Hiking alone with pooch is one of my very favorite things. We hike at the same pace, she’s infinitely patient whenever I pull out the camera and we never need to talk…the perfect partnership. When we launch into the wilds it’s just us, the wide, open trail and the mesmerizing deepness of nature. Polly will sniff and scout, while I meditate and ponder and lose myself in nature’s beauty. Simply wonderful…

Around Desert Hot Springs there are actually a lot of dedicated hiking trails, but only limited areas which are truly dog-friendly. We discovered Whitewater Creek Preserve last week and have enjoyed that park tremendously, but we decided to branch out into 2 other cool paw-happy spots over the past 5 days, all within short drives (or walks) of Sam’s Spa. Not only would this provide adequate blog-fodder, but it would give an unprecedented number of pics of yours truly which, as you blog readers well know, is a rare thing (alas with Paul gone, I’m forced to use myself as a picture-prop…ahhh, the tribulations of a photographer)

Mission Creek Preserve

Mission Creek Preserve is literally the other side of the mountain from Whitewater Creek and is managed by the same paw-friendly folks. It boasts yet another creek (not quite as dramatic as the one at Whitewater, but still very nice) and another 4,760 acres of doggie-friendly hiking. Plus it’s got the draw of some cool stone houses. If you’re feeling energetic and have 2 cars you can even do an 8-mile through-hike from one Preserve to the other over the Pacific Crest Trail. Polly and I decided to do a simple out-and-back the day after some heavy storms and enjoyed peaceful hiking with the backdrop of super-dark clouds. Coooool!

Directions// Mission Creek is around 35 mins from Sam’s west of Hwy 62. There is a lower gate which (apparently) can be opened if you call ahead to the Preserve and request it. Otherwise it’s an extra 1 mile to the trails. For more detailed directions click HERE and for trail-map click HERE.

Flag Mountain

Flag Mountain is a bit of a local “secret”. It’s an un-marked, un-advertized trail leading up to the mountains just northwest of Sam’s Family Spa. I “discovered” it my first year here thanks to some Canadian RV neighbors and, after bumbling around in the desert for several days finally found the trail. It’s a hard upward climb of several miles along the ridge line of the mountain which leads to the namesake (the Flags) and some simply stunning views. We picked a cool morning to tackle the trail and made it to the top around 9AM with the view all to ourselves. Perfection!

Directions// From Sam’s Family Spa turn left at the main exit and walk ~1/2 mile along the road to a raised dirt road on your right. Follow that road approximately straight back to the mountain (last 1/3 will be bush-whacking). Then trail ascends along the ridge and the beginning is marked by a cairn with 2 small flags. Approx start of the hike at 33.935785,-116.434275.

Thankfully hubby is coming home in a few days, so I will no longer have to subject myself to the lens and will (hopefully) have extra interesting stuff to write about. We’ll see…

In the meantime I’ll leave you with our latest sunset. Words are not necessary…

N-20131124 DHS Sunset (2) (JPG)

21 Responses to A Few More Dog-Friendly Hikes – Desert Hot Springs, CA

  1. ajoneser says:

    I love the pics of Polly, it’s as if I’m hiking with her and sharing the views. So awesome! Love your photos.

  2. Chuck Tonn, Geri Brown says:

    We enjoy your adventure writings. You do a great job describing your hikes, etc. my partner and I will be in Palm Springss area about Dec. 13th. Although we will only be in an 86 Westfalia. Would campsites be available then? Love your adventures.
    Chuck & Geri

    • libertatemamo says:

      I would think yes. Park is only about half full at the moment, so can’t imagine it will fill up by the 13th, but I guess you never know. You could always call the park and ask? We’ll be gone by then, unfortunately. Our month here is coming to a close pretty soon.

  3. Paula Taylor says:

    The first words out of my mouth when I saw the sunset was, “Oh my goodness!” That hardly does it justice, I know. So unusual and breathtakingly beautiful. Thanks for sharing. – Paula

  4. Gunta says:

    I think Polly is signaling that she misses her hiking buddy, Sissy! ;)

  5. Rowanova says:

    Great writing and great pics, as always, Nina. My favorite is the stone house. I’m intrigued by things like that, what can I say?

  6. Jil says:

    And here I thought Paul was your perfect hiking partner:)))

  7. geogypsy2u says:

    Nice to see these gorgeous views, and you too.

    • libertatemamo says:

      I figure it was about time to throw a few shots of myself in there. Funny thing is that we have a quite a few blog-readers staying at the park right now, but very few of them recognize me…because I never take any shots of myself haha. Polly, on the other hand, is recognized instantly….as is Paul.

  8. placestheygo says:

    Ahhh, what great hikes! I so miss having a place to hike and being able to see for miles. Glad you have Polly to keep you company while Paul’s away. I’m enjoying the selfie’s:)

    • libertatemamo says:

      I remember that the thing I missed most about the west (when we were out east) was the wide open views. The closest we got was high up in the Smoky Mountains (above the tree-line). Those wide-west views are quite special.

  9. Allen says:

    Nice to hear about Polly’s adventures (and yours). I s there a post in your archives where you discuss driving your RV with pets? Our dogs travel with us in the motorhome. We attach their harnesses to seatbelts to keep them safe (I hope). I would like to know how you approach this and what others do. Thanks

    • libertatemamo says:

      I do have a “pet corner” tab at the top which has a few of my pet-dedicated posts. Regarding travel we actually let Polly sleep between our 2 front seats on her doggie bed. So, we don’t use a harness. I know that’s controversial and many folks will either crate or harness their doggies while travelling. Our cats sleep in the back on the bed (under the covers).

  10. Stew Hilts says:

    Nina, I discovered your blog on Hitchitch a few weeks ago, and I’ve just finished reading it all from the beginning. I’m really impressed – great writing, great pix, and great stories. You sound like you’re really enjoying life. All your travels are an inspiration, and you’ve definitely moved the Oregon coast up my list of priorities. We can’t do the FTRV thing for health reasons, but we are FTRetired, and loving it. Moved to a new place which gave us lots of new outlets and friends, and we do hope to keep camping some in our trailer for many years yet. I’ll be watching you!

    • libertatemamo says:

      WOW!! I’m amazed that you’ve read the whole thing. That’s quite an achievement and I feel quite humbled. Glad to hear you’re still enjoying RVing in your own way, despite the health issues. Hope we meet along the way!

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