Palm Desert, California―A few miles from
the Palm Desert golf courses, swimming pools, shopping malls and
casinos is a stark beauty in an ecosystem that's part of
the Coachella Valley Preserve, a 20,000-acre sanctuary for rare wildlife.
It's no wonder that artists such as Timothy Wolcott, whose work is
shown above, are attracted to this desert wonderland. In fact, Palm
Desert was the first city in Riverside County to establish a public
art program, hoping to create artistic harmony between the
buildings, land and open spaces.
Palm Desert is nestled in the
Coachella Valley against the foothills of the Santa Rosa Mountains.
This Riverside County city is 11 miles east of Palm Springs.
Named Palm Village in the 1920s for the date palm trees that grow so
abundantly, the Palm Desert Corporation came to town and created
such a housing boom, it was not longer a village, but a thriving
city. While named Palm Desert in 1951, it did not officially
incorporate as a city until 1973.
El Paseo shopping district
similar to Rodeo Drive
There are approximately 20
golf clubs in Palm Desert alone! Public golf courses feature a
variety of challenges, with one of the media and golf professionals'
favorites being Desert Willow Resort. Golf Digest named Desert
Willow's Firecliff course one of the "Places To Play." One of only
three courses in California and one of the best 50 in the United
Sates to receive this distinction, Firecliff measures 7,056 yards,
includes over 100 bunkers and numerous water features.
Desert Willow Golf Resort
38995 Desert Willow Drive
Palm Desert 760-346-7060 Public
Emerald Desert Country Club 76-000 Frank Sinatra Dr
Palm Desert 760-345-4770 Public
The Golf Center at Palm Desert 74-945 Sheryl Dr
Palm Desert 760-779-1877 Public
Marriott's Desert Springs Resort & Spa 74-855 Country Club Dr
Palm Desert 760-341-1756 Resort/Public
Marriott's Shadow Ridge 9002 Shadow Ridge Road
Palm Desert 760-674-2700 Public
Palm Desert Resort Country Club 77-333 Country Club
Palm Desert 760-345-2791 Resort/Public
Palm Desert is the home of the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, a
combination zoo and botanical garden featuring an extensive
collection of desert plants and animals. It is also the site of the
campus of College of the Desert, the local community college, as
well as an extension campus of California State University, San
Bernardino. Its main High School is Palm Desert High School
As the home of the pioneering band Kyuss and its successor group
Queens of the Stone Age, Palm Desert is considered one of the
cradles of the stoner rock movement.
Points of interest
Living Desert Zoo and Gardens
Coachella Valley Preserve
For thousands of years, particles of sand from the San Bernardino
Mountains and Indio Hills washed into the Coachella Valley, forming
a system of dunes. Today, The Coachella Valley fringe-toed
lizard depends on this unusual blowsand desert for survival, and
"swims" through the sand to escape predators or summer heat of the
desert surface. Four other unique wildlife species can also be found
here: the Coachella roundtailed ground squirrel, the giant red
velvet mite, the flat-tailed horned lizard and the giant palm-boring
The Coachella Valley Preserve also contains several palm oases,
formed because San Andreas Fault lines allow water flowing
underground to rise to the surface. The spectacular Thousand Palms
Oasis includes a mile-long trail past pools containing endangered
desert pupfish. Native vegetation includes creosote bush, burrobush,
smoke tree and desert lavender, part of this area's unique habitat
Animals you may see here
Birds: More than 183 bird species have been recorded here, including
Gambel's quail, black-throated sparrows, phainopeplas, black-tailed
gnatcatchers and American bitterns. Cactus wrens nest among the
chollas. Year-round, visitors can view songbirds, upland birds and
birds of prey. Spring and fall are good times to view songbirds.
Other animals include black-tailed jackrabbits, bobcats, and
sidewinders. Reptiles may be seen in the summer. Spring through fall
for fish is the best time to look for fish in the pools.
Viewing tips for this area
This area is very hot during the summer - be prepared.
The Preserve includes a visitor's center and equestrian trails.
The Preserve is open seven days a week.
Be sure to see tips for "Ultimate Wildlife Watching."
How to get here
Take Interstate 10 to the Ramon Road exit (about 10 miles east of
Palm Springs). Drive east to Thousand Palms Canyon Drive. Turn north
and drive about two miles to the entrance.
Size: about 20,000 acres.