. The story of Cabot’s remarkable life is well worth reading as is a trip to the Cabot Pueblo Museum

“Taking the waters” in the hot springs is a great little pastime, and apparently quite healthy too. In fact, after a week of twice-a-day soaking we find that we are both better looking and more intelligent, so I’m happy to recommend the practice. There’s lots of places you can do this both around Desert Hot Springs and in the neighbouring towns. For the risqué of you lot there’s even nudy spa’s.

If after a morning of soaking and sunning you should happen to decide you need a frolic in alpine trees and snow, then Palm Springs, despite it’s name is ready to deliver. The Mount San Jacinto State Park, located  Just 20 mins from Desert Hot Springs and a monumental 2 ½ mile cable-car ride from the desert floor to a height of 8,516 feet is just the ticket. With 54 miles of hiking trails this is a unique micro-wilderness and well worth the visit.

And…the list doesn’t end there….we have

  • Night’s out in Palm Springs. A hot-spot for foodies, bars and even casino’s
  •  Golfing. If that’s your fancy, this area abounds with locations
  • The Palm Springs Thursday night village fest & street fair. Music, arts and fooooood, and it’s dog-friendly too
  • Farmer’s Markets. There’s one almost every other day somewhere close

Overall we were surprised how vibrant and varied this area is. Worth coming back, no doubt about it.

Snow & alpine wilderness in San Jacinto State Park

The 2 1/2 mile arial tramway to San Jacinto Park

Night out with Matt and Tracy in Palm Springs

Cabot's Pueblo Museum in Desert Hot Springs...quirky and well worth a visit

The Ancient Weather Rock at Cabot's Museum: When rock is wet it's raining, when rock is white it's snowing, when rock is hard to see it's foggy, when rock is moving it's windy or there's an earthquake...ROCK IS NEVER WRONG

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3 Responses to Desert Hot Springs, CA…a little gem in the desert

  1. Jeff says:

    Wonderful article about the town we LOVE – Desert Hot Springs. We are a clothing optional mineral water spa that has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Ellen Degeneres / AOL.com and others. Check out our website: http://www.LivingWatersSpa.com for more information. Also, http://www.VisitDesertHotSprings.com will provide you with a list of all of our town’s hotels.

  2. [...] came across this poem engraved in an old wooden board deep in Desert Hot Springs and it’s stuck in my mind almost ever since. You see the southwestern desert is a devil [...]

  3. [...] exactly the same thing that happened last year when we came here. Desert Hot Springs may be the outcast neighbour of ritzy home-of-the-stars Palm [...]

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